*** President Donald Trump signed the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act into law. The bill, originally sponsored in the last Congress by former House Speaker Paul Ryan and in the Senate by Patty Murray (D-Wash.), enshrined in law a series of recommendations from a bipartisan commission set up in 2016 to improve the use of data by government, and to find ways to make government data more assessable and extensible.
The final bill includes measures designed to strengthen open data policy and to improve communities of practice in government when it comes to the collection and management of data. Under the new law, each agency will have to designate a chief data officer, although agencies aren't required to add new standalone positions. The bill also orders the creation of a Chief Data Officers Council. Agencies will also designate evaluation officers to assess data management and policy research methodology.
The bill also mandates the maintenance of a federal data catalog and inventory with fairly explicit guidance on the metadata that should be attached to each federal dataset -- even those that are not publicly available.
*** Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and eight Republican co-sponsors introduced a bill to end government shutdowns. The measure calls for a continuing resolution to be triggered automatically in the event of a lapse in appropriations. Portman offered a similar bill in 2017, when an appropriations showdown threatened a government shutdown on President Trump's 100th day in office.
***The Department of Defense publicly issued its report to Congress on the strategic implications of China's global and militaristic expansion. The report, which is dated December 2018 but was released Jan. 14, was issued as part of a 2018 National Defense Authorization Act stipulation to outline China's posture regarding military access, expertise, and engagement, as well as technology acquisition and its growing economic power and U.S. response.
The U.S. "has taken action to confront China over its market-distorting policies and practices, forced technology transfers, failure to respect intellectual property, and cyber intrusions into U.S. commercial networks," DOD wrote in the report, and "encouraged China to respond by undertaking necessary reforms."
The report also states that an adequate U.S. response heavily depends on building a more-lethal force by investing in key cyberspace and C4ISR capabilities as well as autonomous systems.