Digital Government

OMB releases final data strategy, draft action plan

Federal CIO Suzette Kent presents opening remarks for the Women in Federal IT & Cyber event on March 29, 2018. (USDA photo by Tom Witham)

Federal CIO Suzette Kent speaking at the Women in Federal IT & Cyber event on March 29, 2018. (USDA photo by Tom Witham)

The Trump administration on June 4 released a draft of the "Year-1 Action Plan" for implementing the federal data strategy. The plan outlines 16 steps -- some agency-specific, others governmentwide -- to "establish a firm basis of tools, processes, and capacities to leverage data as a strategic asset."

Federal CIO Suzette Kent announced the draft plan, as well as the final version of the data strategy's principles and practices, in a June 4 press call. "We are looking both strategically and tactically," Kent said, "and we have to start with the basics."

Those basics include establishing an Office of Management and Budget Data Council by November, piloting a governmentwide data catalog by May 2020 and identifying priority datasets at each agency by August 2020. Arguably more-ambitious actions include improving geospatial and financial-management data standards, identifying opportunities to increase data skills within the federal workforce and improving "the data and computing resources for AI Research and Development."

The ultimate goal, Kent said, is to enable agencies to use their data "to inform how we manage the government -- how we apply human capital, financial and other resources, but most importantly how we serve mission and better serve our citizens."

Data Coalition CEO Nick Hart called the final strategy and draft action plan "a promising step forward in the data discussion." Acknowledging that he was still "digesting the documents," Hart told FCW the plan outlines actions "that are plausible and frankly necessary for government to take in the coming year."

Hart also noted that the final principles and practices clearly "reflect the feedback from stakeholders" and praised OMB for taking a "holistic approach" that incorporates relevant statutes and recent actions like the president's executive order on artificial intelligence. "The fact that they're tying together all these pieces is encouraging," he said.

The first draft of the data strategy came out nearly a year ago. Progress was slowed in part by the federal shutdown in December and January, but OMB is working to keep a tight schedule moving forward. Public comments on the draft action plan will be accepted through July 5, and Hart noted that the Data Coalition is working with OMB to organize an event this summer for additional stakeholder discussion. A final version of the action plan is expected in September.

About the Author

Troy K. Schneider is editor-in-chief of FCW and GCN, as well as General Manager of Public Sector 360.

Prior to joining 1105 Media in 2012, Schneider was the New America Foundation’s Director of Media & Technology, and before that was Managing Director for Electronic Publishing at the Atlantic Media Company. The founding editor of NationalJournal.com, Schneider also helped launch the political site PoliticsNow.com in the mid-1990s, and worked on the earliest online efforts of the Los Angeles Times and Newsday. He began his career in print journalism, and has written for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times, WashingtonPost.com, Slate, Politico, National Journal, Governing, and many of the other titles listed above.

Schneider is a graduate of Indiana University, where his emphases were journalism, business and religious studies.

Click here for previous articles by Schneider, or connect with him on Twitter: @troyschneider.


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