State to set up analytics office

The State Department's new strategic plan calls for a greater focus on harnessing big data.

"Department of state" by U.S. Government - Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The State Department plans to set up an analytics office to harness big data, an area in which the department says it needs to do better.

The analytics “hub” will house “the best available resources in a scalable, entrepreneurial start-up environment to solve complex problems,” according to the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, the department’s strategic plan that was published April 28. The office will integrate data from other agencies and from outside government, and will boost the flow of information across the department’s posts around the world, the document said.

The analytics office is a central piece of the department’s quest for more data-driven diplomacy and policy analysis. The QDDR also calls for “continuously updating our technology,” to bolster a strategy that “will encourage the use of data science in making decisions and evaluating their impact.”

The document also said the U.S. Agency for International Development should find a means of using data to better inform decision-making and program evaluation. 

“The idea is we want to put a lot more muscle behind those efforts to think about this information environment differently, to think about lessons learned differently,” Tom Perriello, the State Department’s lead official for the QDDR, said in a press briefing. 

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