The secretary of Deputy Defense US, Kathleen H. Hicks, signed a memorandum with the aim of “improving warfighting performance and creating decision advantage at all echelons from the battlespace to the board room”, as she said on their official webpage.

The memorandum “Creating Data Advantage,” was signed on the 5th of May 2021. It specifies the department’s first-ever “data decrees” that are designed to “generate transformative proficiency across the DOD data strategy’s focus areas of Joint All-Domain Operations, senior leader decision support and business analytics.”

Kathleen H. Hicks shares the goals of the data decrees:

  • Maximizing data sharing and rights for data use.
  • Publishing data assets in the DOD federated data catalog along with common interface specifications.
  • Using automated data interfaces that are externally accessible and machine-readable and ensuring interfaces use industry-standard, non-proprietary, preferably open-source, technologies, protocols and payloads.
  • Storing data in a manner that is platform and environment-agnostic, uncoupled from hardware or software dependencies.
  • Implementing industry best practices for secure authentication, access management, encryption, monitoring and protection of data at rest, in transit and in use.

In the memo she states that “Data is essential to preserving military advantage, supporting our people and serving the public,”.

She explains that all of the leaders have the responsibility to manage, understand, share and protect data in support of their shared mission. Data enables capabilities such as AI, machine learning and various autonomous technologies.The memorandum empowers the DOD chief data officer to provide leadership and issue guidance regarding the DOD’s data ecosystem — people, technology and culture — data sharing, data architecture, data lifecycle management and a data ready workforce in order to speed up the process of the transforming department’s data.

The memo lays out an aggressive timeline for assessing and developing courses of action to consolidate data efforts in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, reviewing data management and analytic platforms to find opportunities to gain efficiencies, scaling proven capabilities across the enterprise and looking for additional help from current members of the Defense Department’s workforce who can join this transformative effort.

Photo credit: U.S. Department of Defense
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