The Defense Department has released a new data strategy with seven goals for the use of data across the department. Meagan Metzger, Founder and CEO of Dcode, spoke with “Government Matters” about how the DoD can implement the new strategy.
The strategy includes seven goals and 33 objectives to help the Pentagon become more data-centric.
“One of the biggest things that stood out to me was how much of a culture shift and how people-centric the data strategy is going to have to be,” Metzger said.
She said a set of commandments for data at the Pentagon could help guide those implementing the strategy. Metzger said the Pentagon should focus on the outcomes and helping the people that will implement the data strategy.
“The biggest takeaway here is that they need to be talking to the folks that are using the data day-to-day, the ones that will be leveraging the decisions, because that’s where we’ll get all of the interesting and really innovative ideas for how we can apply that data,” Metzger said.
She recommends breaking things down into smaller minimal viable products and prioritizing areas that will have the highest level of return.
“Mapping the entire DoD, that’s going to take 20 years. We don’t have 20 years if we’re going to stay competitive with other countries…” Metzger said.
General John Hyten, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Defense News the Pentagon should meet its data goals in the next ten years. Metzger said the ten-year timeframe is reasonable if the Defense Department utilizes emerging tools from the emerging tech community and private sector. She also recommended enabling and training the DoD workforce.
“It’s possible for sure,” she said. “We just want to make sure not to overcomplicate it and really give folks tangible ways to move forward.”
She said norms and standards from military departments both pose a challenge for the Defense Department’s new data strategy implementation, but that the Department of Defense should look at what’s working already when reworking the plan for data.
“I think as long as we provide great guidance but don’t become too restrictive in what we’re going to do, that’s when you really start to see the value of data,” Metzger said.