Federal Data Strategy Releases Draft Year-1 Action Plan

Blog post by Karen Dunn Kelley, Deputy Secretary of Commerce

From the sensor data generated at NOAA’s observation stations to the population data collected by the Census Bureau to the economic data produced by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Department of Commerce produces a wealth of information about the American people, the American economy, and our daily lives.  And our Department is not alone.  All across government, Federal agencies collect and generate data to help fulfill their missions and serve the public.  Managing this data is a challenging task, but one that is crucial if we are to use our data assets to their full potential.

The President’s Management Agenda established the Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) goal of Leveraging Data as a Strategic Asset to develop a comprehensive, long-term Federal Data Strategy that will help agencies leverage their data to grow the economy, improve delivery of government services, inform research, and catalyze innovation.  I’m proud to co-lead this CAP goal, along with colleagues from the Small Business Administration and the Executive Office of the President.

Last week, our team announced a major milestone, releasing the final Federal Data Strategy and a call for feedback on the Draft 2019-2020 Federal Data Strategy Year 1 Action Plan. The Strategy offers principles and practices that provide a consistent framework for agencies as they implement existing and future data initiatives. The 10 principles serve as timeless, enduring guides for agencies, while the 40 practices are aspirational goals for a 5 to 10 year horizon to further the principles. Together, they provide a consistent framework to inform agency actions on a regular basis, remain continually relevant, and broadly apply across all of government.

The next phase of the Federal Data Strategy’s development is the 2019-2020 Federal Data Strategy Action Plan. The Action Plan is where the rubber meets the road. It lays out the specific actions that we will take together, across government, in the coming year. As with the previous phases of this process, we need your feedback on the draft Action Plan, and we are requesting your help to review and provide comments by July 5th. The draft Action Plan includes 16 steps that we believe are fundamental and, when finalized, will serve as a roadmap for the first year of implementing the Strategy.

Under the draft plan, all agencies will focus on infrastructure improvements related to upskilling their workforce as well as data protection and access. We call these “Agency-Specific Tasks.” Specific Federal communities, such as the Federal Statistical System, will be tasked with improving the management and use of specific data asset portfolios, including geospatial data or financial management data. In addition, designated entities will develop resources and tools for a broad range of purposes, and these resources will be shared government-wide. For example, the Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau will pilot a standardized application for accessing Federal statistical research data centers.

Over the coming weeks, Federal agencies and the public can provide feedback on the draft Action Plan through a Request for Comment in the Federal Register, a form on strategy.data.gov, or a Federal Data Strategy GitHub page. Based on the feedback, the team expects to publish the 2019-2020 Federal Data Strategy Action Plan in September.

That Action Plan will help Federal agencies make better use of the government’s full portfolio of data assets to fulfill their missions and serve Americans. I’m proud that the Department of Commerce is leading the way to improve the management and use of Federal data. We will continue to support the Federal Data Strategy and to work across government silos to more fully leverage the value of our data