In the U.S. Coast Guard a task force represents a temporary unit stood up to address a specific problem The Data Readiness Task Force (DRTF) was assigned the specific purpose of establishing policy for the Coast Guard’s data management and enabling the service to leverage the full potential of data as a strategic resource.
With the DRTF, the Coast Guard is attempting to put its best foot forward with data, referencing:
- the Federal Data Strategy 2020: Leveraging Data as a Strategic Asset,
- the Fiscal Year 2017-2021 Department of Homeland Security Strategy,
- the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018, and
- the Memorandum for Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies: Phase I Implementation of the Foundation for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018.
Projecting the charter forward, overarching priorities can be summarized as reinvigorating the Coast Guard’s data infrastructure and governance of data, establishing previously unaddressed practices and policies for the data literate workforce, and implementing and identifying potential technologies and/or innovations to empower data driven decision making across the service.
The Charter for the DRTF was signed by the Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard (VCG). In simpler terms, the second highest ranking officer in the Coast Guard implemented a unit without traditional support mechanisms specifically to be fast-moving, break down blocks and attempt to address the data issues the Coast Guard is experiencing. The organization of the DRTF’s non-traditional command is highlighted in the Charter by “Executive Champions” in the Deputy Commandant for Mission Support (DCMS) and the Deputy Commandant for Operations (DCO). And the DRTF Lead reports directly to the DCMS Deputy for Materiel Readiness (DCMS-DMR) and DCO Deputy (DCO-D).
The specific areas of priority for the DRTF are highlighted by “Lines of Effort” in:
- Data Governance and Workforce Development
- Data Fidelity
- Technical Way Ahead
- Pilot Programming Real-Time Learning
Specific responsibilities assigned to the DRTF unit include: assessing the state of data ownership and management policies, applying data frameworks and data governance structures, aligning Coast Guard data governance strategy with new federal laws and regulations, and promoting cross-directorate understanding of the nexus between data and internal and external stakeholders.
The Charter for the DRTF outlined numerous milestones. Among the most important is obviously to provide Courses of Action for the placement of the Chief Data Officer and associated staff within the Coast Guard. But perhaps more interestingly (at least in my opinion) are milestones centric to the idea of an Integrated Data Environment. Specifically:
- Approve C5I requirements for the tools, systems, network and other technical needs determined to be part of the Integrated Data Environment.
- Finalize plan for the Coast Guard data ingestion into the Integrated Data Environment.
- Compete contract for the Coast Guard Integrated Data Environment.
- Begin Coast Guard data transition to Integrated Data Environment.
But what is an Integrated Data Environment? What does the Coast Guard mean by Integrated Data Environment?