First contact between the Data Readiness Task Force (DRTF) and Aviation Logistics Center Infrastructure Services Division (ALC ISD) was in mid-January 2022. Unfortunately, it became apparent immediately as the data owners for Asset Logistics Management Information System (ALMIS), ALC ISD were minimally staffed and limited by resources.
ALC ISD’s clear preference was to activate technology they called the “data pump” and export/replicate all ALMIS data to the Coast Guard’s Integrated Data Environment (IDE). This path was not an acceptable option for the DRTF, due to stipulations from the Coast Guard’s Privacy Office (CG-6P) and the Data Governance Line of Effort within the DRTF itself.
The Coast Guard’s Privacy Office
The DRTF’s relationship and history with CG-6P warrants a series of posts in and of itself. What is relevant to the IDE’s first data connection is, the DRTF would no longer be looking to consume data as rapidly as possible. Rather, data ingestion into the IDE will take a conservative approach where only data with an immediate purpose or need is ingested into the IDE. From a privacy perspective, this approach limits data sharing (a privacy initiative) by ensuring an explicit justification and use for all data presented in the environment.
The Data Readiness Task Force’s Data Governance Line of Effort
From a data governance perspective, the limited ingestion approach is appealing because (metaphorically speaking) a journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step. And limited ingestion makes the task of governing ingested data more pragmatic. The Data Governance Line of Effort within the DRTF’s Charter is gargantuan.
From previous posts, we know the Coast Guard previously undertook data sharing initiatives. However, these efforts ultimately lost credibility due to a lack of data governance. Simply stated, because the data shared through the Coast Guard’s previous data sharing applications was not reliable and accurate (also with no, “Transparent entity responsible for data quality”), the data sharing initiatives largely failed. Sure, the applications successfully shared data. However, if the organization cannot trust the data as authoritative and correct, then the data does not get used.
And, again, the purpose of sharing data, is ultimately to have the data used. Which begins to address some of our metrics of a data driven organization from a previous post (opinions are voiced only when accompanied by supporting data, and numbers are still communicated when they communicate negative messages). All of this to say ultimately, with respect to data governance, the DRTF desires a successful data sharing end product, and knows this requires real data governance. Thus, a preference for minimal data ingestion into the environments was accepted to reduce the burden of data governance requirements relative to the entirety of the Coast Guard’s enterprise data. With respect to the Coast Guard’s un-governed enterprise data, the task of governance begins much like the famous quote from Desmond Tutu, “There is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time.”
Ingestion of Asset Logistics Management Information System Data
With respect to privacy and data governance, the ALMIS “data pump” was not a viable path forward for a data connection between ALMIS and the Coast Guard’s IDE. With respect to the capacity of the ALC ISD support team and contract for ALMIS, the “data pump” was the only immediately sustainable and immediately viable solution for a data connection. Thus, the ALC ISD and DRTF teams were at a bit of an impasse. And as highlighted in previous posts, the data connection remains outstanding at the time of writing.
These views are mine and should not be construed as the views of the U.S. Coast Guard.