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Federal Data Strategy Leveraging Data as a Strategic Asset

The mission of the Federal Data Strategy is to leverage the full value of Federal data for mission, service, and the public good by guiding the Federal Government in practicing ethical governance, conscious design, and a learning culture. Subscribe to our news updates.

The Federal Data Strategy: Principles and Practices

The mission of the Federal Data Strategy is to fully leverage the value of federal data for mission, service, and the public good by guiding the Federal Government in practicing ethical governance, conscious design, and a learning culture.

The use of data is transforming the world. The way the Federal Government provides, maintains, and uses data has a unique place in society, and maintaining trust in federal data is pivotal to a democratic process. The Federal Government needs a coordinated and integrated approach to using data to deliver on mission, serve the public, and steward resources while respecting privacy and confidentiality. The Federal Data Strategy offers guidance on how agencies should manage and use federal data. The Principles and Practices provide a whole-of-government vision, while yearly Action Plans identify concrete steps for agencies to undertake to achieve this long-term vision. In addition, the Data Incubator Project will highlight specific examples, use cases and methods that might be replicated or scaled.

The Federal Data Strategy consists of Principles and Practices to leverage the value of the entire Federal Government data asset portfolio while protecting security, privacy, and confidentiality. The principles and practices deliver a more consistent approach to federal data stewardship, use, and access. The principles are a timeless, enduring framework for agencies, while the practices are actionable, yet aspirational, goals for a 5- to 10-year time horizon. The principles and practices were revised based on comments received from the public.

The development team created the draft 2019-2020 Federal Data Strategy Action Plan (hereinafter draft Year-1 Action Plan) to identify Practice-related Action Steps that are the priority for the year, along with targeted timeframes for implementation and responsible assignments. Public feedback to the draft Year-1 Action Plan is currently being incorporated. A revised version will be released later in 2019.

The four Federal Data Strategy areas for exploration

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Enterprise Data Governance

Set priorities for managing government data as a strategic asset, including establishing data policies, specifying roles and responsibilities for data privacy, security, and confidentiality protection, and monitoring compliance with standards and policies throughout the information lifecycle.

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Access, Use, and Augmentation

Develop policies and procedures that enable stakeholders to effectively and efficiently access and use data assets by: (1) making data available more quickly and in more useful formats; (2) maximizing the amount of non-sensitive data shared with the public; (3) leveraging new technologies and best practices to increase access to sensitive or restricted data while protecting privacy, security, and confidentiality, as well as the interests of data providers.

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Decision Making & Accountability

Improve the use of data assets for decision-making and accountability for the Federal Government, including both internal and external uses. This includes: (1) providing high quality and timely information to inform evidence-based decision-making and learning; (2) facilitating external research on the effectiveness of government programs and policies which will inform future policymaking; and (3) fostering public accountability and transparency by providing accurate and timely spending information, performance metrics, and other administrative data.

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Commercialization, Innovation, and Public Use

Facilitate the use of Federal Government data assets by external stakeholders at the forefront of making government data accessible and useful through commercial ventures, innovation, or for other public uses. This includes use by the private sector and scientific and research communities, by state and local governments for public policy purposes, for education, and in enabling civic engagement. Enabling external users to access and use government data for commercial and other public purposes spurs innovative technological solutions and fills gaps in government capacity and knowledge. Supporting the production and dissemination of comprehensive, accurate, and objective statistics on the state of the nation helps businesses and markets operate more efficiently.

Why create a Federal Data Strategy?

In March of 2018, the President’s Management Agenda laid out a new Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goal: Leveraging Data as a Strategic Asset to develop and implement a comprehensive Federal Data Strategy. Based on this initiative, with input from the full spectrum of government and non-government stakeholders, the first government-wide data strategy is being developed, along with plans for implementation.

Who is developing the Federal Data Strategy?

In short, we all are. While the CAP goal co-leads and development team are managing the project, the Federal Data Strategy will be built on the expertise and input of those who contribute ideas, examples, comments, and suggestions. If you have any, this is the place to share them.

How will the Federal Data Strategy be developed?

The Federal Data Strategy will be developed iteratively with stakeholder feedback and input incorporated along the way. The strategy will be developed around four topical areas. The Federal Data Strategy development team will pull together a comprehensive strategy from the input and insights contributed by stakeholders.

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