Data, Accountability, and Transparency: Creating a Data Strategy and Infrastructure for the Future
The use of data is transforming the economy, government, and society. If the Federal Government does not maintain its role as a preeminent supplier and sophisticated and ethical user of data, it will no longer be able to fulfill its civic duty to the public. While the Federal Government leads globally in many instances in developing and providing data about the United States and the world, it lacks a robust, integrated approach to using data to deliver on mission, serve the public, and steward resources.
In March 2018, the PMA set out a long-term vision for effective and modern government capabilities focused on system-level thinking to tackle interconnected barriers to change, most notably related to aging technology infrastructure, disconnected data and an outmoded civil service framework. The PMA’s three drivers of transformation—IT modernization; data, accountability, and transparency; and the workforce of the future—were developed to promote change that resonates across the Federal enterprise. Specifically, data, accountability, and transparency initiatives were developed to provide the tools to deliver visibly better results to the public, while improving accountability to taxpayers for sound fiscal stewardship and mission results. The Administration established a CAP Goal for each of these drivers to ensure public tracking and accountability, including CAP Goal 2: Leveraging Data as a Strategic Asset to develop an integrated cross-agency FDS that encompasses all relevant governance, standards, infrastructure, and commercialization challenges of operating in a data-driven world. In addition, the Administration simultaneously pursued changes in related cross-cutting priorities that span agency management and operational domains, and also functional priorities that target more specific areas including financial management and acquisition, among others.
To manage the Leveraging Data as a Strategic Asset CAP Goal, a cross-section of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) policy and budget officials met to scope the challenge, opportunity, and component strategies and drivers of change. This scoping exercise ensured that FDS development addressed all management and use needs and leveraged maintainable processes to execute activities. Learning from lessons of the previous Administration’s CAP Goal dedicated strictly to the dissemination of open data, the Leveraging Data as a Strategic Asset CAP Goal development team created a comprehensive scope by considering the entire data lifecycle (from creation to reuse or destruction), various types of government data managed in a similar manner (e.g., mission support, programmatic, and statistical data), and the government use of government and non-government data, as well as demands for use of government data by industry and academia. As discussed above, CAP Goal leads from OMB, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Department of Commerce, and Small Business Administration built out an interdisciplinary FDS development team that worked together from June 2018 to August 2019, with feedback from private industry, academia, civil servants, and the public to gather ideas, examples, comments, and suggestions in their quest to build a robust, integrated approach to managing and using data. While the scoping exercise informed and framed the development of the FDS, new topical categories emerged as the team co-created each deliverable component of the final strategy.
The result of this iterative co-creation is a multi-year strategy that will fundamentally transform how the Federal Government manages, uses, and makes data available that will:
- Prepare agencies to consider secondary use scenarios, including privacy risks and self-service opportunities for reuse by colleagues, other agencies and governments, researchers, entrepreneurs, and the public
- Replicate, accelerate, and scale data management and disseminate best practices to the entire Federal Government according to priority and maturity level
- Provide a long-term roadmap for incremental improvements across budgets and Administrations
- Provide a single set of annual priorities for the whole of government to focus on