Insights to Guide Federal Data Strategy

July 2019
Topics: Data Analytics, Data Management

The President’s Management Agenda (PMA) lays out a long-term vision for modernizing the federal government, and one of its three “key drivers of transformation” is creating a Federal Data Strategy and infrastructure for the future. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued two requests for public input into developing this strategy, and the MITRE Corporation has provided input into each.

MITRE is uniquely positioned to respond to these requests because of our vantage point as the operator of multiple federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs). Per the Federal Acquisition Regulation, FFRDCs can have unique access to both sensitive government data and proprietary private sector dataand both the government and the public sector have regularly trusted MITRE to access and leverage their data.  MITRE’s access to and use of disparate data sources has given us insight into data’s untapped potential, as well as the challenges associated with greater use of government data (alone and in combination with private-sector data). Our experiences show that high-quality data combined with best practices will increase the effectiveness of the federal government, enhance accountability, and promote transparency.

OMB’s first request sought input into potential “Best Practices Related to the Four Pillars of the Federal Data Strategy.” Within our response, MITRE focused on providing concepts and practices that are more unique to the federal domain: (1) Target data governance as a governmentwide issue, (2) Develop a capability to assess the strategic value of federal data, and (3) Leverage public-private partnerships. MITRE also provided several best practices and principles that should be included within the Federal Data Strategy.

OMB’s second request sought feedback on a draft data framework that consisted of 47 data practices, specifically asking for better framework ideas as well as suggestions to add, delete and/or modify the individual data practices so that the Federal Data Strategy could enhance its chances of meeting the goals prescribed in the PMA. MITRE felt that the final practices will have the greatest impact when they are easily understood and it is readily apparent which apply to each impacted actor within the federal data ecosystem. We crafted a simplified framework for OMB’s consideration that fit on a single page, thus allowing federal agencies to orient around a set of easy-to-reference data strategy practices.

OMB's third request sought feedback on a draft action plan for federal agencies to adopt in order to achieve the objectives of the Federal Data Strategy. MITRE generally felt that the draft actions are proper, though some required fine-tuning.  We also felt that the measurements needed to be enhanced so that they better support their goals and the dependencies across the actions need to be better understood and properly staged. Our response provided discussion and material to support these recommendations.

MITRE is a not-for-profit organization that works across government to tackle difficult problems that challenge the safety, stability, security, and well-being of our nation.  With a unique vantage point throughout government, as well as multiple partnerships with industry and academia, MITRE works to discover new possibilities, create unexpected opportunities, and lead by pioneering together to apply innovative ideas to nationally important issues.


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