When the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) announced its
new data strategy in September 2020, much of what the
department is aiming to do sounded familiar to people with
experience in private sector information technology.
The DoD plans to transform into a data-centric
organization and use data to help the department fulfill
a number of missions, from better preparedness and
improved outcomes on the battlefield to more efficient
operation and procurement.
There are seven goals outlined in the DoD Data Strategy. If
adopted correctly, the DoD strategy will make data:
1. Visible: Allowing data consumers to locate the data they need.
2. Accessible: Meaning consumers of data can retrieve the data they need.
3. Understandable: So data consumers can recognize the content, context, and applicability.
4. Linked: Enabling data consumers to exploit data elements through innate relationships.
5. Trustworthy: Meaning data consumers can be confident in all aspects of data for decision-making.
6. Interoperable: Which means data consumers have a common representation/comprehension of data.
7. Secure: Protecting data from unauthorized use/ manipulation.
This paper explores four technical challenges facing the
DoD data strategy: Accessibility, discoverability, security,
and scalability. These challenges are not insurmountable,
but they need to be met while working within the
capabilities of legacy systems that were not designed
for the type of interoperability and connectivity required
to meet the goals of the new data strategy. The size
of the DoD, the breadth of its ecosystem of partners
and contractors, and the criticality of its missions add
additional layers of complexity to the challenge of data
integration and security.
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