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Air Force Chief Data Office hosts inaugural workshop

More than 70 representatives from major commands and functional communities across the Air Force gathered in Arlington, Virginia, April 11-13, 2018, to collaborate on the way forward for defining an enterprise-wide, scalable capability that makes data Visible, Accessible, Understandable, Linked, and Trustworthy

More than 70 representatives from major commands and functional communities across the Air Force gathered in Arlington, Virginia, April 11-13, 2018, to collaborate on the way forward for defining an enterprise-wide, scalable capability that makes data Visible, Accessible, Understandable, Linked, and Trustworthy

ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) -- More than 70 representatives from major commands and functional communities across the Air Force gathered in Arlington, Virginia, April 11- 13, 2018, to collaborate on the way forward for defining an enterprise-wide, scalable capability that makes data visible, accessible, understandable, linked, and trustworthy (VAULT).

Maj. Gen. Kim Crider opened the Chief Data Office Workshop with an overview of objectives for the week and an interactive discussion on the Chief Data Office’s vision and mission.

“Data is a strategic asset,” Crider said. “We need to leverage data in effective ways, faster than our adversaries, to improve our insights, to drive performance, and to deliver competitive advantage.”

According to Crider, in order to achieve this, it is vital to ensure the right data is available to the right people at the right time.
Part of this means changing the culture of the Air Force to one of data sharing.

“A major cultural change is needed to transition to a more collaborative data sharing environment as the default, representing one Air Force versus many dispersed units,” Crider added.

Crider and the CDO staff recognize the significant challenge data sharing brings, requiring a robust governance structure, significant security measures, development of a common lexicon, and ongoing talent management, among other considerations. All of these areas were discussed in depth throughout the workshop as attendees worked together as a group and in smaller breakout sessions to identify common priorities and needs across the Air Force that will form the basis of the CDO’s data strategy and concept of operations.

The workshop, which covered topics including governance, budget, metrics, use cases, and manpower, also provided the opportunity for the MAJCOMs to update the group on their organization’s data efforts. Col. Nevin Taylor, deputy Air Force CDO, emphasized that achieving data operationalization is a two-way street, requiring continuous input and collaboration with the MAJCOMs and functional communities.


“This is a marathon, not a sprint,” Taylor said. “We need to put in the time and effort to establish a solid foundation and ensure the data environment is right.”

Critical to the CDO’s data strategy is the development of an Enterprise Information Model that will make data discoverable and searchable by exposing the Air Force data available for use and making that data easier to locate. MAJCOM and functional community representatives agreed with the need for an EIM to help them more effectively operationalize and manage their organization’s data and understand the data lifecycle.

The CDO Workshop ended with a recap of specific action items and next steps that will guide the CDO as it enters this next implementation phase. In addition to the Air Force Data Strategy, and concepts of operations, the CDO will establish a data playbook to walk users through the process of interacting the EIM, and will begin to address policy and other areas necessary for achieving the CDO’s goals. The next CDO Workshop is being planned for October 2018.

The Air Force Chief Data Office was established in July 2017 to fill a critical role for the Air Force of harnessing and operationalizing data to support decision-making. The CDO Workshop was the first of a series of workshops intended to bring together the data community to engage on innovative ways to better leverage Air Force data and empower Airmen with better insight to make decisions and do their jobs in support of the Air Force mission.

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