Agencies are now required to have a chief data officer. Do they?

Response to the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act deadline is a mixed bag.

Editor’s Note: This report will be updated occasionally as agencies continue to name and list their CDOs.

Do you know who your agency’s CDO is?

As of July 13, all CFO Act agencies were to have appointed a nonpolitical chief data officer. This requirement of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act included a little wiggle room, however — the law set a separate deadline of Aug. 2 for agencies to post the name of this official publicly and inform the White House Office of Management and Budget of their choice.


So now that the second deadline has come and gone — where do we stand? Agency response to the new requirement, it turns out, is a bit of a mixed bag. Here’s an overview of the current status quo:

Some agencies had a CDO long before the law. Here’s who had an existing chief data officer, and who they are:

  • Department of Agriculture — Ted Kaouck
  • Department of Defense — Michael Conlin
  • Department of Health and Human Services — Mona Siddiqui
  • Department of Transportation — Daniel Morgan
  • Department of Veterans Affairs — Dat Tran
  • General Services Administration — Kris Rowley
  • U.S. Agency for International Development — Brandon Pustejovsky
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission — Arthur Smith

Some agencies have chosen, at least in the interim, to give their CIO (or some other official) an additional title:

  • Department of Homeland — Donna Roy, DHS’s executive director of information sharing and services office, is also the agency’s interim CDO, OMB’s list states.
  • Department of Justice — DOJ named CIO Joe Klimavicz its CDO in June.
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development — A HUD spokesperson told FedScoop that senior adviser to the CFO Sairah Ijaz is filling the role of CDO in an acting capacity. It’s unclear how this impacts her other responsibilities.
  • National Science Foundation — NSF gave CIO Dorothy Aronson two hats by appointing her as CDO as well.

A number of agencies responded to a FedScoop query and confirmed that they had named a new official in time for the Aug. 2 deadline:

  • Department of Education Gregory Fortelny
  • Department of Energy Pamela Isom
  • Department of CommerceEd Kearns, CDO at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has been tapped for a detail as CDO at Commerce.
  • NASARon Thompson, previously of USDA, started his gig as CDO of NASA on Monday, a spokesperson told FedScoop.
  • Social Security Administration — Laura Train, who is also listed as associate commissioner of the Office of Data Exchange, Policy Publications, and International Negotiations, is SSA’s CDO, the agency told FedScoop.
  • Office of Personnel Management  — OPM lists Kathleen McGettigan, the agency’s chief management officer, as CDO.
  • Environmental Protection Agency — Richard Allen
  • Department of LaborScott Gibbons

A couple of agencies confirmed that they have not chosen a CDO yet:

  • Department of State — “We are looking forward to bring on a Chief Data Officer as quickly as possible,” a State Department spokesperson told FedScoop in an email. “However, we have nothing to announce at this time.”
  • Department of the Interior — “We have nothing to share at this time,” a spokesperson told FedScoop in an email.

And finally, there were two agencies that did not respond to requests for comment and for which FedScoop could not find the name of a CDO listed clearly on their websites:

  • Department of the Treasury
  • Small Business Administration

The Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act also requires that agencies set up a data governance body — the deadline for that is still upcoming on Sept. 30.

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