Trump administration releases data skills catalog, ethics framework

As part of the Federal Data Strategy 2020 Action Plan, the White House recently published a curated data skills catalog and a data ethics framework for public comment.
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The Trump administration recently issued a pair of draft documents that will help guide agencies in developing functional roles that deal with data and helping guide those leaders in how to manage and use that data ethically.

In line with the goals set by the Federal Data Strategy 2020 Action Plan, the administration published a curated data skills catalog and a data ethics framework for public comment, Deputy Federal CIO Maria Roat said Wednesday.

The skills catalog, Roat said, is meant to “help agencies develop competencies for managing data as a strategic asset and making data-driven decisions.”

A focus group of data experts from nine agencies came together to build that catalog, she said during the Informatica Data in Action summit, produced by FedScoop. “They convened to really determine the significant roles in the data ecosystem and looked at those skills affiliated with all of those functions. And they created … that draft catalog.”


According to the Action Plan, the catalog will “incorporate information about significant roles in the data ecosystem into its organization and take into account skills, experience, and responsibilities of key job functions as well as support the results of data maturity assessments agencies will do.”

Meanwhile, the Federal CIO Council is set to soon launch the Federal Data Science Training Program — a completely online effort to develop data science talent around the federal government.

The General Services Administration, on the other hand, was in charge of developing the draft data ethics framework, which will “help agency employees, managers, and leaders make ethical decisions as they acquire, manage, and use data.”

Roat described the new framework as “really helping guide the ethical management and the use of data throughout the entire data lifecycle, from creation all the way through the use of it, and ongoing.”

In total, the framework consists of seven tenets and use cases to guide how any agency personnel who work with data should ethically manage and use it.


Looking ahead at the Federal Data Strategy

The skills catalog arrives as year one of the action plan behind the Federal Data Strategy is nearing its close. The strategy sets a 10-year vision, Roat noted, and the work done in the past year only begins to scratch the surface.

“There are 40 practices within that data strategy and it requires a sustained iterative systemic effort over a 10 year period,” she said. “We are finishing the first year of that and getting ready to move into year two and those action plans identify priority items. And those priority items, year by year, they take into account ongoing federal requirements, programs, policies and the new statutory requirements. So you have to have this dynamic environment to implement the strategy.”

A key takeaway moving forward is going to be continuing to keep things flexible over the next decade, Roat said.

“Even as agencies are focused on automation and robotics and artificial intelligence, the federal data strategy is that foundation,” she said. “And it really is flexible enough so that every year with those action plans, it can really align to where we need to go and really drive where the federal government needs to go.”

Billy Mitchell

Written by Billy Mitchell

Billy Mitchell is Vice President of Community and Content and Editor in Chief of FedScoop and DefenseScoop. He leads an award-winning team of reporters in providing breaking news and analysis on the ways technology is transforming the operations and services of the federal government and U.S. military. Prior to joining Scoop News Group in early 2014, Mitchell embedded himself in Washington, D.C.'s tech startup scene for a year as a tech reporter at InTheCapital, now known as DC Inno. After earning his degree at Virginia Tech and winning the school's Excellence in Print Journalism award, Mitchell received his master's degree from New York University in magazine writing while interning at publications like Rolling Stone.

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