By Matthew Graviss
The September 2021 release of the Department of State’s “Enterprise Data Strategy (EDS)—Empowering Data Informed Diplomacy,” marked a major milestone in its transformation into a more data-centric organization. The Department’s first-ever data strategy recognizes data as an instrument of diplomacy and a necessity to help secure America’s position on the global stage.
In the strategy’s opening letter, Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources Brian P. McKeon said, “Data has already transformed the global landscape, in both life-saving and life-threatening ways, and it is our responsibility to be a world leader in harnessing its power for the good of the American people and the broader international community.”
The Office of Management Strategy and Solution’s Center for Analytics and the Enterprise Data Council (EDC) led the year-long development of the EDS in collaboration with more than 20 bureaus and 25 external chief data officers. The result is a strategic framework with a clear vision, guiding principles, and goals that address the most critical needs of the Department. The Department of the future is one in which data is shared, widely applied, responsibly governed, ethically utilized, and secure. In practice, this means foreign affairs professionals grasp the full value of using data in decision-making and are equipped with the expertise and tools to do exactly that.
The evolution of the Department requires a culture change—one that is already underway as the strategy is implemented under EDC oversight. The three-year plan surges data analytics and management resources toward the mission and management of foreign policy priorities every six months. The focus of the first management theme is diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility to help ensure the Department’s workforce reflects the diversity of America. “Strategic Competition” is the first mission theme and highlights the importance of using data when engaging with competitor countries.
Learn more about the EDS and how the Department is enabling data-informed diplomacy on a recently published webpage.
Matthew Graviss, Ph.D. is chief data officer in the Office of Management, Strategy, and Solutions.