By Matthew Graviss
The Department of State’s first-ever Enterprise Data Strategy (EDS) was a paradigm shift toward a data-driven culture, and the strategy implementation phase began in October 2021. Since then, multifaceted efforts to leverage data as a critical instrument of diplomacy have been moving ahead swiftly. The Department’s Office of Management Strategy and Solutions’ Center for Analytics hosted a Department-wide Data Day, May 4.
The event opened with a ceremony recognizing the winners of the inaugural Data for Diplomacy Awards, which challenges the workforce to submit innovative projects that use data to support, develop, and advance foreign policy. Data Day also marked the successful completion of the first six-month EDS implementation campaigns—an aggressive increase in data management and analytic resources to support two of the Department’s policy and management priorities. The campaigns brought together cross-functional teams and achieved many breakthroughs for these Department priorities in areas of Strategic Competition and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA).
The goal of the Strategic Competition campaign was to use data to understand the nature and scope of the global activities of competitor countries to better inform the Department’s strategic planning and foreign assistance. In support of this effort, the team developed a new suite of analytics tools, leveraged data to inform foreign assistance project selection processes, and added dozens of relevant datasets to the Department’s data catalog which made them accessible to Department stakeholders and the interagency. The initiative packaged the data into digestible, easy-to-use formats for busy policymakers.
A second team created a new DEIA data policy to accelerate decision-making and increase data transparency while safeguarding privacy. Working with the Secretary’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, they developed a groundbreaking, interactive Demographic Baseline report and dashboard, which will be available to the public soon and updated annually. The Department will employ this demographic baseline to help benchmark progress, identify potential barriers to equal opportunity, inform policy responses, and promote accountability in recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce.
Over the next three years, the goal is to continue to incorporate data into decision-making. Currently, teams are making progress in the second round of campaigns which focus on cybersecurity and multilateral diplomacy.
Matthew Graviss is the Department of State’s chief data officer and managing director for the Office of Management and Strategy Solutions’ Center for Analytics.