The federal government will need to ensure that it has reliable, accessible data sources in order to pursue more modern technological advancements, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.

According to the federal chief information officer, Suzette Kent, the Trump administration will use 2019 to publish a federal data policy that enables such advancements.

“Last year you heard me talking a lot about updating policies. The reason we did that was to get rid of the barriers and unlock the ability for agencies to aggressively pursue the path that we’ve been talking about,” said Kent at the March 4 ServiceNow Summit.

“This year we’re going to continue to push our federal data strategy. To be able to push these automated technologies, we have to have high-quality data, and we have to have mechanisms for sharing that data.”

That governmentwide data strategy will include priorities in federal data management for the coming years and rely on many of the strategies outlined in the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act, which became law in January 2019.

That policy will also align with the federal data goals outlined in the President’s Management Agenda, which include using data to boost the U.S. economy, promote government innovation and increase transparency.

“For those of us in the technology realm, that focus translates to an unprecedented level of support over the executive and legislative branches to tackle those technologies that we haven’t touched in decades,” said Kent, adding that the size and reach of the federal government means it will be one of the largest digital transformations in history.

Federal workforce efforts will also shift to include data management and the automated technologies that are enabled by that data.

“We’ve been focusing very much on workforce reskilling and skilling in the cyber space. We’re going down that same path with data and with things in the automated technology space,” said Kent.

Current efforts in the cyber realm include a cyber reskilling academy for current employees, and new hiring authorities to get new people into those positions.

Jessie Bur covers federal IT and management.

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