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Researcher Calls for Appointment of Chief Data Officers at Federal Agencies

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New research published by the IBM Center for the Business of Government has called on the heads of federal agencies to appoint a chief data officer or establish a data management position at their respective departments.

The researcher, Jane Wiseman, a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, made the recommendation in a recently released report, noting the inability of government agencies to leverage data in decision-making due to sheer volume.

“Many government agencies are awash in data but struggle to analyze and make sense of it,” Wiseman said.

Wiseman added that Congress and the Office of Management and Budget need to provide CDOs with the requisite resources, such as funding and support staff, should the appointment of such an official become policy.

Wiseman’s proposal echoes that of House Resolution 4174, the Foundations for Evidence-based Policymaking Act of 2017, which states that “[the] head of each agency shall designate a career appointee… in the agency as the Chief Data Officer of the agency.”

The proposal also aligns with President Trump’s Management Agenda, which says that “[smarter] use of data… is needed to orient decisions and accountability around service and results.”