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CHIPS Articles: DoD Chief Data Officer Aims to Deliver Data Reform

DoD Chief Data Officer Aims to Deliver Data Reform
By David Vergun, Defense.gov - June 22, 2020
Information technology is the backbone of today's modern battlefield and is even more important in a constantly evolving security climate.

The Defense Department is reforming how data is used and collected. This is particularly important in joint, all-domain operations, which involve coordinated communications and employment of military assets at sea, in the air, on the ground, and in space and cyberspace.

The chief data officer leads the effort to strengthen data governance, implement data strategy, and accelerate the transition to a data-driven culture across the department. Data governance is a framework of data rules and organizational role delegations designed to standardize data practices.

DoD officials announced today that Dave Spirk will become the chief data officer who will lead the new CDO organization. The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act directed that the chief data officer's functions move from being under the chief management officer to become part of the chief information officer structure.

The chief information officer is responsible for the department's Digital Modernization Strategy, which has five components: cloud; artificial intelligence; command, control and communications, known as C3; data management; and cybersecurity.

The chief information officer engages with companies across the technology landscape to understand their data journeys and best practices to create a strong data culture.

"Dave Spirk will bring extensive experience and understanding of how data can empower joint, all-domain operations," said Dana Deasy, DoD's chief information officer. "As a former Marine with extensive experience in the intelligence community, Dave was uniquely qualified to become the CDO and will play a key role as we continue to execute the Digital Modernization Strategy. I look forward to working with Dave as we create a strong data culture across the department."

Spirk most recently was the chief data officer for the U.S. Special Operations Command. Previously, he worked as the associate director of technology investment in the secretary of the Air Force's Concept Development and Management Office for Advanced Analytics and Technology Investment.

Additionally, Spirk worked as a Marine Corps intelligence specialist in Afghanistan and in the office of the director of national intelligence as the chief of operations for the Cuba and Venezuela mission manager.

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Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Allshouse uses the intrusion detection system to monitor unclassified network activity from the automated data processing workspace aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan off the coast of San Diego, March 10, 2009. Photo by Rick Naystatt
Air Force Airman 1st Class Michael Dupre cleans computers with an air pressure machine at a deployed location, March 19, 2012. To better support the needs of base communications, the 380th Expeditionary Communications Squadron ordered more than 200 used computers from bases that closed in Air Forces Central’s area of responsibility. Photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Arian Grant
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