Army appointing new ‘data representatives’ across divisions

Army cyber specialists defend the network at the tactical operations center for 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, on Fort Bliss, Texas, during Network Integration Evaluation 16.1, which ran from Sept. 25 to Oct. 8, 2015. (Photo Credit: David Vergun)

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The Army has ordered each division to appoint a “data representative” who will work with the Defense Department’s chief data officer to help improve data interoperability and general data literacy across the service.

Divisions received the order in November and have since been working to appoint someone, Col. Jay Chapman, division chief of Mission Command HQDA G-3/5/7, said Thursday. The position is a part of a broader push to educate the Army in data, tech and IT know-how.

“A lot of people don’t have the skills,” Chapman told FedScoop after an AFCEA DC luncheon on the Army’s push to the cloud.

The order requires Army divisions, staff sections and component commands to seek out officers or civilians who can be data representatives. Most of the representatives will not be new hires but Army personnel in existing data-focused roles.

Improving the way the Army collects and manages its data is a critical part of its push to the cloud. Current cloud-stored data remains “stovepiped” and siloed among the different parts of the sprawling Army, said the service’s new leader of its Office of Cloud Enterprise Management, Paul Puckett. That comes as a result of the Army’s systems and culture not keeping up with technological change, he said.

Puckett said his office is “reaching everywhere” in the Army to find in-house data science, IT and software engineering talent to help bridge that gap. The goal is to create better communication and build stronger systems across the Army to prevent the siloing of data.

“We are creating a community,” Puckett said during a fireside chat at Thursday.

Puckett stressed the need for education in the Army for a better general understanding around the service’s cloud migration.

The defense industry will be a critical “partner” Puckett said, but he is not looking only for technology solutions. “You don’t take products on a journey, you take partners,” he said.

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Army, chief data officer (CDO), Department of Defense (DOD)
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