Federal agencies must be data literate in order to their meet missions effectively and efficiently. Currently, the the U.S. Air Force is doing this by introducing a new training and certification program for airmen designed to build data literacy skills to support an emerging need for data governance.
Successful data governance is achieved based on an agency’s ability to read, understand, and communicate data. “Data literacy is a challenge for most organizations, while their expectations for technology to deliver on its promises are higher than ever,” explained, Torie Williams, President, Chenega Agile Real-Time Solutions.
“Organizational strategies and technology roadmaps are filled with technological advances like robotic process automation (RPA), blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and augmented reality,” explained Williams. “However, many organizations lack intentional strategies to increase their workforce’s competency development of data literacy. Data literacy has to be intentional as it requires a shift in thinking as it pertains to interpreting data and information.”
According to Eileen Vidrine, Chief Data Officer, U.S. Air Force, the training and certification program focuses on workforce readiness and governance pertaining to data; these are key factors in a larger vision for data management, digital technology, and the future of AI within the Air Force as well as other branches of the U.S. military.
“The future of the Air Force is data and it is staring us right in the face,” explained Vidrine. “How we approach and adapt to that data will mean everything.” And, that all starts with reinforcing the importance of data – what to do with it and how to read it – from the top of an agency down to its most technical workers.
“We can and will excel in efficient, automated governance with the right structures and the best-trained personnel at the helm,” explained Vidrine. “We are focused on upscaling our data resources by leveraging our most significant asset … our people.”
Additionally, in support of data literacy, branches, including the U.S. Air Force, can provide integrated IT technologies and the support needed to maintain them. Often, data literacy is reinforced when agencies provide their workforces with the technologies that will help them excel and meet mission objectives.
For many agencies, 2021 will be a year of establishing better data governance and driving home the importance of data literacy. For the U.S. Air Force, this focus on data literacy will take place through the new training and certification program and, ultimately, strengthen their workforce. With data literacy at the forefront of agency objectives, they can be better prepared to lead and make decisions using today’s innovative technologies.
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