By Melanee “Kate” Thomas, ODNI Office of Strategic Communications
ODNI’s Office of Strategic Communications sat down with the IC Chief Data Officer Lori Wade to discuss her priorities in the position, her perspective, and where she will take the community. The below Q&A has been edited for clarity.
1. Tell us about your role as IC CDO.
I am coming into this critical position at a pivotal time. The Intelligence Community is on a critical and complex multi-year undertaking to accelerate our digital and data transformation. In a hyper-connected, data driven, digital world, with edge and cloud computing, the intelligence challenges we face are much more complex and interconnected than ever before. They cross all of our organizational boundaries.
Because each agency and partner relies on each other’s data as much as they do their own, we need an acceleration of the efforts to make data more discoverable and accessible across the IC – in ways we have not in the past. As the IC CDO and Assistant DNI for Data and Partnership Interoperability, I will set the strategy for how we as the IC manage data and partnerships to get the community where it needs to be now, and in the future.
In the IC and the private sector, the CDO is the executive providing the senior oversight and strategic vision for building a data-driven enterprise. It is no longer just about the volume of data, we are focused on end-to-end data lifecycle management, reducing the time from collection to actionable insight by ensuring data is made AI- ready and consumable by both humans and machines. This requires a pivot from a historical, system-centric paradigm, years of legacy practices, and culture, and critical partnerships with my digital C-Suite colleagues, across disciplines, and the private sector.
2. As IC CDO, what are your top priorities for the Community relating to data and information sharing?
First, the IC Chief Data Officer must lead the IC in achieving interoperability of our data at speed and scale. We must accelerate the adoption of enterprise data services that manage data throughout its lifecycle. And, we need to serve as the foundation of a data-centric ecosystem that promotes the use of modern, machine-enabled analytics. The partnerships with private sector are key to this. We need to collaborate with and learn from private sector and academia – to include looking across different industries; medical, financial, etc.