Air Force Chief Data Officer (CDO) Eileen Vidrine shared success stories from the implementation of the agency’s Visible, Accessible, Understandable, Linked and Trusted (VAULT) Data Platform in a panel discussion at ACT-IAC’s Data Driven Decision-Making Forum on Nov. 22.

The VAULT Data Platform, according to a press release from the Air Force, is a cyber secure, cloud-based program that provides airmen with a capability to manage, cleanse, and experiment with data on a common application.

“I call it a production quality sandbox,” Vidrine said, “It’s a safe sandbox to do that discovery process . . .  We’re solving difficult problems with timely, accurate information”

The modern-day workforce is accustomed to a certain level of digital capability in daily life, Vidrine explained, and the idea behind the VAULT Data Platform was to provide the digital worker with the tools that they’re used to using. Vidrine added that data management and innovation is really “a moment of culture change as much as it is about data and technology.” She likened the CDO office to a startup in a larger, more mature organization.

Changing the language around data is a part of this culture change. “You use the word silo, I use the word data jail,” Vidrine said. “It’s changing the concept from data owner to data steward . . . it’s not your data, it’s the Air Force’s data,” she added.

The CDO office also streamlined the process for data sharing. Often, Vidrine will have to go through the legal team to get approval for data sharing, but now her team has developed approved templates that simplify the business process and make it easier to start sharing.

As for protecting the data, “the partnership that I have with the CIO office is critical,” Vidrine said. “We are really focusing on the zero-trust model where I protect at the data level, but I can’t do that alone. I have to have my CIO and CISO colleagues there,” she added.

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Katie Malone
Katie Malone
Katie Malone is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.