The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is in the process of creating and institutionalizing data governance procedures, recently appointed acting Chief Data Officer Carlene Ileto said during a Dec. 15 ATARC webinar.

Ileto, who was appointed to the acting CDO post in October 2020 after nearly 10 years as an executive director at DHS, said the agency has long been building out its data governance procedures to keep up with changing data standards.

“We are, you know, really formalizing the data governance through policy,” Ileto said. “We are now building repeatable governance processes for cataloging requests for changes, and to commit those changes of other data standards.”

DHS was able to pivot seamlessly to remote work during the coronavirus pandemic, Ileto and Kenneth Clark, CDO at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), said, but the pandemic has still challenged the way DHS is governing data. The pandemic has put a greater premium on both data sharing and data operability, according to Ileto. DHS components need to be able to access the information they need from other departments, it must be in a format that is useful, and it must also be safe from outside threats, she explained.

“It’s so important that we have our systems of record be in a position where they can send data where necessary, without being concerned about the meaning of the data, the structure of the data, and so forth,” Ileto said. “We’ve got to be able to have a governance operating model that works across the 22 components that we have in DHS.”

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.