Data chief says flexibility, simplicity remain challenges

By Evan Ochsner / February 23, 2022 at 1:13 PM

The Army’s chief data officer said on Wednesday that the service needs to prioritize simplicity and flexibility as it continues to improve its data capabilities.

“There’s a lot of different parts that make the problem complicated,” David Markowitz, the Army’s chief data officer and analytics officer said during a data innovation workshop hosted by FCW.

Many of the Army’s battle command systems are older, legacy systems that weren’t designed to support large-scale data integration, Markowitz said, and the Army is trying to balance the new with the old during its data transition.

“Getting the processes aligned so that you can integrate the data in a more easy way remains a challenge,” he said.

Markowitz said one of the keys to aligning those processes is the Army’s common operating environment, a standard foundation of computing technologies across the Army.

Increased simplicity will also help improve system flexibility, he said. Current data systems don’t allow enough operational flexibility, Markowitz said, and that could be a problem as the Army shifts transformation efforts to the division and corps levels, he said.

“We’re going to have to make this a more flexible tool set that allows local customization to meet commander and mission,” he said.

Transmitting data from tactical systems continues to be a challenge the Army is working to overcome, he said, particularly when operating in contested environments.

“How to kind of get that data to where it needs to be and the speed of it is still kind of an open question,” he said.

The Army will continue to use Project Convergence to develop rapid fires capability and rapid data flow to meet specific mission threats, he said.