Dr. Bryan Pendleton, Chief Data Officer, I&A (Intelligence and Analysis), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, speaks with Adita Karkera, Chief Data Officer for Government and Public Services at Deloitte, about organizational data strategies, the four strategic pillars of data management, his AI responsibilities as a CDO, and managing data governance through the Data Access Review Council (DARC).
The Office of Intelligence & Analysis (I&A) is a unique member of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC). I&A specializes in sharing unique intelligence and analysis with operators and decision-makers to identify and mitigate threats to the homeland.
I&A’s main focus is to provide the Department with the intelligence and information it needs to keep the Homeland safe, secure, and resilient. Deloitte Government and Public Services helps the government to drive large-scale, complex transformation programs, designed to future-proof public services.
As the CDO at the office of I&A, Department of Homeland Security, Pendleton initially reviewed the strategies of the organization. On evaluation, he found that the organization had good data management practices, procedures, and accountability for data assets.
However, it lacked an end-to-end management process that allows customers to predict, understand, and navigate the entire data life cycle.
This led to the forming of the first strategic pillar of unifying the data life cycle, from planning to acquiring, identifying, retaining, and destroying data in accordance with federal records management schedules or the intelligence oversight guideline requirements.
The second pillar deals with the improvement of responsible information-sharing capabilities within the department, says Pendleton. The role fulfilled by his team is delegated to the Under Secretary of I&A, by the Secretary of DHS, and is driven by delegations of authorities mandated in law to the Secretary to get ahead of certain issues which resulted in the 9/11 catastrophe.
Therefore, sharing information with other federal departments and agencies, with a valid mission need for data, and who have authorized access to critical data to identify threat actors, is crucial for Pendleton. He believes that there needs to be a collaboration between the DHS and the U.S. Intelligence community, to take the most advantage of the entire data that the U.S. government has to identify threat actors.
The third pillar is all about innovation and adopting emerging technologies to include the advancement of accelerated adoption of artificial intelligence and serve all sub-disciplines that could be brought to bear on particular use cases.
Moving forward, Pendleton maintains that the final pillar is about data literacy and acumen. It deals with educating non-data professionals on basic data terminologies for better partnerships. Following this strategic pillar allows professionals to leverage technical and specialized capabilities for robust analysis and helps them derive novel insights founded on statistical rigor.
Commenting on his expanded portfolio, Pendleton states that he has AI responsibilities within the intelligence community and as a CDO. He was appointed to the Intelligence Community to accelerate I&A’s adoption of AI within the community.
Further, Pendleton also represents the I&A and the DHS in the Intelligence Community, on augmenting intelligence using machines executive steering group that talks about strategic AI efforts across the U.S. Intelligence Community.
In addition, he shares that in the department, Pendleton represents I&A to a consortium of senior officials who are responsible for AI in their respective components. This means developing strategies and initiatives in synchronization with the guidance and the priorities of the secretary, being led by department headquarters.
Moreover, the CTO of DHS and the DHS Office of Policy, each provide the department’s senior AI officials to the US government, he adds.
When asked about managing data governance while collaborating with multiple divisions across DHS, Pendleton shares that the responsibility includes sharing departmental data not just with the IC but with the broader U.S. government.
Therefore, when it comes to data governance, his team facilitates a best practice across the U.S., government via the Data Access Review Council of the DHS. Pendleton explains that it is a departmental-level body composed of the General Counsel, the Privacy Office, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and DHS Policy.
Explaining further, he confirms that those are the core members of DARC whose focus lies in bulk sharing of data agreements, facilitating agreements and negotiations, and ensuring that the departmental data sharing comports with all the privacy and impact assessments or systems of records needs and that the facilitated use is appropriate and lawful.
Dr. Bryan Pendleton | Chief Data Officer, I&A, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
The DARC brings together data owners, apart from headquarters stakeholders, to do this. He adds that the department is very use case driven, therefore, leading to an appropriate analysis of the proposed use, from all dimensions.
The Data Access Review Council also expedites processing memorandums of agreement and letters of intent by bringing all the stakeholders together, from the beginning, says Pendleton. This enables participants to keep their legitimate perspectives upfront, have a proactive approach, and develop reasonable agreements that will govern if the data is being lawfully used.
Moving further, he affirms that the DARC also reviews when the team plans to create analytics or tools, as the body brings together everyone with a solid compliance perspective or oversight dimension that must be considered.
According to Pendleton, success is all about a great partnership and the spirit of transparency. He goes on to say that the team and the stakeholders figure out ways to mitigate risks together.
In conclusion, he opines that the council keeps the mission requirements at the forefront and comes together as a team to figure out a way to contribute to the mission, consistent with the spirit of the original proposal.
CDO Magazine appreciates Dr. Bryan Pendleton for sharing his insights with our global community.