Making Decisions That Make A Difference

By John RichardsonMarch 26, 2021

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

On 17 March, 2021, the Office of Business Transformation held its monthly Data Science & Intelligent Automation Community (DS&IA) of Interest Tech Talk. Dr. David Markowitz, the Army’s Chief Data and Analytics Officer (CIO), headlined the event, and MAJ Dusty Turner was profiled as the ORSA of the Month.

The discussion revolved around an exceptional presentation given by Army Analytics Group MAJ(P) Ed Edens. According to MAJ(P) Edens, leaders often lack the resources they need to get timely answers to pressing questions that impact the management of their organization. Capabilities like the Person-Event Data Environment is one way that data scientists have aiding leaders in making decisions that impact the health and readiness of the force.

In a competitive world that constantly moves forward, standing still means that you are falling behind. So, improving the tools available to aid decision makers is one of the ways the Army maintains its military advantage.

In his opening comments, Dr. Markowitz compared the need for data analytics to the need for logistics during World War II.  During the war, Admiral E. J, King was cited as saying, “I don’t know what the hell this ‘logistics’ is that Marshall is always talking about, but I want some of it.” The same can be said today. As Dr. Markowitz points out, today’s senior leaders find themselves saying, “I’m not really sure what this data stuff is, but I want some of it.”

According to Dr. Markowitz, “the nature of the change we’re on is the ability to link data in ways we have not normally done before. For example, algebra’s fundamental theory was not proved with algebra, it was proved with geometry. Who knew geometry would prove algebra, and similarly, who knew you could take squad level performance data and use it to prove something about human resources.” It is a huge potential.

Challenging the Community of Interest, Dr. Markowitz asked everyone in attendance to share with their colleagues what they think the potential of data analytics might be, and then act on it. He went on to say, “If we do these two things, we will be an Army for the 21st century. We will be able to operate much faster and implement new improvements that will outpace our enemy's. This is the key to our future success."

Comprising over 400 members, the DS&IA Community of Interest is collectively working to rise to this challenge. But shouldn’t everyone in the Army be asking themselves these two questions. What is the potential of my business, and how can I act on it?