FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. – Data enables decision dominance and is essential to how the Army operates and will sustain future success. Data Science exploits enterprise data to reveal previously hidden insights to enhance decision-making, understanding and efficiency across commands. For the U.S. Network Enterprise Technology Command’s Data Science Directorate (DSD), their efforts are an essential part of NETCOM’s global success.
“This is significant for NETCOM because, in a typical day on the United States Department of Defense Information Network (DoDIN), countless events generate millions of rows of data detailing user activity, network functionality and device information,” said Data Scientist Lt. Col. Kurt Klingensmith, NETCOM Data Science Center – Pittsburgh.
The NETCOM DSD’s mission is to provide integrated, advanced analytic capabilities to enable objective decision-making. Collectively, they enable NETCOM leadership to optimize and transform DoDIN-Army operations in a data-centric manner and are a critical enabler for network operations across multi-domain operations.
As the military continues incorporating Data Science into everyday practices there is no escaping the realization data is everywhere.
“Even more data arises from the execution of business processes and daily tasks across the command,” Klingensmith explained. “Hidden within this data are insights revealable through the application of Data Science techniques.”
With terms such as Data Science and analytics seeming so intimidating, it’s important there is a shared understanding between Soldiers, civilians and leaders. In order to make that shared understanding a reality, the NETCOM DSD introduced the Data Literacy 101 course.
Realizing the importance of data and Data Literacy, the DSD’s NETCOM-focused 10-hour course is part of a larger Data Literacy strategy and is designed to create a shared understanding on how leaders can use data to their advantage. The course pivots off of best practices within the Army, the DoD, academia, and industry partners.
“We are trying to lead data-centric operations, especially in NETCOM,” said Maj. Robert Lasater, Data Scientist, DSD – Monterey. “We can’t do that if people don’t understand how to read, analyze and communicate with data.”
Data centricity is the concept and practice of positioning data as a core, fixed asset that does not change regardless of the technology that uses it. As NETCOM continues shaping the Army’s digital transformation efforts, data-centric operations are a priority.
“Data-centric operations are critical to ensuring the operation and defense of the DODIN-A,” Lasater said. “Data Science and analysis enables NETCOM members to detect network anomalies and examine data to determine root cause, defend the network, automate and optimize processes and monitor performance.”
Data Literacy is fundamental to gaining a shared understanding, especially with modernization efforts supporting the Army’s digital transformation strategy.
“In today's data-driven world, understanding data is not just an advantage – it is a necessity,” said NETCOM Operations Research Analyst Patrick Goodman. “As the Army emphasizes data-oriented decision-making, data literacy becomes a critical subject for all. Fostering a data-savvy culture will empower NETCOM team members with the ability to leverage data and data analysis effectively.”
The inaugural class, held Sept. 27-28, covered topics such as asking effective data-driven questions, determining the trustworthiness of data, the different types of analysis and personal experiences with data.
“What I liked most was seeing the growth and enthusiasm first-hand,” Goodman said. “It was truly gratifying to see individuals gain more confidence in data literacy.”
Capt. Jason Scaglione, NETCOM Deputy G2 Analysis and Control Element appreciated the course and recognized its advantages.
“The class was a good tool for analysts to better understand their craft,” Scaglione explained. “To know what an analyst is actually doing helps them to better understand their toolset and how to properly apply those learned tools. Another plus from the class is that the tools can be interchanged with any of the domains for intel allowing a continued use of what was learned so that it does not go stale or forgotten.”
This is just the beginning of NETCOM’s introduction to Data Literacy 101, and the DSD has big things in store for NETCOM Soldiers, civilians and leaders.
“I would like to see the course become a catalyst for a data culture within NETCOM,” Lasater said. “DL101 is intended to be an introductory course, and we are creating additional resources such as the Data Community Page to follow. We plan on offering additional educational resources, and also our own recorded materials on how to tackle problems. I'm most excited for the forum where anyone can post questions or share success stories.”