On January 14, 2019, the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 (“Evidence Act”) became law. The goal of the Evidence Act is to advance evidence-building functions in the federal government by improving access to data and expanding evaluation capacity.
The Evidence Act directs federal agencies to designate three Evidence Officials to ensure effective implementation of the law: an Evaluation Officer, Statistical Official, and Chief Data Officer. The Executive Director of the Office of Homeland Security Statistics (OHSS), Marc Rosenblum, is the DHS Statistical Official.
The Statistical Official is responsible for directing and coordinating statistical policy for the agency. The Statistical Official serves as the:
- Agency senior advisor for DHS statistical policy, including establishing policies to:
- Enable agencies to produce and disseminate relevant and timely statistical information,
- Conduct credible and accurate statistical activities,
- Conduct objective statistical activities, and
- Protect the trust of information providers by ensuring the confidentiality and exclusive statistical use of their responses;
- Agency senior advisor for statistical techniques to ensure data quality and confidentiality; and
- Agency senior advisor for statistical procedures to implement desired policies and techniques systematically and efficiently.
The Chief Data Officer consults with the Statistical Official on data management. The DHS Chief Data Officer has delegated responsibility for statistical data management to the Statistical Official, including the authority to:
- Manage the Department’s statistical data assets, including the standardization of statistical data assets, sharing of statistical data information, and publication of statistical data assets;
- Develop reference data standards for statistical data, including valid codes, official definitions, methodologies, formats, business rules, and applicable policy guidance;
- Oversee the governance and implementation of statistical data standards;
- Ensure that DHS statistical data conforms with data management best practices;
- Provide support to the DHS Evaluation Officer (EO) for identifying and using statistical data to carry out EO functions
- Support the Department’s Performance Improvement Officer in identifying and using statistical data;
- Serve as DHS enterprise champion for statistical data quality, including by reviewing and reporting to the Secretary and Component Statistical Officials on inconsistencies or deficiencies in Component statistical data; and
- Ensure that the Department’s statistical data are made available in accordance with 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35.
Statistical Official Council
The Evidence Act emphasizes collaboration and coordination to advance data and evidence-building functions in the federal government by statutorily mandating federal evidence-building activities, open government data, and confidential information protection and statistical efficiency. DHS has a Statistical Official Council (Council) to enhance collaboration across its many component agencies.
The mission of the Statistical Official Council is to provide effective governance, oversight, and guidance to the DHS Statistical Official on:
- Distribution of agency-wide statistical data policies,
- Adoption of common homeland security statistical standards,
- Promotion of equity-related data policies, and
- Coordination with the DHS Chief Information Officer on information technology to support this mission.
The Statistical Official Council works to improve data transparency and consistency, data-driven decision support, and efficiency of statistical data reporting. This mission includes making objective, credible, accurate, relevant, and timely federal homeland security statistics available to interagency partners, Congress, and the public.
Council leadership and membership are designated by position. Members have the authority to represent and make decisions on behalf of their organizations. The Council is made up of senior-level career officials who are intimately familiar with their organization’s statistical data and reporting processes.
The Council is composed of the following positions and participants:
- DHS Statistical Official
Voting Members — Component Statistical Officials
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
- U.S. Coast Guard
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection
- Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
- Federal Emergency Management Agency
- Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers
- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
- U.S. Secret Service
- Transportation Security Administration
- Science and Technology Directorate
- Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office
- DHS Chief Data Officer
- DHS Evaluation Official
- DHS Chief Information Officer
- DHS General Counsel
- DHS Chief Privacy Officer
- DHS Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
- DHS Chief Medical Information Officer
- Representatives from Federal Statistical Agencies and Units, as invited by the Chair
- Representatives from the Executive Office of the President, as invited by the Chair
- Subject Matter Experts, as invited by the Chair