Start with higher-level data

Provide Congress with higher-level data at first. The DoD budget is made up of 48 unique investment activities spread out over 23 different appropriations and more than 1,700 distinct budget line items (BLIs).1 Finances are passed down through the hierarchy of DoD and with every layer it goes through, budgets are split into smaller and smaller amounts. When building out the enclave, start near the top. BEgin by sharing top-level account data instead of attempting to provide specific program or project expenditures. Focusing on higher level data will allow the product team to start building more quickly, beginning with basic data and increasing its fidelity until a useful balance is eventually achieved.

Specific requests from Congressional staff vary dramatically between individuals and portfolios. Attempting to satisfy every specific query is an unnecessarily difficult task. Once users have access to data they rarely say they want less, even if they aren’t using that data. Starting at a higher level would allow the product team to test out and troubleshoot integrations and show value while avoiding expensive and time consuming investments in sharing data that Congressional staff may not use. Higher level data would also help address DoD concerns about sharing too much information and inadvertently incentivising Congress to micromanage DoD projects. Lastly, if Congress and DoD chose to adopt the Commission’s recommendations, high-level account data will transition more effectively into the new budget structure.2

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This site was last updated on 12 MAR 2024.