NEWS | June 30, 2021

Navy Reserve Establishes Force Data Office

By Lt. Cmdr. James Carbaugh and Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Raymond Maddocks

With an ever-increasing emphasis on data-driven decision making, Commander, Navy Reserve Forces Command (CNRFC) is going all-in on the development of data science capabilities by establishing the Force Data Office (FDO).  

The FDO, under the designation N01D at CNRFC, which goes live July 12, will be responsible for the execution of Navy Reserve data strategy and policies, and ensuring alignment with the greater Department of the Navy’s (DoN) data strategy.

Prior to FDO establishment, the responsibility for data analytics and data science rested within the CNRF operations department. The creation of the new office will elevate it to parity within CNRFC to the other departments and special assistants, mirroring the Navy’s current structure. The office will continue to execute data projects, but it will also expand its role in the development of comprehensive data strategies and policies, ensuring that Reserve leaders at all levels are able to make more data-informed decisions.

Capt. Pete Zubof, who has directed CNRFC‘s data division of the operations department, will helm the new office.

“Control of information is the new frontier in strategic competition,” said Zubof. “Our global competitors are investing heavily in machine learning, artificial intelligence and data science. In order to stay ahead of this competition, it’s incredibly important that we can provide centralized, efficient management of Reserve assets. This will allow us to remain at the forefront of capability development within the Navy and Department of Defense.”

Chief of Navy Reserve and Commander, Navy Reserve Force, Vice Adm. John Mustin, is a strong proponent of data-driven decision making.  During his recent address to data and information technology professionals at the annual DoN IT East conference, he also stressed the importance of data science in developing readiness for both the Reserve Force and Navy at large.

“At a personal level, I consider data a strategic asset…critically important in the transformation and modernization of the Navy Reserve,” said Mustin. “While descriptive and diagnostic modeling has been a mainstay of Navy decision making for decades, our team continues to improve the integration and fidelity of data.  We put significant effort into leapfrogging traditional descriptive diagnostic research … to ultimately fast forward the mainstream use of predictive modeling and prescriptive analytics, with the ultimate goal of improving the speed and fidelity of our decision-making processes.”

FDO will be responsible for managing data assets within the force, including developing advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence. As an emerging and rapidly evolving field, the Navy has not yet had the opportunity to develop data professionals. The Reserve Force, however, already has data professionals who continue to develop their skills in their civilian careers. The ability to apply those civilian skillsets to Navy challenges makes the Reserve Force a potent force-multiplier, able to increase the pace at which the Navy can adapt new techniques and technologies.

“The unique skillsets of our Navy Reservists have allowed us to respond quickly to new challenges,” said Zubof. “This has never been truer than in the development of data science. We know that we already have data professionals present within the force. The challenge is to find them and get them excited about the new opportunities that data science provides within the Navy.”

While the FDO leans into policy and manpower challenges, it also recognizes the need to solve day-to-day challenges for deckplate leaders. The team has already developed applications that can identify Reservists at high risk of mobilization cancelation and provide solutions, optimize annual training allocation, automate event reporting, and improve budget processes. These tools allow for real-time visualization of complex data sets across all levels of leadership within the Navy.

According to Mustin, the Navy Reserve investment in data science represents a significant step forward in reasserting technological preeminence amongst the world’s military powers.

“By capitalizing on the unique skills of our citizen-Sailors, the Reserve Force is paving the way for a bright data future within the Navy,” said Mustin.

For more information on Selected Reserves (SELRES) Data Science billets or other opportunities such as Active Duty for Special Work (ADOS), contact Lt. Cmdr. Dan Sheppard, Daniel.j.sheppard@navy.mil, or Lt. Cmdr. James Carbaugh, james.carbaugh3@navy.mil.