The Foreign Service Journal, March 2020

14 MARCH 2020 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL TALKING POINTS Data for Diplomacy B efore a standing-room-only crowd on Jan. 16 in Main State’s Burns Auditorium, officials shared their plans to bring the department’s data analytics into the 21st century. We are at a critical inflection point at the State Department on data analyt- ics,” Under Secretary for Management Brian Bulatao told the crowd. “This is a generational shift.” “We created the Center for Analyt- ics to infuse a culture of data into our thinking at State,” Jim Schwab, the director of the Office of Management Strategy and Solutions (MSS), said. “Data analytics is everywhere in society, and we are starting to use it in many areas at State.” Janice Degarmo, the deputy director of MSS and acting chief data officer at the Center for Analytics, shared several examples of new data analytics projects already in action or in development. One is a dashboard called Con- gressional Insights that helps prepare embassy staffers for upcoming visits by congressional delegations. With 600 codels a year, the State Department puts in a ton of work figuring out how to interact with lawmakers effectively, Ms. Degarmo said. Now, at the press of a button, staff can get all the pertinent information about any member of Congress, using 40 different data sets. The dashboard features headers such as Sponsored Legislation, State Depart- ment Engagement, Home State Profile, Potential Topics of Interest, CODEL Travel History and International Exchange Programs in the lawmaker’s state. The Global Presence Navigator, another project under development, will enable a global look at the State Department’s presence in countries around the globe—personnel, facili- ties, spending, assistance program- ming and more. “We can look at our footprint globally, regionally, and down to the post level,” Degarmo said. “We are beginning to overlay indicators of strategic importance, as well.” The Center for Analytics has also developed a Chinese Activities Platform on Classnet that can help the U.S. gov- ernment track Beijing. “There is great value in leveraging data as a strategic asset,” Mr. Bulatao said. “It is imperative that we have the most informed employees who are able to understand analytics faster than our adversaries.” The Foreign Service Institute is now offering courses on data analytics, he added. FSI trained 700 people in data analytics in 2019, he said, “and we think it will double over the next couple of years.” Senate Confirms Biegun as State #2 T he Senate voted 90-3 on Dec. 19 to confirm Stephen Biegun, President Trump’s former North Korea envoy, as Deputy Secretary of State. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo swore in Mr. Biegun on Dec. 21. Before taking on the role of envoy to North Korea, Mr. Biegun was vice president of international government relations for Ford Motor Company. He served as executive secretary of the National Security Council from 2001 to 2003. In that role, he was a senior staff member for National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. Before that, he spent 14 years as a foreign policy adviser to members of the House and Senate. Mr. Biegun is a gradu- ate of the University of Michigan. Pompeo Berates Reporter over Ukraine Questions S ecretary of State Mike Pompeo lashed out at NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly after an interview, appar- ently angered by her questions about the Trump administration’s removal of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch from Ukraine and whether he owed Amb. Yovanovitch an apology for not defend- ing her publicly. “I’ve defended every single person on this team,” Secretary Pompeo said in the interview, recorded on Jan. 24. Pressed by Ms. Kelly on whether he could point to specific remarks in which Stephen Biegun.