U.S. Navy


Chief Data Officer: Tom Sasala

Providing a Safe AI ‘Playground’ for Data Scientists

After his appointment in February 2020 as the Department of the Navy Chief Data Officer, Tom Sasala told Signal magazine, “We are in the process of trying to implement the fundamental tenets of how we will do data management across the department to support the warfighter, support artificial intelligence and machine learning, and just generally do better data analytics across the department.”

The magazine reported that he is “implementing five lines of effort for the Navy’s data management: setting the foundation for the data; evolving the workforce; positioning and protecting the data; building, optimizing and operationalizing the data environment; and governing and managing the data.”

Signal wrote that “the chief data officer will make tools, techniques and algorithms accessible at any level throughout the architecture. The platform also will support robust uses of artificial intelligence and machine learning.”

“The first thing is to create a data laboratory-like environment,” Sasala told Signal, “where data scientists, data analysts and data engineers can go in and have access to vast amounts of information that is essentially raw or semi-integrated.

“Then they can apply these machine learning and AI algorithms in what we’re calling a safe environment. And that environment can be a combination of real live production data and minimized or sanitized data.Then the algorithms that are being developed in this kind of playground can be operationalized into production and used to make real productive, data-driven decisions.”