513th MI Brigade Uses Innovative Solution to Increase Data Literacy

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Members of the 513th Military Intelligence Brigade at Fort Gordon, Georgia, partnered with the United States Military Academy at West Point to meet the ever-growing demand for data literacy in their organization.

Capt. Orlando Nieves III, an all-source intelligence officer with the 513th MI Brigade, serves as the command’s chief innovation officer responsible for meeting this demand. As a result of his team’s work, the brigade established the “Data Literacy Task Force.”

Nieves is now working to expand this initiative beyond his own brigade.

“The Data Literacy Task Force provides Soldiers the opportunity to take ownership of the Brigade’s data literacy initiatives,” said Nieves. “It will continue to improve data literacy throughout the 513th. It plants technical expertise at every echelon so Soldiers can overcome data-based issues and spread knowledge throughout the command.”

Data literacy is the ability to understand data and efficiently apply the gained information to decision making. Nieves believes this is a key part of preparing to support any future, large scale contingency operation.

One of the primary ways the task force increased literacy was by facilitating attendance at the sixteen-hour data literacy course called Data Literacy 101, or DL101, through USMA. The course was created by Col. Nicholas Clark ’02, program director of applied statistics and data science at USMA, to address what he called a “literacy gap.”

“During recent operations, some data taken off mission objectives was such poor quality that it wasn’t usable,” said Clark. “Everybody is expected to undergo training for marksmanship, combat lifesaver, and basic communication equipment operations. But what about a combat lifesaver equivalent for data literacy?”

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