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My Coast Guard
Commentary | March 4, 2024

A blueprint for streamlining Coast Guard data

By Jason Allred, MyCG Web Editor

During a time when the United States Coast Guard is experiencing rapid changes, the successful collaboration between Commander Mike Glinski's Manpower Requirements Determination (MRD) team and the Office of Data and Analytics (ODA) Data Team One can serve as an inspirational example for any program facing data-intensive challenges. By working together, the two teams were able to develop an innovative solution that improved the USCG's manpower requirements analysis, resulting in more accurate and efficient planning. This collaboration and problem-solving approach were a huge success and can be used as a model for any program looking to overcome complex data challenges.

The MRD story: 

Commander Glinski's MRD team is responsible for conducting an all-encompassing study about manpower across the USCG. The study requires two portions of work to be conducted — first, the collection and reporting of data from various field units, and second the integration and analysis of that data to support decision making regarding personnel. The data integration and analytics portion of their effort was originally going to be labor-intensive and based on antiquated techniques. Initially, to quantify their data, the MRD team used two Excel workbooks and manually input and manipulated data. It was not only time-consuming, but given the intricate nature of the work, small inaccuracies, such as typos, could invalidate the results.  

When the MRD team realized there must be a better way to conduct the analysis, they reached out to the Office of Data and Analytics. They got an entire new process from Data Team One, which minimized the manual input for the MRD team and streamlined data manipulation from an eight-hour process to a 30-second script. The Python script joins two data sets so we can compare manpower requirements determination studies and the existing personnel allowance list to identify gaps and surpluses in the workforce. Data Team One also taught MRD how to use the new program, and how to customize it to fit their changing needs. So, they made sure the tools and training were there to support the change forever.

How did it help?
  1. Efficiency and time saving 
    • With Python scripting, data analysis is drastically faster, so programs can allocate resources more efficiently. 
    • Reducing repetitive tasks leads to significant time savings, letting teams concentrate on strategic planning and mission-critical needs. 
  2. Accuracy and traceability
    • Implement a linear and repeatable process to minimize human error associated with manual data entry. 
    • Maintain data integrity by ensuring transparency and traceability of data origins. 
  3. Integration with Power BI 
    • Data can be presented more effectively with direct integration with Power BI, facilitating communication and collaboration. 
    • A better presentation of data is key to communicating insights and making informed decisions. 
  4. Scalability and Adaptability
    • With MRD as a template this use case proves that Python scripts are scalable and adaptable to various Coast Guard needs.  
    • With a tailored approach, programs with diverse data manipulation needs can get flexible solutions that fit their missions.  
  5. Strategic Alignment with Organizational Goals 
    • Programs can leverage Data Team One's expertise to drive future operations and align with the Coast Guard's broader strategy. 
    • Boost resource allocation, strategic planning, and mission success with data-driven insights. 

“The experts at Data Team One not only overcame the data management challenge of combining EPAL and RPAL information,” said LCDR Sean March, DCMS-DPR-241 – Manpower Requirements Analysis Branch. “Data Team One exceeded expectations and aided in the development of a reliable, and repeatable process that ties into our PowerBI Manpower Requirements dashboard. The complex Python script analyzes and integrates data and provides a comprehensive overview of total manpower needs critical to informing senior-level decision making and responding to GAO inquiries. This initiative was a tremendous step toward streamlining data processing and empowering decision-makers with an efficient and resourceful approach to meeting Coast Guard manpower demands.”

How can ODA help me? 

MRD's success story with Data Team One is a beacon of innovation and efficiency for the Coast Guard as it navigates changing requirements and constrained resources. The Coast Guard can learn from this collaboration, recognizing data science's transformative power in solving labor-intensive data challenges. There are four primary types of data analysis that Data Team One can offer your office:   

  • Descriptive analytics answers the question, “What happened?”  
  • Diagnostic analytics addresses the next logical question, “Why did this happen?” 
  • Predictive analytics is used to make predictions about future trends or events and answers the question, “What might happen in the future?”  
  • Prescriptive analytics answers the question, “What should we do next?”  

Exploring the ever-changing landscape of data and technology, Data Team One is committed to sharing insights and discoveries. As CG-ODA and Data Team One navigate these changes, they look forward to engaging and inspiring the Coast Guard community. Stay tuned for updates and stories from their journey. Learn more about Data Team One by visiting their SharePoint site or emailing them at

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