DHS' Daconta steps down

Michael Daconta spent a little more than a year in the federal government, but his impact will be felt for years to come. Daconta, who spent most of his time revising the Federal Enterprise Architecture's Data Reference Model, returned to the private sector Dec. 16.

After joining the Homeland Security Department in August 2004 as director of the Enterprise Data Management Office, Daconta became a central figure for his work in shaping how agencies will share, categorize and describe data.

The working group he led also developed a DRM Management Strategy and the DRM Implementation and Test Strategy. The group also developed an Extensible Markup Language schema that agencies can use to describe their data, specifying what format the data is in, what topics the data addresses and how the data can be accessed. The Office of Management and Budget issued Version 2.0 of the DRM Dec. 17.

Daconta left DHS to become the vice president for data enterprise management for Oberon Associates of Manassas, Va. Brad Eyre, who is on detail from the Coast Guard, has temporarily replaced Daconta at DHS.

"I certainly wanted to finish the DRM, but I started to look around when the Congress disapproved the funding for the Metadata Center of Excellence," he said. "I had accomplished a decent amount, and Oberon was offering me an opportunity to do more concrete type of development."

DHS had asked for $2 million for the Metadata Center, but Congress did not allocate any funding for it. Daconta said that frustrated him, and he decided the Oberon opportunity was too good to pass up.

"There needs to be more done in terms of education of really making senior leadership of government get the connection of data management and information-sharing," Daconta said.

At Oberon, Daconta will work on biometrics projects for the Army, including the National Ground Intelligence Center's biometric data warehouse and the biometric automated tool set.

This was Daconta's second stint in government. He served as chief architect for the Defense Intelligence Agency's Virtual Knowledge Base Project, and also worked as an Army intelligence officer.

Jason Miller is an assistant managing editor of Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

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