Cover: Data-Driven Strategic Planning

Data-Driven Strategic Planning

Aligning Program Planning, Budgeting, and Strategic Goals

Published Oct 19, 2023

by Emma Westerman, King Mallory, Monika Cooper, Emily Haglund, Evan Smith

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Research Questions

  1. What are the strengths of OCPO staff and the DHS procurement community?
  2. What are the issues and barriers that could potentially limit OCPO's ability to implement its strategic plan?
  3. What should be the key objectives of the OCPO strategic plan?
  4. How can OCPO use a data-driven approach to update its strategic plan regularly?

The Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center was asked to use a planned Office of the Chief Procurement Officer (OCPO) strategic offsite meeting to investigate current challenges within OCPO and to identify opportunities for improvement through recommendations and updates to OCPO's strategic plan. OCPO’s goals going into this study were to receive data to enable it to take the necessary next steps to accomplish successful out-year budget planning; implement any needed changes to programs, policies, and service delivery; and develop a repeatable and robust strategic plan development process.

In this report, the authors use a novel data-driven approach to identify key themes and objectives that will help OCPO update its strategic plan. The authors identify multiple strengths of OCPO staff and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) procurement community, as well as some issues and barriers that could potentially limit OCPO's ability to implement its strategic plan. The authors also present a framework for a repeatable process to enable OCPO to regularly update its strategic plan.

Key Findings

  • The following strengths of OCPO staff and the DHS procurement community were identified: (1) strong support for the mission and passion for each role within the department, (2) universal support for the intern and development program, (3) strong desire to learn additional skills and increase capabilities, (4) evidence of strong relationships built with stakeholders and customers, and (5) confidence that challenges discussed were solvable.
  • Some factors that could affect OCPO's ability to implement strategy include (1) challenges in communication, (2) unseized opportunities to engage and include all staff members during all stages of strategic planning, and (3) the limited use of strategic planning tools and processes.
  • Most federal agencies reviewed use a version of the balanced scorecard methodology to depict organizational performance and strategic planning.


  • OCPO should focus on five areas as it implements its revised strategy: workforce, communication and transparency, collaboration, resource allocation, and process improvement.
  • OCPO might also consider using the research results to drive the development of continued training, collaboration, and workforce initiatives.

This research was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Office of the Chief Procurement Officer and conducted in the Management, Technology, and Capabilities (MTC) Program of the RAND Homeland Security Research Division (HSRD).

This report is part of the RAND research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.