DOD Launches Open Data Project

Defense Digital Services has created a new web-based open data project it hopes will help increase transparency and provide “a tool the government can use to help solve its own problems.” The project, which is called THOR for Theater History of Operations Reports, is hosted on the website, and provides “a painstakingly cultivated database of historic aerial bombings from World War I through Vietnam,” according to the website. The project traces back to Lt. Col. Jenns Robertson, who in 2006 created an offline database to help him analyze operational data to prepare weekly theater reports for senior leadership more efficiently. Mary Lazzeri of the US Digital Service and USAF Maj. Aaron Capizzi manage the online version. THOR is “the largest compilation of releasable US air operations data in existence,” and its has already been used for “finding unexploded ordinance in Southeast Asia” and “analyzing Air Force combat tactics.” The THOR project is continuously updating the information it makes available, having added the datasets from the Vietnam and Korean wars on Dec. 16. It plans to release data from the Persian Gulf War soon as well. DDS also has plans to expand the project beyond THOR. “In the future we aim to upload data on defense logistics, personnel, facilities, research, and engineering,” the website says. “The $600 billion we spend every year in defense generates data on logistics, personnel, manufacturing, science, and technology that, if shared more broadly, can enable competition and innovation.”