The dashboard is set up for exploration and queries. There are several filters on the right of the dashboard that allow users to create subsets of the data.
All data contained in "Foreign Travels of the Secretary of Defense" is drawn from unclassified, publicly available sources, mainly the published volumes of the Public Statements of the Secretaries of Defense. From the beginning of the Obama administration on, data was drawn from public statements and readouts released by the Public Affairs Office of the Office of the Secretary of Defense on www.defense.gov. In some cases the data was augmented with reporting from nationally prominent newspapers.
The dataset, which will be updated with new entries annually, is purely historical and does not contain the most recent travels, or scheduled travels that have not yet occurred.
The dataset was compiled by the Historical Office of the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2018-2019. The dashboards were created by the Historical Office using Tableau. No DoD endorsement of Tableau is intended or implied.
For the sake of simplicity, the names and borders of several former nations have been slightly adjusted. Where a nation no longer exists, the visit has been mapped to the nation that currently contains the city visited. This includes Czechoslovakia (mapped to Czechia), the USSR (mapped to Russia), and Yugoslavia (mapped to Serbia). However, while these terms share space on the map, they are listed separately in the data and can be included or excluded using the filters.
The map does not account for the Cold War division between East and West Germany or between North and South Vietnam (there were no secretary of defense visits to the communist-controlled portions of these nations). The map and the data present Formosa as Taiwan and the Republic of Korea as South Korea.