Today, the President issued a memorandum to heads of Executive Departments and Agencies on Managing Government Records. This marks the start of an executive branch-wide effort to reform records management policies and practices.
I strongly support this Presidential initiative, which sends a very clear message to Federal agencies about the importance of managing electronic records. Records management must keep up with the technologies used to create records in the Federal government, and the President’s Memorandum underlines the critical nature of this responsibility.
Each agency will be required to report to the Archivist the name of a senior agency official who will supervise an agency-wide evaluation of its records management programs. These evaluations, which are to be completed in 120 days, are to focus on electronic records, including email and social media, as well as those programs that may be deploying or developing cloud-based services.
The President’s memorandum also asks that the National Archives identify opportunities for reforms that would facilitate improved government-wide records management practices. We will begin immediately to coordinate discussions with Federal agencies, interagency groups, and external stakeholders.
My staff and I look forward to working with OMB, the Associate Attorney General, and all agencies to ensure that they comply with the new Memorandum and that we continue a government-wide effort to preserve permanent electronic records that eventually become part of the holdings of the National Archives.
I am delighted that this is a priority of this Administration, and appreciate that the President reiterated NARA’s philosophy that good records management is the backbone of open government. This memorandum will ensure that history in the making will be preserved and that citizens will be able to make independent judgments about the actions of the federal government based on the records themselves.
Read the President’s Memorandum at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/11/28/presidential-memorandum-managing-government-records. The National Archives National Records Management Program Blog, Records Express, will post more information on the requirements laid out in the President’s Memorandum later in the week.