Solving the Problems of Our Time

On his first day on the job President Barack Obama told his Senior Staff,

“Our commitment to openness means more than simply informing the American people about how decisions are made. It means recognizing that Government does not have all the answers, and that public officials need to draw on what citizens know. And that’s why, as of today, I’m directing members of my administration to find new ways of tapping the knowledge and experience of ordinary Americans—scientists and civil leaders, educators and entrepreneurs—because the way to solve the problems of our time, as a nation, is by involving the American people in shaping the policies that affect their lives.”

Knowing we don’t have all the answers, we’re changing the way we think about our work at the National Archives and Records Administration. We’re shifting our perspectives to reflect the fact that we do not have all the answers. The principles of open government – transparency, participation, and collaboration – help us draw on what citizens know.

Today, we release our updated Open Government Plan for 2012-2014. Looking back over the past two years, I’m proud of our accomplishments in strengthening open government in our agency and in our society. We set an ambitious path, accomplishing almost 70 tasks. Over the next two years our work will include:

  • Creating a new culture based on common values and restructuring the agency to better serve the American people;
  • Creating the critical conditions conducive for employee engagement, including launching an internal collaboration network for our staff;
  • Creating an innovative culture that utilizes new and emerging technology; and
  • Improving online access to our records and revising our strategy to digitize records to provide the online access you expect.

More than two years ago, I launched this blog on the same day we released our first Open Government Plan. It’s interesting for me to look back on that first post, “No Small Change,” and to read the comments from both inside and outside the agency expressing enthusiasm for the changes that were to come.

Are we on the right track? Have the changes impacted your work? Is the updated plan bold enough? Let me know what you think.


2 thoughts on “Solving the Problems of Our Time

  1. NARA’s response to the first ranked public input idea for a JFK assassination records declassification project is disappointing. Although NARA recognizes the high public interest in these records, the answer to the proposal is merely a restatement of the status quo since 1993. In 2004 CIA speeded up release of JFK Act postponements through 2010, which is a precedent for processing the remaining records now in time for the fiftieth anniversary in 2013. The interests of the United States would be best served by the maximum possible transparency on this topic at the time of the fiftieth anniversary.

  2. Hi.. are you even AWARE of the Shadow Govt.? I always have to wonder about people involved in the government who seem like nice people, but really naive. or is it that you just cant talk openly, so you would rather stay alive …keep your job? The only way we will ever see change, is if the entire government and system is completely abolished..,.wiped out…and a peoples basic government established with peace, planetary rescue…and NO FEDERAL RESERVE. We have Israeli Zionists running alot of things here. George Soros. here is a quote,“Destroying America will be the culmination of my life’s work.” Soros told “The Australian” .
    Then we have Rockefellers..HUGE problems.Rothschild. the Queen. (you do know she basically owns this place, right? and that she is German?) The Vatican. (did you know the Pope has the right to change laws here?) We have serious issues and they wont be fixed with more government.

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