On Tuesday, the White House announced the release of the third U.S. Open Government National Action Plan in conjunction with the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Global Summit taking place in Mexico City this week. In her opening remarks to the summit, Samantha Power, the US Ambassador to the United Nations discussed the status of the OGP and open government around the world and the importance of civil society engagement and critique in the OGP.
Several NARA staff members are participating in the OGP Global Summit this week and worked on the interagency development of the third NAP. The development included eight months of collaboration with Federal agencies and engagement with the public and civil society. NARA also hosted a public meeting on July 30, 2015, to engage the public in the development of third NAP.
The third U.S. Open Government National Action Plan (NAP) has more than 40 new or expanded initiatives to advance open government across federal agencies, including the National Archives. NARA’s commitments in the third NAP reflect our significant, ongoing work to strengthen open government. NARA’s commitments include:
Improve Management of Government Records
We will release a public dataset to increase transparency in the positions of government officials whose email will come to the National Archives for permanent preservation under the Capstone approach. We will introduce targeted questions regarding email management to agencies regarding their implementation of the Managing Government Records Directive and report on publicly on agencies’ progress, allowing stakeholders to track progress on agencies’ email management efforts. We will also seek feedback from civil society to improve NARA’s online repository of Records Control Schedules.
Modernize Implementation of the Freedom of Information Act
We will participate in a pilot program led by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to test the feasibility of posting FOIA-released records online so they are available to the public. NARA’s Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) and DOJ will also work to issue guidance and create best practices for agency FOIA web pages in order to encourage agencies to update their FOIA websites to be consistent, informative, and user-friendly. Additionally, we will work to increase the understanding of FOIA by developing tools to teach students about FOIA and develop resources that will be made available online.
Streamline the Declassification Process
NARA’s National Declassification Center (NDC) will implement a special systematic declassification review program for previously reviewed and exempted historical Federal records that were accessioned to the National Archives and reviewed prior to the creation of the NDC in 2010.
Implement the Controlled Unclassified Information Program
We will continue implementation of an open and unified program for managing unclassified information that requires safeguarding or dissemination control, known as Controlled Unclassified Information. We will issue implementation guidance, establish phased implementation schedules, publish an enhanced CUI Registry, and work with the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council to propose a FAR rule.
Develop a Machine Readable Government Organizational Chart
The National Archives’ Office of Federal Register will work with the General Services Administration to facilitate access to information about government agencies and better leverage the underlying data published in the United States Government Manual.
Increase the Impact of Open Innovation Activities
We will expand our Citizen Archivist activities to include citizen scanning of the Federal records in our new Innovation Hub. This offers an opportunity to further our engagement in the public and collaborate to make our records more accessible through these digitization efforts.
While these are NARA’s topline commitments, we will be involved in the work of many more NAP commitments and we will also continue our work in implementing our agency’s third Open Government Plan, which reflects commitments throughout the agency to strengthen transparency, participation, and collaboration.