Letter to William McKinley offering to raise a troop of 50 lady sharpshooters to fight the Spanish American War. They would provide their own rifles and ammunition. Unfortunately, women were not allowed to serve at that point in our history.
Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category
Last night the Young Founder’s Society (YFS) hosted a reception in the Gold Room of the Rayburn House Office Building. The YFS is a membership group for young professionals in the Washington, DC, area who are committed to the work of the Foundation for the National Archives to increase awareness of the cultural and historical value of the National Archives.
While the event was part of the YFS’s membership drive, it was an opportunity for me to thank the attendees for their service to the nation and to single out the members of our oversight and appropriations committees for special thanks. In my 14 hearing appearances to date (but, who’s counting?!) I have been impressed with the knowledge, expertise, and passion which these people bring to their job.
Many of the attendees have visited the National Archives with their Senator or Representative and to a person have left here inspired by the history they have relived through the original records. To simulate that experience last night several dozen facsimiles were around the room—the 1868 treasury note for $7.2m with which purchased Alaska, the First Continental Congress’ Agreement of Secrecy signed in 1775 to protect the Founders, the bus diagram showing where Civil Rights icon Rosa Parks was seated on that fateful day, and my letter to President Eisenhower asking for … [ Read all ]
The Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), established in 1978, is responsible to the President for overseeing the Government-wide security classification program, and receives policy and program guidance from the National Security Council. ISOO has been part of the National Archives and Records Administration since 1995. You can learn more about ISOO at www.archives.gov/isoo
The 34th Annual Report to the President covering 2013 was released earlier this month.
Several positive developments are noted in this report:
- The number of persons granted original classification authority continues to decrease and is at its lowest recorded level, standing at 2,269.
- Agencies reported a 20% reduction in original classification activity
- ISOO conducted on-site reviews of five agency declassification programs with all agencies receiving a passing score.
Other report highlights:
- Agencies reported 58,794 original classification decisions
- Executive Branch agencies reported 80,124,389 derivative classification decisions
- Under automatic, systematic, and discretionary declassification review, agencies reviewed 56,332,029 pages and declassified 27,524,342 pages of historically valuable records.
I am proud of the work of our ISOO staff and encourage you to become familiar with this important function here at the National Archives.… [ Read all ]
I’m loving Joseph McCormack’s new book, Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less. The focus is on lean communication. McCormack terms it Six Sigma for your mouth! “In our attention deficit economy, being brief is what’s desperately needed and rarely delivered.”
People speak at about 150 words per minute, but we have the mental capacity to deal with 750 words per minute. That leaves a space of 600 words where we drift—think other thoughts, take a mini-vacation, lose focus, etc.
Military Photographer of the Year Winner 1997. Title: Thoughts Elsewhere.
Major Kurt Tek daydreams while coming home from a deployment, 01/01/1997. National Archives Identifier 6498091
McCormack’s tips for clear, concise, and compelling oral presentations are simple: map it, tell it, talk it, and show it. Outline your remarks—background, relevance, information to impart, conclusion, and follow-up anticipating expected questions. Use narrative storytelling to deliver the message. Use a controlled conversation rather than a monologue. And use visuals to increase engagement. Most importantly, stop talking and give people a chance to process. “The mind is a processor, and if you keep hitting the send button, the effect can be maddening and futile.”
I was especially taken with his advice on avoiding TL/DR (too long, didn’t read) on email messages:
- Make it Inviting—a strong subject line
- Limit to One Screen
- Embrace the White Space—instead of 8-10 sentence
I recently attended the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ public hearing on broadband access, hosted at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, DC. I was joined by colleagues from Federal agencies, universities, museums and libraries to examine the need for high speed broadband access in America’s libraries, and how this access is essential in meeting the educational, cultural, and information needs of all citizens.
As the leader of an agency dedicated to providing access to the permanent records of the federal government, I support this initiative to increase broadband access. Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, spoke eloquently of his own experience in using archival records and the value of electronic access to those records. Broadband access is the crucial piece in this equation; we need to ensure that our holdings and content can reach the eyes of many more people in order to truly make access happen.
The Managing Government Records Directive (OMB M12-18) charges the National Archives and Records Administration to lead the efforts to modernize records management in the Federal Government.
The Directive focuses on two main goals:
- agencies will require electronic recordkeeping by managing all their email in an accessible electronic format by the end of 2016 and managing all their permanent records as electronic records by the end of 2019.
- agencies must demonstrate compliance with all records management laws and regulations.
I talked about the importance of the Directive in a post when it was issued in 2012. Since then, we passed several milestones. Agencies have identified Senior Agency Officials to lead records management in their programs and I have met with them to discuss the challenge and collaborate on solutions. And they have reported on their progress.
Staff members Meg Phillips, Don Rosen, and Chief Records Officer Paul Wester mingle with vendors at “The Managing Government Records Directive: A Grand Challenge for Industry” event in September 2013.
In September, we hosted a successful industry day for the Federal information management community and vendors with automated electronic records management solutions and services. It was an opportunity to meet and discuss the solutions and tools needed to meet the goals of the Directive.
Our fourth strategic goal, our most important goal, focuses on the real treasures of the National Archives–our staff.
Photograph of Female Statue, The Future, Located near the Pennsylvania Avenue Entrance to the National Archives Building, 06/30/1936. National Archives ID: 7657960
This goal highlights our commitment to provide our staff with the training, tools and opportunities necessary for the transition into a digital environment. We intend to support staff through creating a culture of empowerment, openness and inclusion through both our processes and new technology. And we want to ensure that we have a diverse workforce, equipped with the skills necessary to fulfill our mission.
The goal of “Building Our Future Through Our People” includes several initiatives. We plan to:
- Foster an employee development culture to promote learning and leadership by all.
- Cultivate a robust, well-connected internal communications environment to support informed action at all levels.
- Implement innovative practices and tools to recruit, sustain, and retain a 21st century workforce.
- Create new career paths for NARA employees to ensure that we have the necessary competencies and skills in a digital environment.
As you can see from the initiatives, we take our commitment to the staff of the National Archives very seriously. It is only by providing a supportive environment for our staff that any of our goals may be achieved.
This is the final post … [ Read all ]
Commencement Season is fast approaching and I am honored to have been selected to deliver the address at North Carolina State University in May. I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember who my commencement speaker was or what he or she had to say!
During my years at MIT and Duke, Commencement was always a special day for me. It put into perspective all of the work during the previous year to ensure that students and faculty had the information resources and support they needed in their coursework and research—a morning to celebrate the launch of another class of educated men and women.
So, I am taking this assignment seriously. I will certainly be taking FDR’s advice to heart—“Be sincere, be brief, be seated.”
But I need your help. What advice would you give this graduating class? What special message would you deliver to undergraduates? Graduate students? Parents and other family members? Faculty and staff of the university? Send me your ideas!
From Photographs Taken Aboard the Ocean Survey Vessel (OSV) Bold, National Archives Identifier 5998403
Over the past eighteen months, the staff and I at the National Archives have been working diligently to develop our next Strategic Plan. Many meetings, long conversations, Town Halls, thoughtful emails, and loads of feedback from staff and stakeholders have gone into the refinement of the strategy that will be the roadmap for our Agency through 2018. Along the way, I have encouraged staff to stretch their vision and to be bold.
Our Plan has four goals:
Make Access Happen: Increasingly this means digital, online access.
Connect with Customers: Wherever they are, however they want it.
Maximize NARA’s Value to the Nation: Through the use and reuse of our digital content.
Build Our Future through Our People: The most important goal of all.
In the video below, Jennifer Pahlka, U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer, invites you to make a difference and serve your country by applying to become a Presidential Innovation Fellow. This is the third round of the Presidential Innovation Fellows. Projects from the first two rounds included: making government data more openly available, programs to assist Veterans, streamlining processes for citizens to find information and government services, and projects to assist American businesses. You can find out more about these first and second round projects on the Innovation Fellows website.
We are excited that this is the first time a National Archives project is featured! For our project, “Crowdsourcing Tools to Unlock Government Records,” innovators will lead the open development of crowdsourcing tools for the public to easily contribute to government records at the National Archives and improve the effectiveness of crowdsourcing across the government.
Presidential Innovation Fellows will build upon our crowdsourcing efforts, which have included the Citizen Archivist Dashboard, transcription projects, scan-a-thons, and collaboration with Wikipedia, to usher in a new generation of open development of crowdsourcing tools.
Do you want to make a difference in government? Apply today!