Archive for August, 2012

Releasing All We Can, Protecting What We Must

Written on: August 30, 2012 | 2 Comments

The Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) of the National Archives is responsible to the President of the United States for policy and oversight of the Government-wide security classification system. An open society in which the American public is informed and holds our government accountable is a defining factor of our democracy. Our ability to share information must be balanced by the need to hold certain information in confidence for periods of time to protect from harm our citizens, our democratic institutions, and our participation in the community of nations. ISOO ensures the development and application of policies which balance the disclosure, sharing, and protection of information related to national security.

President Obama issued Executive Order 13526 in December of 2009 calling for the first ever comprehensive Fundamental Classification Guidance Review (FCGR) of classification guidance across the Executive Branch of the government. These reviews are conducted to ensure that classification guidance reflects current circumstances as to what needs to remain classified and to identify classified information that no longer needs protection and can be declassified.

The first FCGR has now been completed and the agency reviews summarizing their reviews are available at Altogether, 3,103 classification guides were reviewed and 869 were either cancelled or consolidated.

This review is an investment in the future health of the classification system. It provides a means for Agency … [ Read all ]

Records Management with a Backbone

Written on: August 24, 2012 | 3 Comments

In his Memorandum on Managing Government Records,  President Obama stated “…proper records management is the backbone of open Government.”  The Memorandum began an executive branch wide effort to reform records management policies and practices and required each agency to:

  • identify a senior official responsible for records
  • provide plans for improving or maintaining its records management program, especially electronic records; and
  • suggest obstacles to sound, cost effective management policies and practices

Finally, the Memorandum mandates that the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and I issue a Records Management Directive which focuses on:

  • creating a Government wide records management framework that is more efficient and cost effective
  • promoting records management policies and practices that enhance the capability of agencies to fulfill their statutory missions
  • maintaining accountability through documentation of agency actions
  • increasing open Government and appropriate access to Government records
  • supporting agency compliance with applicable legal requirements related to the preservation of information relevant to litigation; and
  • transitioning from paper-based records management to electronic records management where feasible.

I am pleased to report that this morning Jeffrey Zients, Acting Director of OMB and I issued the Managing Government Records Directive.  With lots of hard work on the part of National Archives and Records Administration, White House, Federal agency staffs and stakeholder groups, the directive charts new directions for the management of the … [ Read all ]

Capturing Living Memory

Written on: August 24, 2012 | 0 Comments

Colleen Wallace Nungari’s painting, Dreamtime Sisters, was selected as the “brand” for the International Council on Archives Congress which closes today in Brisbane, Australia. More than 1,000 archivists from 95 countries gathered to dream about the future around the theme, “A Climate of Change.”











Dreamtime Sisters, by Colleen Wallace Nungari


I was particularly struck by the theme of Nungari’s artwork and the relationship to the week’s deliberations. Dreamtime, in Aboriginal culture, described the period before living memory when the earth and all living things were created by Spirits from above and below. Dreamtime stories embody the culture and customs passed down and celebrated to this day.

Against that backdrop, as the group gathered for the opening session where I was invited to speak about social media, I encouraged them keep that image in mind as we deliberated on the state of the art of preserving today’s and tomorrow’s “living memory.” Honor the past as we create the future.

Read the full text of my address at the International Council on Archives Congress in Brisbane, Australia.… [ Read all ]