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We are pleased to announce we have completed a review of the 2013 SAO (Senior Agency Official for Records Management) Annual Reports. The results have been issued in an Executive Report available here (.pdf). The Managing Government Records Directive  issued in August 2012, requires all agencies to submit to NARA an annual report outlining their progress toward implementing the provisions of that guidance.

Chief Records Officer for the U.S. Government, Paul Wester, said “The Directive called for the establishment of an SAO for Records Management which was an important recognition that records and information management needs top management support to be successful. This inaugural report is an important baseline for Federal records management programs and will be a useful tool for agencies to learn from each other.”

Our office received 107 reports. Generally the reports revealed that agencies are:

  • Working toward managing all email in electronic format by the end of 2016,
  • Interested in the use of the Capstone approach for managing email,
  • Beginning to explore and develop ways to manage permanent electronic records in electronic format by the end of 2019,
  • Deploying cloud services for their email, administrative functions, and some mission-related activities,
  • Concerned about their budgets,
  • Also concerned about other challenges including information technology issues, staffing, training, lack of standards, and conflicting priorities
  • Requesting assistance from NARA including additional technical and policy guidance, site visits/consulting, and training.

If you have any questions about the SAO Annual Report process, please leave a comment or contact Lisa Haralampus, NARA Records Management Policy Team, at lisa.haralampus@nara.gov.



Earlier today, the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a memorandum to general counsels at all federal agencies. This memorandum lifts the litigation hold imposed in United States v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., Civil No. 99-CV-02496 (GK) (D.D.C.).

Because of this issue’s significance to the federal records management community, we are revising the agenda for next Wednesday’s Bi-monthly Records and Information Discussion Group (BRIDG) meeting. At this meeting, senior NARA officials and Allison Stanton, DOJ’s Director of E-Discovery, FOIA, and Records in the Civil Division, will discuss the records management implications of this memorandum.

In addition, David Weinberg, the Director of the Federal Records Centers Program (FRCP), will outline the next steps in lifting the tobacco litigation (TIL) freeze on records stored and serviced for customer agencies in the FRCP. David Weinberg said, “This is very significant moment for NARA, our customers, and the American taxpayers. Over the next few weeks, we will be developing a plan to move forward with all appropriate disposition actions.”

On Monday, we will be sending out the new agenda and reconfirming the logistics for the BRIDG meeting.



On November 26, 2014, President Barack Obama signed into law H.R. 1233, The Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendments of 2014. This law modernizes records management by focusing more directly on electronic records and complements our efforts to implement the President’s 2011 Memorandum on Managing Government Records. The law also represents the first significant changes to the Federal Records Act of 1950. The major points of this legislation are as follows:

  • Strengthening the Federal Records Act by expanding the definition of Federal records to clearly include electronic records.
  • Confirming that Federal electronic records will be transferred to the National Archives in electronic form.
  • Granting the Archivist of the United States final determination as to what constitutes a Federal record.
  • Authorizing the early transfer of permanent electronic Federal and Presidential records to the National Archives, while legal custody remains with the agency or the President.
  • Clarifying the responsibilities of Federal government officials when using non-government email systems.

Passage and enactment of this law marks a significant moment in the history of Federal Records Management. We are in the process of reviewing our existing regulations in light of these new provisions and will have much more to say about changes to our regulations and policies in the future.

For additional information, please see the press release that was issued yesterday. Stay tuned to the blog for further updates. Do not hesitate to leave a comment if you have a question and we will do our best to respond.

Upcoming ERA Boot Camp

by on November 19, 2014


We will host an Electronic Records Archives (ERA) Boot Camp January 14, 2015 at Archives 1. The ERA Boot Camp will consist of a morning and an afternoon session:

  • In the morning session, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM, participants will learn how to complete ERA records scheduling tasks.
  • In the afternoon session, 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM, participants will learn how to use ERA for permanent records transfer tasks.

The ERA Boot Camp will be presented by NARA staff experienced in the use of ERA for scheduling and transfer tasks. NARA staff will be available after the training sessions to answer agency-specific questions.

The ERA Boot Camp will be held at Archives I, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. The ERA Boot Camp is offered to federal agencies at no charge. Participants must complete the ERA online training and have an active ERA user account before enrolling in the boot camp. Agencies may enroll in either session or both through NARA’s Learning Management System (LMS).

Additional questions may be sent to ERAtraining@nara.gov.

Release of 2013 RMSA

by on November 13, 2014


We are pleased to announce that the 2013 Records Management-Self Assessment (RMSA) report is now available here.  Chief Records Officer for the U.S. Government Paul Wester said, “This is our fifth RMSA and we are very pleased to see real progress being made by agencies. We expect this improvement to continue, especially as agencies continue to work towards achieving the goals in the Managing Government Records Directive.”

Positive trends from this year’s report include:

  • This year, 52% of agencies made improvements to their records management programs and increased their RMSA score. This is the first time the number of agencies in low risk exceeds the number in the high risk.
  • Agency records management staff have increased the frequency of routine RM evaluations, inspections, and audits.
  • Many agency records management staff are participating in the design and development of electronic systems and are working collaboratively with other units on issues related to electronic records.
  • RMSA findings and recommendations are consistent with the goals and requirements of the Managing Government Records Directive (OMB M-12-18). We believe that improvement will continue as the requirements of the Directive are implemented and as NARA’s records management oversight activities continue.

We use the RMSA to determine whether Federal agencies are compliant with statutory and regulatory records management requirements, identify positive and negative trends, and areas where further guidance may be necessary. Federal agencies use the RMSA to identify strong and weak areas of their records management programs and the impact of changes they have made since the previous assessment. As a whole, the data can be used to improve records management practices within the Federal Government.

If you have any questions regarding the RMSA please feel free to leave a comment here or send an email to Casey Coleman, the RMSA project lead, at casey.coleman@nara.gov.

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