Release of 2014 SAO Report Summary

We are pleased to announce we have completed a review of the 2014 Senior Agency Official (SAO) Reports. The results have been issued in a Summary Report available here (.pdf). These reports cover activities in agencies during calendar year 2014.

Acting Chief Records Officer for the U.S. Government, Laurence Brewer, said “The report provides important information on the progress agencies are making in meeting the targets of the Managing Government Records Directive. In particular, two of the pivotal targets, managing all agency email in electronic format by the end of 2016 and managing all permanent electronic records in an electronic format by the end of 2019, are important features in this year’s report.  Senior Agency Officials are reporting they are making progress towards those targets.”

The analysis of the 2014 SAO Reports showed that:

  • An overwhelming majority of SAOs (93%) reported they would meet the email target by the due date of the end of 2016
  • SAOs (87%) reported they are exploring ways to manage permanent electronic records in an electronic format by the end of 2019
  • A number of agencies are exploring the Capstone Approach for managing email
  • Agencies are addressing records management training. The vast majority of agencies reported making substantial progress in implementing records management training methods for all staff. Further, many agency records officers have already obtained NARA’s Certificate of Federal Records Management Training
  • Agencies are seeking assistance from NARA regarding how to successfully implement the Directive. In particular, smaller agencies cite limited resources and personnel as challenges they face in successfully meeting electronic records requirements
  • Agencies are using commercially available software products. Many software products were mentioned, and agencies indicate they are using existing, commercial products instead of developing their own.

Several weeks ago, we sent agencies information about the current 2015 reporting cycle. Agencies have until January 29, 2016 to submit their information.

If you have any questions about the SAO reporting process, please leave a comment or contact

Posted in Presidential Memorandum | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Chief Records Officer Position Posted

We wanted to alert the records management community that the Chief Records Officer (CRO) position has been posted on USA Jobs. From the position description: “The CRO leads records management throughout the Federal Government, with an emphasis on electronic records, and assesses the effectiveness of Federal records management policies and programs.”

The position is open until Tuesday, December 22. Please spread far and wide as we search for a new CRO!

Posted in General | Tagged | 1 Comment

RMSA 2014 released

We are pleased to announce that the 2014 Records Management-Self Assessment (RMSA) report is now available from our website (.pdf).

Acting Chief Records Officer for the U.S. Government Laurence Brewer said, “This is our sixth 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.”

Some highlights from 2014 data include:

  • Forty-one percent of agencies made improvements to their records management programs and increased their RMSA score.
  • RMSA findings and recommendations are consistent with the goals and requirements of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and NARA Managing Government Records Directive (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 persist.
  • Agencies have policies and procedures in place for email, but there is little or no auditing for compliance.
  • A majority of agencies are planning to implement the Capstone approach for managing their email.

NARA uses this annual self-assessment 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 annual self-assessment to identify strong and weak areas of their records management programs and determine the impact of changes they have made since the previous self-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 on the blog or send an email to

Posted in General | Tagged ,

Expiration Date Bulletin Released

We have released NARA Bulletin 2016-01: Guidance on NARA Bulletin Expiration Dates. This administrative bulletin announces a change to our policy regarding the expiration date of bulletins.

Every bulletin used to have an expiration date of three years. We would regularly review the bulletins to determine whether the policies were still relevant, accurate, and useful. Then, we would issue an annual bulletin stating which ones were still in effect. This caused confusion regarding the status of our bulletins.

Now, our bulletins will no longer have specific expiration dates, unless there is a valid reason based on the content. Bulletins will say “Expires when revoked or superseded.”

We have updated the expiration date on all bulletins that are still in effect to reflect this new policy. These changes can be seen on our bulletins page. Several bulletins had been superseded and we have moved those to the Past NARA Bulletins section of our website. We will continue to regularly review bulletins to ensure their accuracy and usefulness.

Posted in General | Tagged ,

Open Government National Action Plan 3.0

The White HoScreen Shot of the Cover of the Third Open Government National Action Planuse announced the release of the Third Open Government National Action Plan for the United States of America  earlier this week. The release of the Plan was timed to coincide with the Open Government Partnership (OGP) global summit taking place in Mexico City. You may recall that earlier this year, a call went out for public input to the plan.

This National Action Plan (NAP) has more than 40 new or expanded initiatives to advance open government across federal agencies, including the National Archives. As in the previous two action plans, the critical role records management plays in support of open government is highlighted.

The NAP includes three targets specific to records management and consistent with the ongoing work our office is doing to support the implementation of the Managing Government Records Directive. These are: creating a public dataset of government officials emails scheduled for permanent retention under a Capstone approach, the ongoing reporting of progress being made by agencies towards the Directive’s 2016 email target, and holding a public meeting to solicit feedback for improving our Records Control Schedule repository.

Stay tuned as we continue to report our progress on these three important goals and all of our work to modernize the management of federal records. Please review this post by the Archivist for more information about these commitments and the others for the National Archives.

Posted in General | Tagged ,

Annual RM Reporting Period

The annual records management reporting period will soon be open. This year’s reporting period will be from November 16, 2015 to January 29, 2016. Agencies will be receiving additional communications with full details and instructions from our office.

This year, we will ask agencies to report on the following:

1. Records Management Self-Assessment (RMSA): The survey tool information for the RMSA will be sent to Agency Records Officers prior to the beginning of the reporting period. Agencies will have access to an individualized report of their results after completing the survey. We will prepare and publish a report later in FY 2016. Questions about the RMSA may be sent to

2. Senior Agency Official (SAO) for Records Management annual report: This report measures progress towards the goals or requirements in the Managing Government Records Directive and other related records management initiatives. SAOs will receive instructions and the template for the report prior to the beginning of the reporting period. SAOs are listed here. If agencies need to designate an SAO or make changes to this list, they may send a notification to .

Posted in Upcoming | Tagged , ,

New Video Resources for Federal Agency Users of ERA

We have posted two new video resources for federal agency users of NARA’s Electronic Records Archives (ERA).

ERA Boot Camp Videos

A two-part video of the ERA Boot Camp workshop held in January 2015 is available on NARA’s YouTube channel. Part 1 relates to Scheduling in ERA and Part 2 covers Transferring in ERA. Please see the ERA Online Training page for further information and a link to the videos at

ERA Video FAQs

Ten new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) videos are now available. These short videos answer ten of the most frequently asked questions by ERA users. Five of the videos focus on scheduling-related questions and five focus on transfer-related questions. Please see the ERA Video FAQs page for further information and links to each of the videos on NARA’s YouTube channel at

Links to these resources may also be found on the main ERA web page at

Posted in ERA | Tagged ,

Hurricane Joaquin Threatens East Coast

In advance of Hurricane Joaquin we remind Agency Records Officers that NARA posts records emergency information and other useful guidance in order for them to pass along this information to other agency personnel.

For advice and assistance on preparing before the Hurricane and records recovery operations after the end of the storm, please refer to the preservation section of our website. Here, you will find a section on preparation, and several sections about records recovery processes.

Depending on the damage caused by the Hurricane, it may be necessary for your agency to implement a records recovery operation. Water damage will likely be the major records recovery issue. The web page also includes a template (.pdf) for contracting for records recovery services and a list of records recovery vendors. This list of vendors is provided by NARA for informational purposes. Inclusion on the list should not be viewed as an endorsement of the quality of the vendor’s services.

NARA staff members are available to provide additional information and guidance.

For advice on records recovery issues, please contact the Preservation Programs Division at Preservation staff monitors the email address and will respond accordingly.

For advice and assistance on other records management issues arising from the storm, including to report on the emergency destruction of records under 36 CFR1229.10 or the loss of records under 36 CFR1230.14, please contact the appraisal archivist assigned to your agency. Please see this list of agency staff assignments and points of contact.

For advice and assistance on issues concerning classified national security information, please contact John P. Fitzpatrick of the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) on 202-357-5205 or via email at

Posted in Records Disaster Preparedness, Regional | Tagged

Capstone GRS Published

We are happy to announce the publication of GRS Transmittal 25 (.pdf), which issues GRS 6.1, Email Managed Under a Capstone Approach. The transmittal only adds new chapter GRS 6.1; all schedules in Transmittal 24 are still current and active.

GRS 6.1 is available only to agencies implementing a Capstone approach to managing email. Agencies choosing to use this GRS must submit a verification form (Form NA-1005) prior to implementation and must disseminate the schedule within 6 months. The form and other information about the GRS is available from this page. Keep in mind some browsers do not support viewing of PDF documents. For best results, it is recommend that Firefox or Internet Explorer be used to open the form, or that the form be downloaded directly from the page.

We will release an online training module on how to fill out the verification form on October 13, 2015. The time between release of this Transmittal and release of this training will ensure that agencies have adequate time to review the GRS, its affiliated FAQ, and the verification form prior to the training. Agency Records Officers should also begin discussing the transmittal of GRS 6.1 with the appropriate agency stakeholders, including the Senior Agency Official (SAO) for Records Management, General Counsel, and Chief Information Officer. The NARA training is not mandatory, but encouraged.  Agencies may begin completing the verification form at any time.

Additional questions to those already included in the FAQ document released with the transmittal:

  1. What does this transmittal provide Federal agencies?

GRS Transmittal 25 publishes GRS 6.1, Email Managed Under a Capstone Approach. GRS 6.1 gives disposition authority for email accounts at agencies adopting a Capstone approach to managing their email. It does not provide disposition authority for other email records management strategies. Agencies may not use GRS 6.1 until the completion and approval of NA-1005, Verification for Implementing GRS 6.1, Email Managed Under a Capstone Approach.

Agencies implementing a Capstone approach must adhere to the definitions provided in this GRS, including the definition of Capstone officials. If an agency cannot adhere to the definitions in the Capstone GRS, the agency must submit an agency-specific schedule.

  1. Why was GRS 6.1 developed?

Acknowledging that the majority of Federal agencies have an interest in adopting a Capstone approach to managing their email, NARA has developed this GRS to provide disposition authority.

The goal of this GRS is to help Federal agencies meet various electronic records management requirements and allow agencies to focus on implementation and the management of their email rather than the process of seeking disposition authority from NARA. For NARA, from a government-wide perspective, this GRS supports NARA’s oversight responsibilities by reducing subjectivity and increasing consistency in the determination of Capstone officials. This GRS establishes a baseline understanding of roles and disposition of email across the government and will reduce the risk of improper implementation.

  1. Where can I learn more information about the Capstone Approach?

Additional information on the general Capstone Approach may be found in Bulletin 2013-02, Guidance on a New Approach to Managing Email Records and in NARA’s White Paper on The Capstone Approach and Capstone GRS .  Information on general email management and more specifics on the Capstone Approach, as well as associated implementation aspects, may also be found on NARA’s email management web page.

For more information, please see the GRS web page. If you have any questions about the GRS, please contact

Posted in Email Management 2.0 | Tagged ,