Press/Journalists
Press Release
December 22, 2000
Budget Increase Approved for the National Archives and Records Administration

College Park, MD. . . The Congress has approved and President Clinton has signed appropriations legislation for Fiscal Year 2001 that gives the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) all of the budget increases requested by the President. "Everyone who uses records and cares about them owes the President and the Congress great thanks for this extraordinary support of NARA's mission," Archivist of the United States John Carlin said. "Republicans and Democrats both supported funding increases to enable us to continue the great progress we've been making toward the goals in our Strategic Plan."

The new funds for Fiscal Year 2001 will enable NARA to complete the renovation of the original National Archives Building in Washington, DC, and advance major initiatives to:

  • improve records management in the Federal Government

  • meet special challenges posed by electronic records

  • expand public access to records, and

  • preserve growing quantities of records.

For improving Government records management, the budget provides enough additional staff, on top of the last two years' staff increases, to extend throughout the country the "Targeted Assistance" NARA provides to Federal agencies with critical records-management needs. The new budget adds $992,000 for this effort, which already is much-appreciated by agencies, as indicated by officials who have written NARA, "Your Targeted Assistance Program definitely hit the mark," and, "The 'hands on' help provided by the Targeted Assistance Program was exactly what we needed."

For meeting electronic records challenges, the budget includes $902,000 to enable NARA to continue testing within itself new ways of managing electronic records that may prove useful to Federal agencies generally, and to add high-level professionals to NARA's staff to assist with the development and implementation of an Electronic Records Archives (ERA). With base funding plus the new addition, NARA will continue working toward ERA within the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure. Through this partnership, the San Diego Supercomputer Center has produced prototype demonstrations for preserving large volumes of electronic records such as email messages in a relatively short time. NARA will continue research toward building an archives that can preserve any kind of electronic record indefinitely, free from dependence on any specific hardware or software, and enable customers to retrieve the electronic records they need on computer systems now in use and coming in the future.

The entire Federal Government has a stake in this investment in ERA and the payoff could extend well beyond the Federal Government. While the ERA we are planning should enable us to preserve and make available millions of electronic records created by the Federal Government, the technology promises to be useful as well to other Federal agencies in managing their electronic records. Also, the ERA will give increased reality to E-government and the technology promises to be useful to other kinds of archives, libraries, agencies, and businesses regardless of size.

For expanding public access to records, the budget includes an increase of $14,516,000 for the following initiatives:

  • improving reference services needed by America's veterans by enabling NARA to continue implementing new processes it has developed for meeting veterans' requests at NARA's National Military Personnel Records Center.

  • enhancing NARA's online offerings to customers nationwide by enabling NARA to redesign its web site and add staff for improving and developing web content

  • upgrading NARA's communications infrastructure by replacing obsolete components in its computer infrastructure, and acquiring a new phone system to improve service for customers and staff nationwide

  • declassifying more records and reviewing more agency classification programs by increasing the staff of the Nazi War Criminal Records Interagency Working Group, which NARA chairs, and NARA's Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO)

  • adding staff to take custody of and start processing records of the Clinton Administration when it leaves office, so that NARA can begin to open records and make them searchable in compliance with the Presidential Records Act.

For meeting environmental and preservation needs of growing quantities of records, the budget includes an increase of $15,338,000 to make NARA's facilities more secure, move Administration records into temporary quarters in Little Rock in preparation for the Clinton Presidential Library, and ensure the survival of veterans' records in jeopardy in NARA's National Military Personnel Records Center. Funding also is included for work on the Ford and Kennedy libraries in NARA's Presidential library system, and a new archives for NARA's Southeast Region.

The major increase in the budget is $88,000,000 for the renovation of the original National Archives Building, now nearly two-thirds of a century old. The work will include correcting mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire safety deficiencies; retrofitting the Rotunda to display America's Charters of Freedom (the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights) in new encasements currently under preparation; bringing the building into full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act; upgrading storage conditions to meet modern archival standards; and providing sufficient exhibit and public-use space to accommodate increasing numbers of visitors.

The budget totals $316,918,000 in all accounts. Here is a comparative breakdown for each account:

FY 2000 enacted FY 2001 enacted
Operating Expenses: $179,674,000 $208,946,000
Facility Repairs and Restorations: $22,296,000 $101,536,000
National Historical Publications and
Records Commission (grants):
$6,250,000 $6,436,000

The increase in the account for Facility Repairs and Restorations is large because the FY 2001 budget includes the $88,000,000 for renovating the National Archives Building and $6.6 million for repairs at the Kennedy Library. Funds for the NHPRC, NARA's grant-making affiliate, includes $450,000 for one-time, directed grants with funding for the competitive grant program remaining the same as FY 2000.

The Congress and the Administration clearly recognize the importance of our services and our ability to deliver," Archivist Carlin said. "We are grateful and truly excited to be able to take major additional steps in carrying out our mission to ensure ready access to essential evidence, documenting the rights and entitlements of citizens, the actions for which Federal officials are accountable, and the nation's historical experience."

For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail.

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