Press/Journalists
Press Release
February 4, 2002
President's Budget to Advance National Archives and Records Administration Initiatives

College Park, MD. . . .President George W. Bush has proposed a Fiscal Year 2003 budget that would enable the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to take the next steps to build the electronic records archives of the future and advance initiatives under NARA's Strategic Plan.

The President's budget request includes a $4.5 million increase for NARA's Electronic Records Archives, the program through which NARA is developing solutions for preserving and providing access to the records of the Federal Government in the digital age. Together with the more than $16 million in three-year funds approved by the Congress for FY 2002, this request would push the Electronic Records Archives program forward along several fronts.

"I am pleased that the President continues to support NARA as we work to address the tremendous challenges posed by the myriad types and vast quantities of electronic records now being created by the Government," said Archivist of the United States John W. Carlin. "While extending our electronic records research efforts, these resources also will allow us to emphasize progressive deployments of applications that result from that research and begin the project and acquisition planning activities needed to build the actual Electronic Records Archives system."

NARA, along with the National Science Foundation and many other partners in support of the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure, has been in research and development to build an Electronic Records Archives that can preserve any kind of electronic records, free it from the format in which it was created, retain it indefinitely, and enable requesters to read it on computer systems now and in the future. The system is being designed to be scalable so that it can expand as the Government's volume of electronic records grows and so that it can be sized to meet the needs of smaller archives and private institutions at the state and local level.

The President's budget also includes $655,000 to help NARA bridge the gap in preserving and making accessible electronic records until the Electronic Records Archives is operational. The increasing volume and complexity of the electronic records Federal agencies now need to transfer to NARA continues to threaten to overwhelm the capabilities and capacity of our current systems. These funds will allow us to expand and upgrade our current electronic records systems.

For other strategic initiatives the President's request includes $1.5 million to help NARA and Federal agencies improve Federal records management by redesigning the way records are scheduled, appraised, and brought into the custody of the National Archives. Approving the disposition of records is the most important statutory responsibility of the Archivist of the United States because it determines how long records must be kept to protect individual rights, provide accountability in Government, and document the national experience. The ultimate outcome of a redesigned process is simple but crucial: records are kept long enough to protect rights, assure accountability, and document the national experience, and records are destroyed when they are no longer needed and it is practical to do so.

To ensure the public can find the records they seek, the President's budget includes $1 million to operate and maintain NARA's Archival Research Catalog, an online "card catalog" of descriptions of our nationwide holdings. The President's budget also includes $1.25 million for NARA to study options for the future storage, preservation, and access to the military personnel records now at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO. In addition, there is $3.25 million for NARA to assist the University of Texas with the repair of the leaking plaza at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, TX.

To ensure our facilities are safe for the public and staff, the President's request includes $2.9 million for additional security guards at NARA locations nationwide. The request also includes $823,000 to improve NARA's information technology security program.

Finally, the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) would receive $7 million as part of the homeland security effort. This request would allow ISOO to develop a training program at the state and local level for the proper use and handling of classified and sensitive but unclassified homeland security information for all officials with Top Secret security clearances and other officials who have access to sensitive information. ISOO also would take all the necessary steps to obtain Top Secret security clearances for appropriate state and local officials.

The President requested $5,000,000 for the grants program of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), which NARA administers.

The President's budget request to the Congress totals $279,391,000 in all accounts as follows:

Operating Expenses: $263,933,000
Facility Repairs and Restorations: $10,458,000
National Historical Publications and
Records Commission (grants):
$5,000,000

For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail. Visit the National Archives Home Page on the World Wide Web at http://www.archives.gov/.

02-31

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