February 2, 2004
President's 2005 Budget Supports National Archives Initiatives
College Park, MD. . . President George W. Bush today proposed a Fiscal Year 2005 budget that would enable the National Archives and Records Administration to continue the development of the Electronic Records Archives (ERA) and to make further progress toward achieving the goals of its Strategic Plan.
The total budget request of $312,041,000 for the National Archives includes $266,945,000 for operating expenses, $35,914,000 for the ERA program, $6,182,000 for repairs and restorations, and $3,000,000 for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
In commenting on the President's budget, Archivist of the United States John W. Carlin said, "I am pleased by the President's continued commitment to addressing the challenges of electronic records and supporting our overall mission. In his budget request to Congress, the President is seeking funding for the National Archives that would allow us to continue our important mission of providing ready access to essential evidence that documents the rights of American citizens, the actions of Federal officials, and the national experience which is vital to the functioning of our Government and our democracy."
To meet electronic records challenges, the proposed budget includes $22,000,000 plus base funding for the development stage of the ERA. This funding is for the initial development of the first increment of the system, scheduled to be operational in 2007, with four more increments in each of the following years scheduled.
In Fiscal Year 2004, the National Archives received $22,000,000 for the design stage. Bids for the design phase of the ERA are due in mid-February. In May, the Archives will award one or two design contracts. The contractors will have roughly a year to come up with a design for the ERA. If there are two design contractors, one company will be selected to build the ERA.
The ERA will preserve virtually any kind of electronic record, free from dependence on any specific hardware or software. The ERA system will also make it possible for Federal agencies to transfer any type or format of electronic record to NARA, and it will allow citizens to find records of interest and allow NARA to deliver those records to them in the formats they want.
The budget request also includes an additional $200,000 to give the Office of the Inspector General resources to audit the ERA program.
To allow the National Archives to comply with the Accountability of Tax Dollars Act of 2002, the request also includes an increase of $1,035,000 and five new positions. The act requires agencies to produce a comprehensive performance and accountability report along with audited financial statements within 45 days of the end of the fiscal year. The funding will also cover a contract audit of Archives' financial systems and reporting.
Finally, the President's budget request provides $9,019,000 for increases to base operating expenses, including funding for an employee pay raise of 1.5 percent, facility rate charges, rent charges, and increases for information technology rate increases, including ongoing applications support and data line charges for the Archives communications infrastructure.
For press information, contact the national Archives Public Affairs Staff at 301-837-1700.