Office of the Inspector General (OIG)

The Strategic Plan of the Office of the Inspector General
2002 - 2007

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Foreword

I am pleased to present the NARA-OIG's revised strategic plan. This plan builds on our past accomplishments and establishes new directions for assisting NARA in meeting its mission of "Ensuring, for the citizen and the public servant, for the President and for the Congress, and the Courts, ready access to essential evidence." It charts our course through 2007 and demonstrates our commitment to lead by example.

Our new directions include:

  • performing program evaluations to provide Congress and the Agency with best practices, analyses, and recommendations to address the most serious management challenges, accomplish NARA objectives, and achieve Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) goals;

  • partnering with others, including NARA management, other Federal and State auditors, evaluators, law enforcement officials, and associations to leverage our resources to attain maximum benefits with available resources

  • implementing human resource and knowledge management strategies that will ensure we have a diverse, highly motivated and accountable staff with the skill sets and tools needed to perform increasingly complex work

Our employees, customers, stakeholders, and partners all play critical roles in the achievement of our goals. They provided valuable insights and assistance in developing this strategic plan. We look forward to continuing to work together to achieve our mutual goal of ensuring ready access to NARA records.



Paul Brachfeld

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Introduction

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is a public trust on which our government and our citizens depend. It is the custodian of millions of cubic feet of historically significant and permanently valuable federal records and "temporary" federal records that are created daily by the federal government and the courts. American citizens depend on NARA to not only preserve these records but also to make them readily accessible for research and study.

In 1997, NARA published its initial Strategic Plan (revised in 2000) describing how the agency would utilize improved business processes and the latest technology to facilitate identifying, scheduling, preserving, and accessing records. These new processes and technologies will make it easier for American citizens and National Archives staff to search and locate historical documents needed for research and study.

In 1998, the NARA Office of Inspector General (OIG) published our initial strategic plan for the period of 1998 through 2003. The genesis of the initial strategic plan was the National Performance Review (NPR) and the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993. NPR called for Federal Inspectors General (IGs) to take a number of actions to improve their ability to help foster better government. The NPR recommended, in part, that the IGs: (a) shift their strategic focus from conducting compliance reviews to evaluating management control systems; and (b) conduct their reviews in a more collaborative manner with line management.

GPRA also contains concepts of key significance for IGs. GPRA is intended to improve federal program effectiveness and public accountability, and help federal managers improve service delivery by requiring them to plan to meet program objectives and provide information on program results. This OIG'strategic plan establishes our public accountability in this process.

The OIG has identified four issues that have a material impact on NARA's ability to accomplish its mission. These four focal issues are NARA's ability to:

  1. Ensure that NARA Information Technology (IT) systems and applications are secure and in compliance with applicable guidance and regulations. Likewise, to ensure the integrity of the process for selecting, developing, implementing, and maintaining IT systems through sound, well-documented procedures, and robust contract and project oversight management processes.
  2. Utilize state-of-the-art technology to better review, document, search, preserve, and contain holdings within NARA's collection.
  3. Properly identify, schedule, process, and manage all federal records.
  4. Ensure that the reimbursable records center program operates in an effective and efficient manner to (a) capture and recover all operating costs, (b) effect timely and accurate billings, and (c) provide safe and affordable services that satisfy current customers and serve to attract new customers.

In our initial strategic plan, we adopted a goal of striving for continuous self-improvement and a mission of supporting NARA in its mission of providing ready access to essential evidence. We noted our belief that the OIG, as a group, possessed a wealth of investigative, legal, and auditing skills. However, since the initial strategic plan was crafted we noted the need to further develop our staff expertise in the IT field. To address this requirement we have modified the staffing of this office and invested in additional IT hardware and software to support the operations of this office. Likewise, we continue to recognize that if we want to make a difference, we must assess the kinds of additional skills needed to meet our goals and then focus our efforts on acquiring those skills. One example of this commitment is the establishment of a dedicated contract audit presence within the OIG. We will enhance our knowledge of NARA programs by inviting staff archivists and other persons who can provide us with constructive information to speak at our staff meetings. We will keep pace with changing technology through classroom training, and keep abreast of OIG best practices through participation in peer reviews and active involvement in professional organizations. Additionally, we will work hard to recruit and retain staff who share our commitment.

In this updated strategic plan for the period 2002 through 2007, we will specifically define what types of support we can offer to NARA. We have defined a mission, five goals, strategies for achieving these goals, and performance measures to gauge the amount of progress being made. We have also included a listing of quick turn around projects that, when completed, will provide NARA with tools needed for decision-making. Our listing of projects reflects the diversity of NARA's mission and the many areas in which we believe we can provide coverage and support to the agency and our customers.

Finally, we have established accountability for achieving our goals by linking OIG performance measures to the NARA outcomes. We look forward to the challenges ahead.

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Our Vision and Mission

Our Vision

We are agents of positive change striving for continuous improvement in our Agency's management and program operations and in our own office.

Our Mission

Inspector General Act Requirements:

  • Conduct and supervise independent and objective audits, evaluations, and investigations relating to agency programs and operations.
  • Promote economy, effectiveness, and efficiency within the agency.
  • Prevent and detect fraud, waste, and abuse in agency programs and operations.
  • Review and make recommendations regarding existing and proposed legislation and regulations relating to agency programs and operations.

The OIG in NARA: Background, Role, and Authority

Congress passed the Inspector General Act of 1978 (Public Law 95-452) establishing Offices of Inspector General within 12 Federal Agencies. In 1988 the Act was revised to incorporate other Federal agencies including the National Archives and Records Administration.

The major way IGs are different from other Federal offices is their independence.

The authors of the Inspector General Act recognized that Inspectors General, to be effective, would need both an unusual degree of independence and a close working relationship with their Agency heads. Accomplishing our mission and goals requires that we carefully maintain our independence while assisting the Agency in improving its management and program operations. Inspectors General are authorized to:

  • Initiate and carry out independent and objective audits, evaluations, and investigations;
  • Issue subpoenas for information and documents;
  • Have direct access to all records and information of the Agency;
  • Have ready access to the agency head;
  • Report serious or flagrant problems to Congress;
  • Hire and control their own staffs;
  • Contract for resources, services, and expert advice;
  • Administer oaths for taking testimony; and,
  • Request assistance from any Federal, State, or local government

Appointment of the Inspector General

The Inspector General of NARA is hired by the Archivist of the United States based on his or her personal integrity and expertise in:

  • accounting, auditing, financial analysis;
  • law, management analysis, public administration; or
  • investigations.

The Archivist can remove the IG, with written notificationto both houses of Congress of the reasons for such removal.

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Our Leadership Philosophy and Values

Our leadership philosophies are:

  1. The OIG is an organization built on trust and personal empowerment.
  2. Each person is valued and contributes to our collective success.
  3. Leadership is everyone's responsibility.
  4. Responsibility and accountability for organizational success resides with each person.

Our individual values are:

  1. Personal Integrity. It is our most important asset.
  2. Personal Leadership. We are positive role models leading by example.
  3. Dignity, Respect, Fairness, Honesty, and Courtesy. We treat each other as customers.
  4. Honoring Commitments. We keep promises.
  5. Win-Win. We strive for mutually beneficial relationships and results.

Our operating system values are:

  1. One OIG. Teamwork within, among, and between staff leverages shared competencies.
  2. Open Communication. Information will be disseminated quickly and widely.
  3. Customer-Focused. We meet agreed-upon customer expectations.
  4. Results-Oriented. Our results are fast, accurate, complete, and plainly stated.
  5. Creative. We support and encourage innovation and responsible risk taking.
  6. Independence, Integrity, Professionalism. We bring these to the Agency.
  7. Continuous Learning and Improvement. These are foundational to high performance.
  8. Reward and Celebrate Success. Organizational and individual success is linked to values.

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OIG Goals, Products, Services and Customers/Stakeholders

OIG Hierarchy of Goals Starts with the End In Mind

NARA is charged with providing continuing access to essential evidence that documents the rights of American citizens, the actions of Federal officials, and the national experience. As a part of NARA, the OIG must support that mission. We believe our work can and should contribute to the accomplishment of the agency's mission. Therefore, we developed a hierarchy of interrelated strategic goals, each linked to outcome objectives, measures, and strategies committed to that end. These goals are both internally focused towards improving the OIG and externally focused towards improving NARA.

NARA's Goals

Work of the Office of Inspector General is designed to support and contribute to the achievement of the goals identified in the Agency's strategic plan. These goals are:

  1. Essential evidence will be created, identified, appropriately scheduled, and managed for as long as needed.
  2. Essential evidence will be easy to access regardless of it location or the location of users for as long as needed.
  3. All records will be maintained in an appropriate environment for use as long as needed.
  4. NARA's capabilities for making the changes necessary to realize our vision will continuously expand.

OIG Goals

  1. Ensure NARA's IT systems and applications are secure and in compliance with applicable laws.
  2. Ensure that the development and application of state-of-the-art technology enables NARA to better review, document, search, preserve, and contain holdings within NARA's collection.
  3. Enhance NARA's ability to properly identify, schedule, process, and manage federal records.
  4. Ensure that the reimbursable Records Center Program operates effectively and efficiently and meets customer needs.
  5. Ensure that physical security at all NARA facilities is adequate to protect NARA employees and safeguard Federal Records.

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OIG Products and Services - The Work We Do

1. Audits
  • Systems
  • Financial Statement
  • Contract
  • Assistance Agreements
  • Computer Security
  • Fact Finding
2. Program Audits and Evaluations
  • Process
  • Outcome
  • Impact
  • Cost-Benefit
3. Advisory and Analysis Services
  • Legislation and Regulation Review
  • GPRA Implementation
  • Control Assessment
  • Fraud Prevention
  • Policy/Directives
4. Investigations
  • Program Integrity
  • Contract and Procurement
  • Employee Integrity
  • Assistance Agreements
  • Hotline
  • Computer Forensics
  • Physical Security

Means to Implement Our Business Line Strategies:

1. Audits

Audits address the management and financial operations of NARA, the economy and efficiency with which NARA's programs and functions are managed, and the results achieved. The overall objective is to identify management and operational weaknesses and to recommend improvements in the management and operation of programs and activities.

Systems Audits review the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of operations by examining the Agency's leadership systems, its strategic planning, human resources development, customer focus, and process management. These reviews also focus on the integration of performance and financial information to manage and assess results, and determine the extent of compliance with applicable laws and regulations to improve the integrity and management of assets and resources.

Financial Statement Audits consist of audits of the Agency's financial systems and statements, to ensure that adequate controls are in place and the Agency's accounting information is accurate, reliable and useful, and complies with applicable laws and regulations. Our objective is to assist NARA in making improvements in the financial management processes and controls which will provide better information for decisions promoting the most cost-effective results.

Contract Audits determine the allowability, allocability, and reasonableness of costs claimed by contractors and assures that NARA pays only for what it requests and receives. They include audits of NARA contractors' indirect cost proposals and pre-award, interim, and final contract cost submissions. Our contract work also includes evaluating whether NARA's contracts are being awarded and administered in a manner that supports achievement of the agency's mission.

Assistance Agreements are objective analyses or studies of NARA operations or activities for the purpose of providing better information to management for decision-making, program improvement, or mission consideration. They include efforts aimed at providing management with responses to specific questions, or monitoring assistance on ongoing initiatives. Because consulting services are requested by management, the requesting official can define the project scope and place other limitations on the performance of the project.

Computer Security audits ensures that NARA has established an automated information security program that includes the appropriate controls as required by Federal legislation. Steps within these type audits are design to ensure that NARA (1) has issued policies, guidance, and standards pertaining to systems security which assures an acceptable level of security risk, and (2) is performing an oversight function of systems to assure security policies are followed and appropriate security measures are applied to systems.

Fact Finding is the service the OIG provides as the "honest broker" to answer specific questions or gather information at the request of the Agency, Congress, or other customers.

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2. Program Audits and Evaluations use sophisticated analytical tools, methodologies, and specialized skills, applied with a broad perspective,to determine the extent to which the desired results or benefits envisioned by the Administration and Congress are being achieved. They involve the systematic measurement and analysis of economic and other external outcomes, benefits, and results in relation to the application of resources and legislative and policy initiatives. They assist the Agency in implementing GPRA by selectively verifying and validating performance measures, data, and results. Four types of evaluations include:

  1. Process: Assesses the extent to which a program is operating as it was intended.
  2. Outcome: Assesses the extent to which a program achieves its outcome-oriented objectives.
  3. Impact: Assesses net effect of a program by comparing outcomes with the absence of the program.
  4. Cost-Benefit: Compares the program's outputs or outcomes with the costs to produce them.

3. Advisory and Analysis Services include a wide range of products and services designed to give managers information they need more expediently than audits, and to assist NARA management in assessing and/or implementing control systems and processes. They often focus on working with Agency managers to develop solutions to known problems or to design systems and controls to prevent problems in new programs and activities. These include:

  • Review and analysis of proposed and existing legislation, and regulations as well as proposed directives and policies and procedures;
  • Assessment of Agency implementation of GPRA and advice on improved planning, measurement, accountability, linkages, data quality, and reporting;
  • Review and assessment of internal, financial and management controls;
  • Fraud prevention awareness and techniques; and,
  • Review and comment upon NARA policy directives.

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4. Investigations focus on alleged fraud, waste, abuse, and other illegal activities by NARA employees, contractors, and grantees. Investigations may result in referrals for criminal prosecution and civil action, indictments, convictions, fines, restitutions, civil recoveries, suspensions, debarments, and other administrative actions. Investigations are also vital in identifying high-risk vulnerabilities, systemic weaknesses, improvements in programs and operations, savings, and economic benefits. Emphasis will continue on the initiatives to uncover criminal activity in NARA programs and in the award and delivery of NARA contracts. We will also continue to perform criminal investigations of intrusive activities affecting NARA's computer systems and will participate with other law enforcement agencies in the growing effort to protect government computer systems. Investigative research and expertise will also focus on identifying opportunities to implement the highest level of physical security for NARA employees, facilities and other locations which have Federal records.

Program Integrity Investigations focus on activities that could undermine the integrity of Agency programs, and erode public confidence in the Agency. These cases are initiated in response to allegations or self-initiated in high-risk areas where reasonable suspicion of fraud exists.

Contract and Procurement Investigations focus on acquisition management, contracts, and procurement practices. We specifically focus on cost mischarging, defective pricing, and collusion on NARA contracts. The decentralized nature, complexity, and the lack of a central vendor and subcontractor database increase the Agency's vulnerability to contract fraud.

Employee Integrity Investigations involve allegations against NARA employees that could threaten the credibility of the Agency. Employee integrity investigations are conducted to maintain the integrity of NARA personnel.

Hotline Investigations involve reviews of allegations made to the OIG by NARA employees, contractors, and the public, or as referred from another agency via the telephone or in writing. Substantiated allegations may result in a full investigation or audit resulting in criminal, civil, or administrative action.

Computer Forensic Investigations identify and counter illegal intrusions of NARA's computer systems. Through a specialized computer intrusion unit, we will coordinate with the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center, and with GAO's Federal Computer Intrusion Response Center.

Physical Security evaluate and recommend improvements as warranted to the security posture of NARA facilities and those locations which house Federal records.

NARA OIG Customers, Clients, and Stakeholders Include:
  • Archivist, Agency Management, Agency Programs, and Staff
  • Congress
  • President and Office of Management and Budget
  • American Taxpayers, including Future Generations
  • State and Local Governments
  • OIG'staff
  • Other Federal Agencies, including GAO and the Department of Justice
  • The Law Enforcement Community
  • NARA Contractors and Grantees
  • Media and Public Interest Groups
  • Professional and Industry Associations

Evaluation Factors in Determining What Work We Do:

  • Management Control Environment Risk
    Considers problems, relative risks, and our potential to reduce or prevent the risk
  • Risk of Fraud
    Considers indicators of fraud, waste, or abuse, and opportunities for improvement
  • Substantially Add to Knowledge
    Considers if we can address a major management challenge and improve decision making
  • Customer/Stakeholder Interest
    Considers if work was requested or can provide specific value to customer/stakeholders
  • Federal Investment
    Considers investment level from NARA and others, and potential of larger scale results
  • Agency Credibility
    Considers if our work would enhance and protect NARA credibility in its operations

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Goal 1: Ensuring NARA's IT systems and applications are secure and in compliance with applicable laws


Objectives:
  • Improve the integrity of NARA systems and applications by identifying actual and potential vulnerabilities. By 2007, the OIG will review NARA's critical systems to identify actual and potential vulnerabilities and recommend solutions for addressing those vulnerabilities.
  • Identify and recommend possible solutions for reducing IT risks. By 2007, the OIG will assist the agency in identifying IT risks and recommend strategies and solutions for reducing IT risks.

How We Will Measure Our Progress:

  • % of Recommendations Implemented
  • Best Practices Identified/Implemented
  • % Staff Meeting Professional Training
  • Standards and Competency Targets
  • % of Work Completed By Multi-disciplinary Teams
  • # of Awards for Creativity, Innovation and Teamwork
  • % of Work Performed Electronically
  • % of Products Available Electronically
  • # of Innovative Techniques/Processes
  • % of Innovative Approaches, Techniques, and Processes Implemented
  • % Improvement of GPRA Goals
  • % Satisfaction with NARA Service Quality

Strategic Areas of Emphasis for Goal 1

NARA's ability to accomplish its mission and administrative processes is dependent on the reliability, availability, and integrity of the systems that support these operations. NARA must keep pace with the transitioning of the paper-based society to an electronic-based environment and find new ways to store and preserve, for as long as needed, the ever-increasing amounts of electronic records. These records must also be provided in a readily available form for today's use. NARA is implementing and exploring the use of advanced technologies to resolve this predicament. In addition, NARA must provide and maintain a stable and secure backbone network to support its mission critical applications. The benefits from the use of such technologies are irrefutable, but the associated risks and vulnerabilities must be addressed in order for NARA to perform its mission, protect its resources, and comply with Federal legislation.

Currently NARA is designing, planning, and implementing new systems to improve operations and to offer its business partners and the public the most convenient ways to access NARA's holdings and services. NARA is formulating security policies to protect these systems and the information contained in them. Despite these efforts, NARA has not been successful in the timely, cost-effective development and implementation of its systems and the supporting security policies. The OIG will continue to review and assess the Agency's efforts in order to identify and address potential vulnerabilities and risks.

Investments in Information Technology (IT) can have a dramatic impact on an organization's performance. Well-managed IT investments that are carefully selected and focused on meeting mission needs can propel an organization forward, dramatically improving performance while reducing costs. Likewise, poor investments, those that are inadequately justified or whose costs, risks, and benefits are poorly managed, can hinder and even restrict an organization's performance. NARA's IT investment process is an evolving process. Progress has been made, but much remains to be done. Risks of proposed IT projects are not adequately assessed, benefit-cost analyses are not prepared, and there is no automated management information system that contains IT project information. In addition, the Agency's process for monitoring and reviewing projects needs improvement, and there is no defined, documented methodology for conducting post-implementation reviews and assessments of IT projects. NARA's ability to improve its service and performance will depend heavily upon how well IT can be integrated into fundamental business/mission needs. Outdated computer systems must be replaced; inefficient, paper-oriented processes must be automated; accurate financial data must be developed and maintained; and an ever-increasing amount of information must be stored and managed. The OIG will continue to review the IT investment process and project management with NARA in order to assist the agency in improving these areas.

Like other Government agencies, NARA awards contracts for the acquisition of computer equipment and software. In addition, services such as computer network management, and the development of new information systems to support the Agency's mission, are performed by contractors. Contracts for services are usually awarded when sufficient, in-house resources are not available to accomplish the effort or in-house resources lack the required expertise. For example, a contractor provides support services for the operation and management of NARA's computer network, which includes wide area networks, local area networks, network applications software, and telephone systems. NARA also awards contracts for the development of complex information technology projects. For example, several contracts have been awarded related to the challenge of managing, preserving, and providing access to the exploding volume and variety of electronic records, a major agency goal. The administration of these contracts is an important function, ensuring that NARA receives the products and services specified in the contract within established costs and schedules. The OIG will continue to review and have a strong presence in IT contracting in order to ensure that contracts are well defined, written concisely, and afford NARA the chance of getting high quality products and services.

NARA has been working for several years to develop an agency-wide information security program; however, policies and procedures have not been implemented. Security assessments show that the NARA network and business applications are currently exposed to loss, misuse, and unauthorized access or modification because of serious security vulnerabilities. The Government Information Security Reform Act (GISRA), as well as legislation from as far back as 1987, requires that the Archivist ensure that NARA systems and the information contained on these systems are adequately protected. NARA's strategic plan includes goals for the development of new, and the enhancement of existing, mission critical systems that need to be implemented with the proper security controls. Without such measures, NARA faces great risks in its ability to continue performing its mission. The OIG will continue to review and monitor the agency's progress towards implementation of an agency-wide information security program that meets all government requirements and adequately safeguards NARA's information.

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Goal 2: Ensuring that the development and application of state-of-the-art technology enables NARA to better review, document, search, preserve, and contain holdings within NARA's collection


Objectives:
  • Identify and recommend possible solutions for improving access to records. By 2007, the OIG will recommend improvements aimed at improving access to records. This will contribute to overall program effectiveness and reduce loss, waste, and abuse.
  • Assess the development of the Electronic Records Archives (ERA) and other technologies designed to improve access. By 2007, the OIG will review and assess ERA and other new technologies, to determine whether they are properly planned, appropriately developed, implemented, and maintained and improve access. The OIG will recommend solutions designed at improving access and helping NARA to better review its collection.

How We Will Measure Our Progress:

  • Questioned Costs
  • Recommended Efficiencies
  • GPRA Performance Measures
  • Fines, Recoveries, and Restitutions
  • Time Saved (cycle time)
  • % of Recommendations Implemented
  • Examples of Process/Practice Changes
  • Costs Avoided or Saved
  • % Improvement In GPRA Rating
  • Time to Resolve Management Challenges
  • Best Practices Identified/Implemented

Strategic Areas of Emphasis for Goal 2

One of NARA's greatest obstacles to serving its customers adequately is the lack of knowledge of the exact nature of its permanent records holdings. Both NARA and its customers must know what records the agency has and where they are located. This knowledge should be readily available through reference, finding aids, or other sources. The inability of NARA to fully identify the extent of its holdings inhibits the ability to serve the American people; creates potential for loss through theft or error; and creates a potential for public embarrassment and criticism. Additionally, NARA's inability to fully describe its holdings, and the locations of those holdings, puts some permanent records at an unacceptable risk in the event of a fire or other disaster. If NARA cannot describe records, which might be destroyed, there is virtually no chance of reconstruction from other sources. It also compromises the ability of the NARA IG and our agents to successfully prosecute individuals who deliberately take documents from NARA's holdings for illegal purposes.

With the arrival of the Internet and electronic records, it is even more imperative that NARA be able to identify what records exist and provide access to those records. One of NARA's biggest challenges is to preserve the millions of electronic Federal and Presidential records being created daily in a multiple array of formats. NARA has partnered with other Federal agencies and the private sector to develop an Electronic Records Archive that will enable NARA to preserve and make available millions of records "born digital" in the Federal Government. NARA expects to have a pilot version of the ERA in operation by 2005. The OIG will monitor and assess this effort on an ongoing basis.

NARA in its revised strategic plan, among other things, recognized the need to: (1) create comprehensive catalogs and indexes of holdings so users can find the records they need, (2) make documentary material, including maps, photographs, sound and film recordings, and electronic records, available through the Internet, and (3) expand current efforts to build a nationwide, integrated online information delivery system that educates citizens about NARA and its facilities, services, and holdings. These efforts are necessary in order for NARA to identify its holdings, improve access to records and become an even greater national resource.

The OIG will perform reviews and assessments of subject areas listed above and recommend solutions that will assist the agency in identifying its holdings and enhancing access to records stored by NARA.

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Goal 3: Enhancing NARA's ability to properly identify, schedule, process, and manage federal records
Objectives:

  • Identify and recommend solutions for properly scheduling, processing, and managing federal records. By 2007, the OIG will identify new and innovative strategies to assist the agency in better scheduling, processing and managing federal records.
  • Identify federal agencies' constraints and problems with identifying and scheduling federal records, and recommend solutions. By 2007, the OIG will recommend solutions to assist the agency in developing cooperative activities with federal agencies to better identify and schedule federal records.

How We Will Measure Our Progress:

  • % of Customer Satisfaction Ratings (timeliness, usefulness, clarity, accuracy accessibility, constructiveness, balance)
  • % of Recommendations Implemented
  • Best Practices Identified/Implemented
  • Examples of Process/Practice Changes
  • Costs Avoided or Saved
  • % Improvement In GPRA Rating
  • % Satisfaction with NARA's Service Quality
  • %Positive Image Rating

Strategic Areas of Emphasis for Goal 3

NARA is responsible for directing and effecting the transfer of records of federal agencies that have been determined by the Archivist to have sufficient historical or other value to warrant their continued preservation by the U.S. Government. To accomplish this objective, NARA plans, directs, and coordinates comprehensive programs for the appraisal, accessioning, storage, servicing, and disposal for federal records of agencies.

NARA is dependant upon the willingness and ability of other federal agencies to (1) identify and make available records of historical value, (2) manage their records to meet both their own and long-term public needs, (3) invest in systems that meet government recordkeeping requirements, (4) provide information about their records management programs, and (5) follow NARA's guidance in order to identify, schedule, and process records in a timely manner.

Improving records management assistance to other Federal agencies is essential to NARA's efforts to meet its mission. Only by assisting agencies with management of their records from the time they are created can NARA ensure that essential documentation is available for the Government itself, today's citizens, and future generations. Without effective records management, records needed to document citizen's rights, actions for which Federal officials are responsible, and the historical experience of our nation will be at risk of loss, deterioration, or destruction.

The Archivist recognized in NARA's revised strategic plan, that, in order to properly identify, schedule and manage records, NARA would have to rethink policies, processes, and programs in records management. NARA would also have to deliver more effective, practical, front-end guidance and assistance to Presidential administrations, Congressional staff, and agency records managers so that records created in the 21st will survive, as well as those which are already in existence.

The OIG will review and assess current practices, policies, and procedures and recommend solutions that will assist the agency in better identifying, scheduling, processing, and managing federal records. The OIG will also seek to encourage other IG's to examine record keeping practices within their individual agencies.

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Goal 4: Ensure that the reimbursable Records Center Program operates efficiently and effectively and meets customer needs


Objectives:
  • Identify problems and recommend solutions for ensuring that the reimbursable program recovers the full cost of its operation. By 2007, the OIG will recommend improvements aimed at ensuring that all costs incurred by the reimbursable program are identified, properly accounted for and recovered. This will contribute to overall program effectiveness and reduce loss, waste and abuse.
  • Identify opportunities for improving economy, efficiency, and accountability by ensuring that NARA provides the right products, to the right customers, at the right costs.By 2007, the OIG will identify and recommend solutions that will enable the agency to develop and apply market and business knowledge for ensuring that our customers have the right products at the right costs.
  • Identify and recommend solutions for enhancing customer service and attracting new customers.By 2007, the OIG will identify best and innovative practices and actions that can be applied to enhance customer service and attract new customers.

How We Will Measure Our Progress:

  • Policy or Directive Changes
  • Risks Identified
  • Best Practices Identified
  • % of Recommendations Implemented
  • Identification/Recovery of Funds
  • # of Performance Measures Affected
  • % of Performance Measures Affected
  • # of Best Practices Transferred
  • % of Recommendations Accepted
  • Dollars saved in cost avoidance

Strategic Areas of Emphasis for Goal 4

On September 29, 1999, the President'signed Public Law 106-58 establishing the records centers Revolving Fund. With $22 million in capitalization provided by the public law and the assets of NARA's Records Center Program, the Fund began operations on October 1, 1999. The Fund provides Federal agencies with records management and storage services for temporary and pre-archival records at 15 records center facilities across the continental United States. In a revolving fund, the agency providing a service such as records storage must bill the agency receiving the service for an amount that will permit operating expenses to be fully recovered. Additionally, the agency receiving the service has the option of using a private sector firm.

Based on audited financial statements, the revolving fund accrued $95,128,606 in revenue, and incurred $97,419,695 in expenses in its first year of operation. This resulted in a net cost of operations of $2,291,089. Despite this initial level of success, the OIG continues to remain concerned about whether all costs are properly allocated and accounted for and being properly recorded and fully recovered by the program. NARA does not have an automated cost accounting system for the revolving fund and is in the process of designing a comprehensive billing system. Federal guidelines require that invoices be generated from a comprehensive cost accounting system that calculates the true cost of the service provided. Once a system is designed and implemented according to these guidelines, NARA program managers will have comprehensive information to better manage the revolving fund.

The OIG will continue to oversee the conduct of the annual financial statement audit and identify any further improvements needed in financial management processes, systems, and controls. In addition, we will provide advice and assistance to Agency managers on developing and implementing financial reporting processes and systems for accumulating reliable, timely, and useful information on the cost of the revolving fund program activities. Ultimately, our goal is to work with Agency managers to integrate cost and program information in a way that allows them to make the best decisions about how to use available resources for maximizing results. This data will also be a valuable tool to increase accountability within the records center revolving fund program and ultimately within NARA.

The OIG also remains concerned about customer service because, as noted above, if NARA customers are not satisfied with the records storage services, they are free to leave NARA and acquire services from NARA competitors in the private sector. This could have a detrimental effect on the revolving fund operations and NARA's mission because NARA would loose the ability to control and ensure that pertinent temporary records made it to permanent status. To provide our customers with the right information at the time and price, we must understand and anticipate their needs and use this information, along with information on the risk of fraud, waste, abuse, and improprieties, to plan and carry out necessary work.

The OIG will conduct reviews and recommend solutions aimed at addressing questions such as: what can be done to retain and attract new customers; are customers satisfied with the quality of the current level of service; what can be done to identify and provide additional and varying services to our customers at the right price, and are customer complaints and concerns addressed timely.

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Goal 5: Ensuring that physical security at all NARA facilities is adequate to protect NARA employees and safeguard Federal records


Objectives:

  • Identify and recommend solutions to physical security challenges at NARA facilities and locations that house Federal records. The OIG will recommend improvements aimed at protecting NARA employees and safeguarding Federal records. We will take the lead in promoting and making staff aware of physical security standards throughout all NARA facilities. This will contribute to overall program effectiveness and reduce loss, waste and abuse.

How We Will Measure Our Progress:

  • Policy or Directive Changes
  • Risks Identified
  • Best Practices Identified
  • % of Recommendations Implemented
  • Identification/Recovery of Fund
  • # of Performance Measures Affected
  • % of Performance Measures Affected
  • # of Best Practices Transferred
  • % of Recommendations Accepted
  • Dollars saved in cost avoidance

Strategic Areas of Emphasis for Goal 5

The President's December 2000 national security strategy states that porous borders, rapid technological change, greater information flow, and the destructive power of weapons now within the reach of small states, groups, and individuals make threats to our nation more viable and endanger our values, way of life, and the personal security of our citizens. These threats range from incidents of terrorism and information attacks on critical infrastructure to the potential use of weapons of mass destruction and the spread of infectious diseases.

NARA employees and our facilities throughout the country must be subject to the highest level of security coverage commensurate to the elements of risk faced to include both traditional (e.g. fire, flood, hazardous waste) hazard as well as risks posed by disgruntled NARA employees and individuals external to the agency. The NARA Administration Services Division currently has delegated responsibility to include the performance of physical security reviews. The OIG will provide independent oversight of this activity in order to evaluate and assess the extent of the coverage provided to ensure that it is commensurate with the level of risk faced by NARA and other facilities that house Federal records. Our primary objective is to ensure that our employees and the records managed are appropriately safeguarded and protected.

OIG investigators interface with other Federal Law Enforcement entities and Institutes to maintain currency in assessing security risks and developing strategies to best address identified threats to persons and property. The knowledge and skills possessed by OIG criminal investigators can provide practical recommendations to improve physical security at NARA and at other sites where Federal records are stored. Through structured reviews and assessments and contemporaneous sharing of information and ideas, the OIG will work with NARA management to address physical security threats as may be determined to exist.

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Key External Factors that May Affect Achievement of Our Goals

A World of Change - The Factors Influencing Our Results

  • The OIG recommendations are not required management actions; therefore, management may choose not to accept them
  • Outside constraints on OIG resources such as legislatively mandated work, congressional requests, and audit requests from the head of the agency and management may hinder the OIG's ability to address project areas noted
  • Agency resources may be focused and dedicated to other areas, such as court ordered efforts, therefore NARA may not be able to address OIG efforts on strategic plan initiatives
  • Changes in the role of the Federal Government
  • Budget constraints and consistency of funding
  • Changing technology

Benchmarking Our Results

Our annual performance plans will provide yearly goals to reach our longer-term strategic targets. We will use fiscal year 2002 as the baseline from which we will adjust, as necessary, our long-term targets. Our goals for fiscal years 2003-2007 will be based on fiscal year 2002 results. During fiscal year 2002, we will also refine our measures to better quantify the value of our products and services. In particular, we will develop additional measures to evaluate and report on our results in contributing to legislative, regulatory, policy, and procedural changes.

Validating Our Work and Information Collection

On a 3-year cyclical basis, the OIG will began assessing its compliance with professional standards and the efficiency and effectiveness of OIG programs and operations. Areas for review will include accomplishments, quality of work, and impact of products and services. During these assessments, the staff will review a sample of completed assignments to determine adherence to standards and use the results to improve OIG operations. Future internal assessments will include analysis of how well we are achieving our goals and focus on identifying ways to improve our results. The OIG will continue to use the results from external peer reviews to provide an independent assessment of our adherence to auditing standards. In accordance with the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act of 1982 (P.L. 97-255), the OIG annually submits an assurance letter to the Archivist reporting on whether the OIG's management controls reasonably protect OIG programs from waste, fraud, abuse, or mismanagement.

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Appendix 1: Potential Projects By Goal

Goal 1: Ensuring NARA's IT systems and applications are secure and in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

Audit of Computer Security - The objective of this annual review is to assess the Agency's compliance with the Government Information Security Reform Act (GISRA) and OMB circular A-130, Management of Federal Information Resources.

Evaluation of Project Management - The objective of this project will be to determine the effectiveness of IT project management throughout NARA.

Evaluation of NARA compliance with PDD 63 - The objective of this project is to assess the Agency's compliance with the Presidential Decision Directive 63 regarding critical infrastructure.

Audit of Network Management - The objective of this assignment is to assess the effectiveness of Computer Network Management services acquired by NARA.

Audit of Internet and Intranet Security - The objective of this project is to assess controls and security over NARA Intranets and Internet services used by NARA.

Goal 2: Ensuring that the development and application of state-of-the-art technology enables NARA to better review, document, search, and contain holdings within NARA's collection.

Evaluation of NARA's Electronic Records Archives (ERA) Development - The objective of this review is to assess planning and program management effort relating to the ERA project.

Physical Security over Records - The objective of this project is to review management controls over the access to records. NARA policy and controls over both staff and researcher access to records and relocation of records will be evaluated.

Assessment of the Archival Research Catalog - The objective of this project will be to review the effectiveness and efficiency of the system in providing access to NARA's collection.

Adequacy of Finding Aids - The objective of this project will be to determine the adequacy and accessibility of NARA finding aids. Specifically, the audit will determine what finding aids exist, whether they are centrally located and how adequate and accessible they are to both NARA staff and researchers.

Adequacy of Archivist Training - The objective of this project will be to assess the adequacy of the Archivist Training Program and to determine whether this program adequately informs NARA staff on how to use finding aids and locate records.

Inventory Management - The objective of this project will be to assess NARA's inventory methodology. The methodology will be evaluated to determine whether records are properly described, logically located, and periodically evaluated for removal.

Goal 3: Enhancing NARA's ability to properly identify, schedule, process, and manage Federal records

Review of the FastTrack Program - The objective of this project will be to determine whether the objectives of the program are being met, assess its usefulness to customers and whether the program can be extended to federal agencies not a part of FastTrack.

Review of NARA Guidance to Federal Agencies - The objective of this project is to determine whether NARA is clearly communicating its mission, goals, and objectives to federal agencies on which it relies to provide records. Determine whether procedures are adequate for ensuring that federal agencies identify and schedule all pertinent federal historical records in a timely manner.

Federal Agency Record Identification - The objective of this project will be to assess the adequacy of current processes and procedures used by federal agencies to identify all records meeting criteria for inclusion within NARA, and to determine whether all pertinent records are being identified.

Records Scheduling - The objectives of this project will be to review and assess the methodology used to schedule records, including time limits placed on certain records, and to assess NARA's past and planned efforts for processing records scheduled in a timely manner.

Adequacy of Automated Identification, Scheduling and Processing Systems - The objective of this project will be to determine the adequacy of systems and processes that NARA uses to identify, schedule, and process data. Integration and migration efforts will be evaluated for sufficiency.

Assessment of NARA Effort to meet Federal Records Center Guidelines - The objectives of this review will be to assess the Agency's efforts in bringing its records storage facilitates in compliance with federal guidelines.

Goal 4: Ensuring that the reimbursable records center program operates efficiently and effectively and meets customer needs.

Annual Audit of the Financial Statements of the Reimbursable Records Center Program - The objective of this audit will be to determine whether the financial statements of the Reimbursable Records Center Program materially reflect the financial condition of the program.

Audit of the Reliability of the Cost Accounting System - The objective of this project will be to determine whether the cost accounting system adequately accumulates, processes, and accounts for all of the costs NARA incurs in storing temporary records. Specifically, the review will evaluate input, processing, and output controls.

Audit of the Ultimate Billing System and Its Automation - The objective of this project will be to determine whether the Ultimate Billing System effectively accumulates, processes, and accounts for information in accordance with federal accounting guidelines. Further we will assess whether automation efforts ensure that NARA needs are fully identified and met.

Audit of Allocation and Overhead Rates used by the Reimbursable Records Center Program - The objective of this audit will be to determine whether appropriate allocations and overhead rates are charged to Reimbursable Records Center and OE activities.

Evaluation of the Reimbursable Records Center Marketing Program - The objective of this project is to assess current marketing efforts designed at (1) addressing and anticipating customer needs, (2) obtaining new customers, (3) retaining current customers and addressing customer complaints.

Evaluation of the Reimbursable Records Center Quality Assurance Program - The objective of this project is to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the program.

Goal 5: Ensuring that physical security at all NARA facilities is adequate to protect NARA employees and safeguard Federal records.

Review of the NARA's Physical Security Program - The objective of this review is to assess the adequacy and effectiveness of physical security at NARA facilities. Likewise, the OIG investigators will review and test contingency plans in place to be implemented in the event of security breaches or catastrophic disasters to include actual events (fire, flood) as well as those posed by disgruntled employees and individuals external to the agency.

Assessment of Background Checks - The objective of this review is to determine whether background checks are being performed and whether these checks are sufficient to protect NARA from undesired employees, contractors, and volunteers.

Review of Computer Access Levels - The objective of this review is to determine whether all employees and contractors have only the necessary and appropriate access levels to perform their duties and responsibilities. In addition, we will determine whether access level are deleted in a timely manner when no longer needed.

Assessment of Controls to Prevent Theft of NARA Records by Internal and External Sources - The objective of this review is to assess the adequacy of controls in place to prevent, and detect theft of NARA records.

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Appendix 2: Sources of Input for the OIG'strategic Plan
  • Management
  • General Accounting Office (GAO)
  • Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
  • NARA's Strategic Plan
  • Archival and preservation organizations
  • External stakeholders
  • OIG'staff
  • NARA staff
  • Prior OIG work and research
  • Congress

Appendix 3: Major Laws Affecting NARA and OIG Work

  • Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended
  • Government Performance Results Act
  • Federal Managers Financial Integrity Act
  • Federal Financial Management Improvement Act
  • Competition in Contracting Act
  • Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act
  • Clinger-Cohen Act
  • Government Paperwork Elimination Act
  • Government Information Security Reform Act
  • Contracts Disputes Act
  • Federal Claims Collection Act
  • Federal Records Act
  • Single Audit Act
  • Anti-Deficiency Act
  • Whistle-blower Protection Act
  • U.S. Title 18 (Criminal Code)
  • Ethics in Government Act
  • Presidential Decision Directive 63
  • Computer Fraud and Abuse Act/Computer Security Act
  • Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act
  • Paperwork Reduction Act
  • Whistle-blower Protection Act

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