Press/Journalists
Press Release
February 3, 2003
President's 2004 Budget Would Advance NARA Initiatives

College Park, MD. . .Archivist of the United States John W. Carlin said today, "I am pleased that President George W. Bush has proposed a Fiscal Year 2004 budget of $304,563,000, that would enable the National Archives to continue building the Electronic Records Archives and to make progress on other key initiatives in our Strategic Plan."

In the budget the President sent to Congress today, he proposed new funding to meet electronic records challenges, address storage and preservation needs, and improve our technology infrastructure.

To meet electronic records challenges, the budget includes an increase of $24,258,000 for the next steps in the National Archives efforts to manage, preserve, and provide access to records of continuing value, particularly electronic records. Of these funds, $22 million is earmarked to contract for the design of the Electronic Records Archives (ERA) system. ERA will be a comprehensive, systematic, and dynamic means for preserving virtually any kind of electronic record, free from dependence on any specific hardware or software. The ERA system will make it possible for Federal agencies to transfer any type or format of electronic record to the National Archives, and it will allow citizens to find records of interest and allow the National Archives to deliver those records to them in the formats they want. This funding will allow the National Archives to design the first increment of the system.

While ERA is being developed, the National Archives must extend the life of existing records systems. The budget includes $1,338,000 to enhance existing electronic records systems so that ERA can preserve six types of new record formats and process higher volumes of electronic records. This funding also will be used for enhancements to the Archival Research Catalog (ARC), the online catalog of the National Archives' nationwide holdings. An additional $300,000 is earmarked for electronic records research partnerships.

The final $620,000 of the electronic records funding will be used to help transform the way the National Archives manage Government records. As part of the National Archives Records Management Initiatives, new training and certification programs for records management professionals are being developed. This funding will allow the National Archives to develop online records management training and guidance and a training and certification program for contractors who offer technical assistance in records management.

To address storage and preservation needs of growing quantities of records, the President's budget includes $5,344,000. The bulk of the funding will be used to furnish the new Southeast Regional Archives, move 110,000 cubic feet of archival records into the new facility, and begin operations at the new building in suburban Atlanta. The National Archives received the resources to build this new facility in FY 2002, and construction will be completed in 2004.

The Military Personnel Records Center (MPRC) in St. Louis, which stores about two million cubic feet of military service files and related records, does not meet NARA standards for archival or records center storage. This funding includes $500,000 for a requirements study for a facility to replace MPRC and $500,000 and four new staff positions to plan the move of the records to a new location that will provide appropriate storage conditions and ensure the continued preservation of these valuable records.

To improve the National Archives' information technology infrastructure, the President's budget includes an increase of $2,281,000 and four staff positions to support on-going technical operations and upgrade disaster recovery plans. This funding will improve support for existing applications that have lacked system administrators and application managers and will implement a "hot site" for contingent operations in case of a catastrophic event.

The President's budget includes $5,000,000 for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Finally, the President's budget provides $12,991,000 for increases to the National Archives base operating expenses including funding for employee pay raises, facility rate charges, rent charges, additional records storage needs, increased security costs, and increased systems costs for payroll, personnel, and accounting services.

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

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