April 26, 2005
National Archivist Testified Before Congress on '06 Budget Request
Washington, D.C. . . . Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein testified today before the Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury, and Housing and Urban Development, the Judiciary, District of Columbia, House Committee on Appropriations regarding the President’s proposed budget for the National Archives and Records Administration for FY 2006.
In his testimony, the Archivist focused on four areas in particular that are of major importance to the National Archives and Records Administration: The Electronic Records Archives (ERA), the Nixon Library, the National Archives Experience, and the issue of document security.
In discussing ERA, Professor Weinstein said, "In August 2004, NARA awarded contracts for design and development of the Electronic Records Archives system to Harris Corporation of Melbourne, FL, and Lockheed Martin Corporation of Bethesda, MD. In August, NARA will select one of the two contractors to proceed with development of the system. The National Archives is requesting $35,914,000 for the Electronic Records Archives Program in FY 2006. These funds are necessary for program management, for electronic records research, and primarily for the detailed design and development of the first increment of the system."
In describing his educational goal for the Archives, Professor Weinstein said, "Three key components of the National Archives Experience—the William G. McGowan Theater, the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery, and the "Public Vaults" exhibit—were completed in the last year. All of these have been made possible by a public-private partnership between the National Archives and the Foundation for the National Archives, which has to date raised over $18 million from citizens, foundations and corporations committed to the advance of civics education and public enrichment through the public records. It is my personal goal and NARA’s to work with the National Archives Foundation to take this success and build on it nationally: to provide access to the National Archives Experience through the Internet; to expand our exhibit programs across the country; and to join with partners in unleashing the power of primary sources to advance the cause of American history and civics education."
"I have long supported Presidential Libraries and very much look forward to the Nixon Library being a part of the NARA system. Great progress has been achieved towards this end, including exchange of letters outlining the general terms of agreement for the transfer of the Library. First and foremost, the Library will be operated in accordance with National Archives statutes, regulations and practices governing the Nixon materials and Presidential libraries. The transfer of the Library could take place as early as February 2006, provided that its required retrofit is completed and that the funding is available to offset costs for the operation of the Library. Lastly, arrangements are being made for the donation of two groups of historically-important materials: Nixon’s pre-and post-Presidential documents and the personal-political conversations from the Nixon recordings," said Archivist Weinstein.
Weinstein said, ". . . In relation to document security, NARA has undertaken a number of initiatives: NARA has installed or is in the process of installing video cameras in all of our research rooms; we are creating several pilot projects including special markings on documents of high intrinsic value; a special classified research room is now in operation at Archives I; and the development of a new web site to help recover lost and stolen documents."
In concluding his remarks, he said, "The Archivist of the United States works for the American people, indifferent to partisanship, regardless of which political party dominates the Congress or the Executive branch of government. Therefore, the Archivist must display at all times a devotion to the laws and principles governing the responsibilities of his office. At all times, he serves as the designated custodian of America's essential ‘records that defy the tooth of time.’"
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