About the National Archives

Remarks by the Archivist To Senior Agency Officials Records Management Meeting

February 11, 2016
McGowan Theater
National Archives Building

Laurence Brewer, Chief Records Officers, introduces the Archivist


Who is the Archivist?

David S. Ferriero

David S. Ferriero The Archivist of the United States is the head of our agency, appointed by the President of the United States.

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Thank you Laurence for the introduction.

Good morning. Welcome to the McGowan Theater here at the National Archives for this Senior Agency Officials, or SAO, for Records Management meeting.  I first wish to thank Howard Shelanski, the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs whom you will hear from later for coming. In addition, I would like to thank you, the SAO community, and the records officers here today for taking the time to attend.

Since I, along with the Office of Management Budget, issued the Managing Government Records Directive in 2012, we have relied on this community of SAOs to oversee all aspects of records management in your Departments and Agencies. Your efforts, combined with those of my staff, have allowed us to reach most of the milestones in the Directive. As you know, we have two major items left to achieve. First, by the end of this year, all email must be managed electronically and by the end of 2019, all permanent electronic records must be managed electronically. These are critical milestones as we move towards the vision of a digital government laid out in the directive.

Later this morning, you will hear more specifics on how we will continue to help agencies meet these milestones. You will also hear about the things we are doing with the SAO reports you have submitted. Thank you for submitting those on time. And for those that have requested extensions, a reminder that your date is February 29.  We hope to 100% of the reports up on our site this year.

This year also provides us with another critical opportunity to ensure proper management of Federal records. The transition of administration is already underway and you have a critical role in ensuring records of those departing senior leaders in your agencies are aware of their records management responsibilities. We hope you are working in conjunction with your records management staff to ensure the records of your agency are properly preserved during this period.

You may have seen the post on our blog last week with the link to our updated website for Documenting Your Public Service. This site provides a high-level overview of the records management responsibilities when entering, and more importantly exiting, public service. It also provides information on what items are likely to be records, including electronic messages such as email.

We also remind employees about the responsibilities when creating or receiving official records on personal devices or accounts. This provision now reflects the changes made as a result of the Federal and Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2014.

Over the next few months, we will continuing updating our site and working with the Partnership for Public Service on getting information about managing records during Presidential transitions in as many hands as possible. You, as the SAO for records management, need to ensure conversations around this issue are happening inside of your agency. Your agency needs to have plans in place to ensure all records are appropriately managed. This is doubly important for those of you that oversee programs working with national security classified information.

Now, I want to just say a few words about the important role you have. Those SAOs out there that have been with us since 2011 and 2012 have heard this before. But, we have a few who out there new to this role. We see you as critical advocates and champions for all things records management in your agency. This includes advocating for resources and ensuring procedures are developed. Once you have these procedures in place, they need to be followed. Perhaps even revised as we update our regulations and guidance. Your leadership is critical to ensuring the federal records in your agency are properly managed.

My staff and I stand here ready to help your agency meet all their records management responsibilities. I'm looking forward to the rest of our discussion here today.

Thank you.