About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Advisory Committee

McGowan Theater, National Archives Building, Washington, DC
March 5, 2020

Good morning! I am David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States. Welcome to National Archives or as I like to call it “My House” and this meeting of the Freedom of Information Act Advisory Committee. Whether you are here in the McGowan Theater or joining us on the National Archives YouTube Channel, we are pleased to have you.

Since September 2018, the Committee’s 20 members––who I appointed for their considerable FOIA expertise both inside and outside of government––have worked to study the federal FOIA landscape by collecting and delving into data and hearing from other experts. I understand that the three subcommittees––Time/Volume; Vision; and Records Management––have nearly 20 proposed recommendations for actions to improve the FOIA process. Committee members, I look forward to your continued deliberations and discussion as you work toward the final two meetings of this term on May 1st and June 4th and a final package of recommendations.

Before turning the meeting over to the Committee’s Chairperson, Alina Semo, I would like to invite everyone back to McGowan Theater for several upcoming events.

One week from today – on Thursday, March 12th starting at 10:00 a.m.––the National Archives’ National Declassification Center will celebrate 10 years of public service with a discussion titled “Reflecting on our Beginnings, Forecasting our Future.” I am proud that during the last decade the National Declassification Center has eliminated a backlog of more than 350 million pages and streamlined processing for declassifying records.

Later on March 12, starting at 1:30 p.m., the NDC is teaming with two other National Archives offices––the Office of Government Information Services, OGIS, and the Information Security Oversight Office, ISOO – for a Multi-Agency Forum on Using FOIA to Access Intelligence Community Records. We are pleased that representatives of FOIA offices from several Intelligence Community agencies will join us.

The following week––Monday March 16th beginning at 1:00 pm––the National Archives celebrates Sunshine Week, an annual nationwide celebration of access to public information. Please join us for a conversation with Senior U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth, whose rulings are well known in the FOIA community. Following that, a panel of experts on FOIA and access issues will discuss the current transparency landscape.

Go to our calendar on Archives.gov for information about how to register to attend any of these events through Eventbrite. Hope to see you back here.

Thank you. Now I will turn the meeting over to Alina.