Federal Records Management

AC 32.2012

MEMORANDUM TO FEDERAL AGENCY CONTACTS: Senior Agency Officials Appointments and Upcoming Meeting - Managing Government Records Directive

As you are aware, on August 24, 2012, Acting OMB Director Jeffrey D. Zients and Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero, signed the Managing Government Records Directive. This Directive emanated from the unprecedented memo signed by President Obama on November 28, 2011, calling for transformational changes in Federal recordkeeping by the end of the decade. The Directive will result in a major overhaul in the way the Federal government manages and preserves its records.

The first requirement to meet the goals of the Directive is for each agency to designate a Senior Agency Official (SAO) to oversee its records management program by November 15, 2012. All agencies must reaffirm or name any new SAO by November 15th of each subsequent year.

While the Presidential Memorandum previously required all agencies to designate a SAO to oversee the review of their records management program, the Directive requires agencies to reaffirm or designate an SAO, but with broader agency-wide responsibilities for records management.

Specific responsibilities of the SAO are listed below.

  • Level of SAO and Role. Each Cabinet-level department and independent agency will designate a senior official at the Assistant Secretary level or its equivalent who has direct responsibility for ensuring that the department or agency efficiently and appropriately complies with all applicable records management statutes, regulations, NARA policy, and the requirements of the Directive. The SAO must be located within the organization so as to make adjustments to agency practices, personnel, and funding necessary to ensure compliance and support the business needs of the department or agency. 

  • Work with Agency Records Officer. The designated SAO is responsible for coordinating with the Agency Records Officer and appropriate agency officials to ensure the agency's compliance with records management statutes and regulations. This shall include submitting to NARA records schedules for all existing paper and other non-electronic records. Agencies shall identify all unscheduled records as well, including records stored at NARA and agency records storage facilities that have not yet been properly scheduled.

  • Permanent Records Older than 30 years. The designated SAO shall ensure that permanent records that have been in existence for more than 30 years are identified for transfer and reported to NARA.

  • Reporting to NARA by the SAO. The designated SAO will send a single annual report to the Chief Records Officer of the U.S. Government commencing on October 1, 2013. NARA will produce a template for a single report to be used for this annual reporting requirement.

The Directive also requires the Archivist of the United States to convene the first ever meeting of Senior Agency Officials before the end of 2012.

I am pleased to announce that Mr. Ferriero will convene that meeting on Wednesday, November 28th at 10:00 a.m. - noon (with a reception at 9:00 a.m.) in the McGowan Theater at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.

We will outline our progress and plans for the upcoming months and years to implement the goals of the Directive. Also, we will further discuss the roles, expectations, and responsibilities of the designated SAO. The SAO is encouraged to bring along their Agency Records Officer.

Meanwhile, we need the following two actions from you.

Send SAO designation to PRMD@nara.gov by Monday, November 15th. Please include agency represented, name of senior official, position title, office address, email address, and telephone number.

Also in the email to PRMD@nara.gov, include whether you and your Agency Records Officer are able to attend the meeting of SAOs on November 28th.

If you have any questions please contact Preston Huff, PMO (Project Management Office) Head at 817-551-2001 or send an email to PRMD@nara.gov. We look forward to meeting with you on November 28th.

Chief Records Officer
for the U.S. Government