On June 28, 2019, the White House issued a memo from Russell Vought the Acting Director, Office of Management and Budget and David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The memo highlights the primary objective to modernize the federal government by going electronic—or “paperless” by 2023.
The directive in the memo reinforce the importance of the use of metadata and the need to close record storage facilities operated by NARA or commercial entities.
The memo highlights critical deadlines identified in Section I:
- By 2019, Federal agencies will manage all permanent electronic records in an electronic format.
- By 2022, Federal agencies will manage all permanent records in an electronic format and with appropriate metadata.
- By 2022, Federal agencies will manage all temporary records in an electronic format or store them in commercial records storage facilities.
and states that Federal Agencies will maintain robust records management programs that comply with the Federal Records Act and its regulations.
The memo outlines implementation guidance in Section II:
- By 2020, NARA will revise records management regulations and guidance to support Federal agencies’ transition to fully electronic recordkeeping.
- By 2020, OPM will revise position classification standards for archival and records management occupational series to incorporate electronic records management responsibilities and functions.
- By 2022, NARA will no longer accept transfers of permanent or temporary records in analog formats and will accept records only in electronic format and with appropriate metadata.
It appears NARA is working on this directive. On January 30, 2020, NARA issued a request for information (RFI) with hopes to learn more about cloud storage, infrastructure as a service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) capabilities.
The memo goes on to mention the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars required to store both electronic and paper records, and that by going paperless, the government will no longer have to store records on paper; thus reducing physical storage costs and increasing accessibility. Time will tell if this initiative saves taxpayer money, or transfers the expense to cloud providers.