May 16, 2022

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Submits 2022-2026 Strategic Plan

From NARA:

Today, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) submitted to Congress its 2022–2026 Strategic Plan, FY 2023 budget request, and Annual Performance Plan and Report. All three are available online and reflect feedback from staff, public and government customers, stakeholders, and colleagues in the archival, historical, and records management communities, in addition to the recommendations of the Archivist’s Task Force on Racism. The plan updates the agency’s strategic objectives to focus agency resources on improving equity, providing a world-class customer experience for all customers, and using our experiences during the pandemic to accelerate agency modernization.

The new Strategic Plan and the FY 2023 budget request address the pressing needs for progress on electronic records, accelerated digitization, and addressing post-pandemic backlogs, while integrating principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility established in President Biden’s Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, and E.O. 14035, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce. The new Plan and budget request support the agency’s transformation into a modern, electronic archive, while renewing the agency’s commitment to addressing inequity, supporting underserved communities, and providing employees with a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, and fair treatment for staff, customers, and the public. 

The Plan continues NARA’s longstanding efforts to provide world-class customer service by addressing the entire customer experience. NARA has proposed agency-wide objectives to better understand customer needs and expectations and modernize services and communications channels. NARA has committed to addressing the backlog of unanswered service requests that accumulated during the COVID-19 pandemic and modernizing service delivery channels to make the agency more resilient against future disruptions. These objectives will drive cross-agency activities to provide a unified, responsive experience for customers across all NARA service lines.

NARA’s new Strategic Plan introduces multiple new commitments to address the latest and most pressing challenges, including:

Providing greater access to archival records of interest to underserved communities by prioritizing records for archival processing and increasing use of enhanced description.

Setting quantitative targets for reparative description. 

Addressing pandemic-related backlogs of unanswered requests and improving the customer experience. 

Continuing to modernize Federal records management and incorporate equity considerations in records scheduling and other decisions. 

Advancing preservation of records in all formats and continuing to develop a trustworthy repository of electronic records. 

Renewing the commitment to provide our staff with a safe and civil workplace, with engaging and rewarding work, and attainable opportunities for career progression. 

The President’s FY 2023 budget requests $427 million for NARA’s Operating Expenses appropriation. NARA’s request includes $6 million for the Office of Inspector General, $7.5 million for Repairs and Restoration to NARA-owned buildings, and $9.5 million for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) Grants Program appropriation. NARA’s request for the NHPRC Grants Program includes $3 millio for grants to preserve and digitize the records of the creation of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).

NARA’s FY 2023 budget request supports the new Strategic Plan with significant new investments, including:

  • $20 million to advance racial equity by digitizing, describing, and providing free, online access to U.S. Government records that document the history of underserved communities in America. 
  • $12 million to increase the speed and efficiency of responding to special access requests for protected Presidential records and to support declassification review of classified Presidential records. 
  • $1 million to safely prepare the Emancipation Proclamation for permanent public display in the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC. 

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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