Publication Date

February 1, 1997

When the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) issued its strategic plan, Ready Access to Essential Evidence, in August 1996, the agency identified a number of initial actions needed to develop the infrastructure required to carry out the major strategies in the plan. These actions included reorganizing NARA’s office structure to improve services to federal agencies and the public, restructuring the agency’s work processes around the records life cycle, and better coordinating internal operations and communications.

The first phase of this reorganization has now been completed. Five offices—the Office of the National Archives, the Office of Records Administration, the Office of Federal Records Centers, the Office of Special and Regional Archives, and the Office of Public Programs—have now been collapsed into two. The Office of Records Services and the Office of Regional Records Services now have responsibility for the entire life cycle of federal records, from their creation to their destruction or continuing use in the archives. This change will improve communication and coordination among related records functions, reunite parts of the life cycle that have been split in the past, shift some administrative staff to program positions, and reallocate more staff to focus on records management and the growing challenges at the front end of the records life cycle. Additional organizational changes are planned within the new offices during 1997 to fully integrate the records life-cycle approach into NARA's work processes.

A second major initiative identified in the strategic plan is the beginning of a dialogue with other federal agencies on improving ways of working together to address government records management and achieve government-wide goals on declassification and the implementation of Executive Order 12958, which established federal policy for classification and declassification of records. Part of the dialogue will include exploring alternative approaches to storage and retrieval services in coordination with NARA's nationwide space implementation plan.

Other initiatives NARA will focus on in upcoming months include redesigning the agency's performance appraisal process and internal training programs, instituting product and project management, hiring a development officer to pursue partnerships and private-sector funding for special projects, and working closely with the presidential administration on record-keeping issues. NARA will also continue to develop a nationwide, integrated online information delivery system that educates citizens about NARA and its facilities, services, and holdings and also makes available digital copies of high-interest documents.

Through the strategic plan, NARA is building an organizational framework and fostering innovative initiatives to provide ready access to the essential evidence that documents the rights of American citizens, the actions of federal officials, and the national experience. NARA's strategic plan is available on the agency's site on the World Wide Web at

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