Saturday, December 31, 2011

FAQ About Presidential Memorandum

FAQ About Presidential Memorandum:

There has been considerable interest from agencies and other stakeholders about the requirements of the Presidential Memorandum. As we wrote yesterday, the Archivist has issued a Memo to Agency Heads that clarifies the requirements and describes more broadly how we will proceed with the development of the Records Management Directive that is required by the Presidential Memorandum. These items were also discussed at length at yesterday’s BRIDG meeting (slides of that presentation are available here as .pdf).


From that interaction, and interactions that we have been having with agencies, we have compiled the following FAQ that have been raised:


1)  What is the definition of a senior agency official as used in Section 2(a)(iii)?


The memorandum is not specific but the general benchmark is a senior official at the SES level with agency-wide visibility and authority. A comparable assignment would be the senior agency official required to work with NARA’s Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) as required by Executive Order 13526. Senior agency official designations are also required in the FOIA world. We have identified our COO (3rd highest person in the agency) as our senior agency official.


2)  Do agency components of a larger Department respond to NARA or can there be a single Department-wide response?


NARA seeks a response from each executive agency as defined in Section 102 of U.S.C. 40. We leave it to Department-level records programs to determine the level of coordination or review of submissions from subordinate agencies.


3)  What if our agency does not respond? Are we required to respond if we are not an executive branch agency?


The Presidential Memorandum was sent to heads of all executive branch agencies. However, we believe that all agencies will wish to respond so that they may contribute to the development of the directive.


4)  Does the memorandum cover records in hard copy as well as electronic records?


Records in all media will be covered by the directive required by section 3(a) of the memorandum. While special attention is being paid to electronic records and the directive is to consider “transitioning from paper-based records management to electronic records management where feasible”, the universe of Federal records must be addressed when developing a records management framework for the 21st century.


5)  Will there be further assistance forthcoming from NARA in helping agencies to submit the reports required by section 2(b) of the memorandum?


We will be posting and sharing a template for agencies shortly.


Please feel free to leave any comments or questions here. We will continue to update our blog throughout this project. For quick access to all posts about the Presidential Memorandum, feel free to bookmark this link: http://go.usa.gov/5fg




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