August 19, 2021
Washington, DC - In response to an invitation from the Archivist of the United States (AOTUS), David Ferriero, to review and submit comments on the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) 2022-2026 draft Strategic Plan, today NAGARA submitted comments drafted by the Board of Directors on behalf of the Association.
Members of NAGARA are encouraged to review the Association's major comments as submitted to NARA. A detailed outline of NAGARA's comments and questions related to the Strategic Plan are listed below below:
How will the achievement or lack of achievement of the same goal in the previous plan be acknowledged throughout the document?
Page 2, 3rd Value: How does NARA plan to measure "becom[ing] smarter ... " Is it possible to add something about application of that knowledge? A suggestion for this statement might be:
Learn: Pursue excellence through continuous learning and the application of that new knowledge in service of others.
Page 2: First sentence under Transformational Outcomes: Remove "build", Replace with "cultivate" or "foster."
Page 3, Make Access Happen
- 1st bullet: The previous goal was 82% by 2021. Will NARA address what percentage has been processed in this bullet?
- 2nd bullet: This is exactly the same goal as the previous Strategic Plan, but the year has been adjusted to 2024. Is the intent that after the first set is completed by 2022 a new set of 500 million pages will be worked on and completed by 2024? Or is the intent to extend the goal post? (the second case was stated at the town hall). Regardless, this bullet (or a general statement in the plan, should include the progress made to date and/or the reason for missing the target.
- 3rd bullet: Specify or clarify "promised time.”
Pages 3-4, Connect with Customers
- 1st bullet: How will NARA "demonstrate"/measure/track/report success in "enhanced organizational understanding"?
- 3rd bullet: How will NARA "demonstrate"/measure/track/report success in "leadership in equity, accessibility, and diversity"?
Pages 3-4, Maximize NARA’s Value to the Nation
- First Paragraph: There isn't any recognition of the need to increase trust in the records/archives of the government through transparency and accountability of recordkeeping/archival practices. NAGARA believes this is one of the biggest challenges faced by archivist/record managers.
- 1st bullet: This bullet should also include how NARA plans to provide tools or resources to non-NARA agencies to implement the policies and requirements. Without this part, the goal seems lofty or too reliant on non-NARA agencies to be successful. This push of policy without proper implementation tools/strategies or additional grant funds to support the new policies hasn't proven successful since the previous Strategic Plan. NARA policies could attain a higher adoption/implementation rate if Non-NARA agencies felt better supported and not left to simply figure it out and plead for additional budget funding to support a fully digital transition.
Where does the push for funding come from on NARA's side to improve practices or to explore & develop best practices.
Though not a NARA publication but can NARA help push to replace DoD 5015.2. A modular approach is needed, and we find that some agencies are still using this outdated document (including colleagues in government in Canada).
- New bullet #4: By FY 2026, identify tools/resources, practices and policies that will address the challenges of digital government, such as the identification of forgeries (deep fakes), capture of context, and verification of digital provenance over the long term.
Page 4, Build our Future through Our People
- 1st bullet: What is the current frequency of effective coaching to what number of staff? If the current stats were shown, the goal could become more measurable.
Suggest changing this to:
By FY2022, NARA will offer "x number" of effective coaching opportunities each (month/quarter/annually) and increase the offerings by 5% each year thereafter. To measure effectiveness, employee performance and retention reports will be monitored. In addition, an anonymous survey will be implemented by FY2023 to gauge/assess interpersonal supervisory relationships.
Page 6, NARA Organization
The last part of this section is missing from the previous Strategic Plan including the explanation of the services/offices under the Chief of Management and Administration. Also, in the previous document, there are sections on Stakeholder Engagement describing how the plan was developed and a section on Evidence Building. Will these be added after NARA receives feedback? and (which may also be added later)?