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Highlights

Increasingly, government records involve documents that are electronically created and stored. In support of its mission to manage and archive these records and ensure access to the "essential evidence" that they contain, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is acquiring an advanced Electronic Records Archives (ERA). GAO was asked to determine, among other things, how the ERA program's system acquisition policies, plans, and practices conform to industry standards and how well NARA is meeting the ERA program's cost and schedule.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
National Archives and Records Administration To reduce the risks associated with NARA's efforts to design and acquire the Electronic Records Archives, the U.S. Archivist should direct the NARA Chief Information Officer to address weaknesses in the acquisition policies, plans, and practices by revising the ERA Life Cycle document and associated procedures and practices to conform to IEEE standards.
Closed - Not Implemented
According to agency officials, the program did not revise the ERA Life Cycle document to conform to IEEE standards because responsibility for developing and maintaining the ERA life cycle was transferred to the program's development contractor as part of the August 2005 systems development contract.
National Archives and Records Administration To reduce the risks associated with NARA's efforts to design and acquire the Electronic Records Archives, the U.S. Archivist should direct the NARA Chief Information Officer to address weaknesses in the acquisition policies, plans, and practices by revising the ERA Concept of Operations to conform to IEEE standards, including a complete description of the current and proposed systems.
Closed - Implemented
NARA revised the ERA Concept of Operations. The revised version includes a complete description of the current and proposed systems and substantially conforms to IEEE standards.
National Archives and Records Administration To reduce the risks associated with NARA's efforts to design and acquire the Electronic Records Archives, the U.S. Archivist should direct the NARA Chief Information Officer to address weaknesses in the acquisition policies, plans, and practices by revising the ERA Acquisition Strategy to conform to IEEE standards and the Federal Acquisition Regulation.
Closed - Implemented
NARA revised the ERA Acquisition Strategy to conform to IEEE standards and the Federal Acquisition Regulation.
National Archives and Records Administration To reduce the risks associated with NARA's efforts to design and acquire the Electronic Records Archives, the U.S. Archivist should direct the NARA Chief Information Officer to address weaknesses in the acquisition policies, plans, and practices by revising the ERA Risk Management Plan to provide processes and procedures specific to the ERA program.
Closed - Implemented
NARA revised the ERA Risk Management Plan to provide processes and procedures specific to the ERA program, and the document conforms to IEEE standards.
National Archives and Records Administration To reduce the risks associated with NARA's efforts to design and acquire the Electronic Records Archives, the U.S. Archivist should direct the NARA Chief Information Officer to address weaknesses in the acquisition policies, plans, and practices by revising the ERA Quality Assurance Plan to conform to appropriate industry standards, establishing a vigorous, independent ERA quality assessment process, and providing the staffing resources necessary to ensure that quality assessment duties are performed effectively.
Closed - Implemented
NARA revised the ERA Quality Assurance Plan, renamed the ERA Quality Management Plan, to provide processes and procedures specific to the ERA program and conform to IEEE standards. The agency also established a vigorous, independent ERA quality assessment process and provided the staffing resources necessary to ensure that quality assessment duties are performed effectively.
National Archives and Records Administration To reduce the risks associated with NARA's efforts to design and acquire the Electronic Records Archives, the U.S. Archivist should direct the NARA Chief Information Officer to address weaknesses in the acquisition policies, plans, and practices by filling key vacant ERA positions.
Closed - Implemented
NARA filled all key government staff positions for the ERA program.
National Archives and Records Administration Further, the U.S. Archivist should direct the NARA Chief Information Officer to immediately address weaknesses in tracking cost and schedule by developing an ERA schedule that is based on a comprehensive work breakdown structure (including associated costs and other resources) and establishes dependencies between successor and predecessor tasks.
Closed - Implemented
NARA has addressed weaknesses in tracking cost and schedule by developing an ERA schedule that is based on a comprehensive work breakdown structure. The structure appropriately links tasks with associated costs and other resources and links successor and predecessor tasks.
National Archives and Records Administration Further, the U.S. Archivist should direct the NARA Chief Information Officer to immediately address weaknesses in tracking cost and schedule by using earned value management to capture and monitor progress for the entire ERA program.
Closed - Implemented
ERA is using earned value management techniques to capture status and monitor progress for the entire program.

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