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Highlights

Since 2001, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has been working to acquire the Electronic Records Archives (ERA) system, which is intended to address critical issues in the creation, management, and use of federal electronic records. As required by law, the agency submitted its fiscal year 2006 expenditure plan to the congressional appropriations committees, seeking the release of about $22 million for the development of the system. GAO's objectives in reviewing the expenditure plan were to (1) determine the extent to which the expenditure plan satisfied the legislative conditions specified in the appropriations act; (2) determine the extent to which NARA has implemented GAO's prior recommendations; and (3) provide any other observations about the expenditure plan and the ERA acquisition. We reviewed the expenditure plan and analyzed it against the legislative conditions and assessed NARA's progress in addressing prior recommendations.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
National Archives and Records Administration To reduce risks associated with NARA's efforts to acquire ERA, the Archivist of the United States should ensure that future expenditure plans include a sufficient level and scope of information to enable Congress to understand what system capabilities and benefits are to be delivered, by when, and at what cost, and report on the progress being made against the commitments that were made in prior expenditures plans.
Closed - Implemented
In August 2006, we reported on the National Archives and Records Administration's (NARA) Fiscal Year 2006 Expenditure Plan for acquiring the Electronic Records Archives (ERA) system. ERA is a major information system that is intended to address critical issues in creating, managing, and using federal electronic records and automating the records management and archiving life cycle. We noted that NARA's expenditure plan did not contain the level and scope of information needed by Congress to understand the agency's plans and commitments relative to system capabilities, benefits, schedules, and costs. We recommended that to reduce the risks associated with NARA's efforts to acquire ERA, the Archivist of the United States ensure that future expenditure plans include a sufficient level and scope of information to enable the Congress to understand what system capabilities and benefits are to be delivered, by when, and at what cost, and report on the progress being made against the commitments that were made in prior expenditure plans. The Archivist agreed with our results and recommendation. During our review of NARA's fiscal year 2007 expenditure plan for the ERA acquisition, we noted that NARA implemented our recommendation and incorporated information such as the agency's plans and commitments relative to ERA system capabilities, benefits, schedules, and costs. By doing so, NARA provided more detailed information that could help Congress in its oversight of the ERA acquisition.

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