Since 2001, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has been working to develop a modern Electronic Records Archive (ERA) system, a major information system that is intended to preserve and provide access to massive volumes of all types and formats of electronic records. The system is being developed incrementally over several years, with the first two pieces providing an initial set of functions and additional capabilities to be added in future increments. NARA plans to deploy full system functionality by 2012 at an estimated life-cycle cost of about $550 million. NARA originally planned to complete the first segment of ERA in September 2007. However, software and contracting problems led the agency and its contractor Lockheed Martin to revise the development approach. The revised plan called for parallel development of two different increments: a "base" ERA system with limited functionality and an Executive Office of the President (EOP) system to support the ingestion and search of records from the outgoing Bush Administration. GAO was asked to summarize NARA's progress in developing the ERA system and the ongoing risks the agency faces in completing it. In preparing this testimony, GAO relied on its prior work and conducted a preliminary review of NARA's fiscal year 2010 ERA expenditure plan.
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