Deadline Passes for Electronic Management of Federal Emails

MARA Blog

Published: January 11, 2017 by Anna Maloney

As of December 31st, 2016, federal agencies were required to manage all emails electronically.

As federal government agencies prepare for the uncertainty of a new administration, one thing is for sure: as of December 31st, 2016 federal agencies were required to manage all e-mail records in electronic format. As summarized by Mazmanian in article for FCW, “This means agencies are supposed to abandon outdated practices, like printing out and filing emails for federal records management purposes, and come up with ways to retain electronic copies of emails, associated metadata and attachments in such a way that records can be searched, identified and retrieved.” As outlined in a directive published by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in conjunction with the Office of Management and Budget, both permanent and temporary emails records must be electronically accessible and annual status reports must be submitted.

In addition to contemporary email management, the original presidential memorandum Managing Government Records, signed by President Barack Obama in 2011, prompted other goals, including:

• The designation of a Senior Agency Official responsible for records management program oversight by 2012;
• The establishment of agency records management training by 2014;
• And the submission of updated records schedules to NARA by 2016.
• The management of all permanent electronic records in an electronic format by 2019.

Fortunately for agencies who have found these deadlines difficult to meet, there is some flexibility. “There really isn’t a finish line,” said Chief Records Officer Laurence Brewer, as quoted in Mazmanian’s article. “It’s one of those targets where agencies will continue to work on it, and we’re going to continue to work with agencies.” As we recover from protracted and sometimes painful political season, it is nice to be reassured that in the realm of electronic records, federal officials are willing to work together to achieve a common goal.