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December 2022. That’s the deadline that the Office of Management and the national Archives and Records Administration set for federal agencies to go paperless. All historic and permanent records must be digitized by that date.
Michael Lewis, vice-president at Iron Mountain, said of the new policy that “it is going to force change and to have agencies think differently about how they can make this transformation. It will accelerate digital transformation.”
A major challenge faced by agencies is budget. Currently agencies average between 80-85% of their budget spend on maintaining legacy systems.
But NARA itself has the challenge in determining compliance by federal agencies. An audit report by the Inspector General of NARA found that it isn’t clear how many federal agencies exist. Enforcement will be hard if the complete list of agencies that must comply isn’t known.
“Forbes reported in July 2017 that FOIA.gov lists 78 independent executive agencies and 174 components of the executive department while the United States Government Manual lists 96 independent executive units and 220 components. USA.gov lists 137 independent executive agencies and 268 units in the Cabinet. In fiscal 2018, The Best Places to Work in the Federal Government ranks a total of 488 agencies and subcomponents and the Federal Register reports there are at least 441 federal agencies.”