NARA's spending plan for electronic archive isn't reliable, GAO says

The National Archives and Records Administration had unreliable cost estimates and other weaknesses in its spending plan for the final year of developing its digital archive, a new report says.

The National Archives and Records Administration's plan for spending $86 million to finish the current phase of its troubled Electronic Records Archives is unreliable and incomplete, according to a new report.

The Government Accountability Office report said problems continue to grow for the ERA program. Previous GAO reports have detailed major schedule delays and cost overruns, and the Office of Management and Budget said new development for the digital archive would end by Sept. 30.

In October 2010, NARA submitted a fiscal 2011 expenditure plan to support its request for $86 million for the project, according to the latest GAO report.

However, GAO auditors determined that although the plan satisfies four of the six conditions requested by Congress, it does not provide a reliable basis for spending the additional funds.


Related stories:

NARA's costs soared for digital archive, GAO says

NARA's digital archive falters as others soar


“Specifically, NARA’s plan does not clearly show what functions have been delivered to date or how actual costs compare to planned costs,” GAO auditors wrote. “Further, even though NARA plans to end development in fiscal year 2011, the fiscal year 2011 expenditure plan does not clearly show what functionality is planned to be delivered, by when, and at what cost during this period.”

In addition, NARA’s cost estimates are shaky because of weaknesses in the supporting methodology, including too much reliance on contractor estimates and untraceable and unvalidated data, GAO auditors said.

Finally, NARA did not include a plan to guide spending of $20 million in accumulated multi-year funds for the project dating from fiscal 2010. The agency needs to specify how it will use those funds before lawmakers can evaluate the fiscal 2011 request, GAO auditors said.

The report is the latest in a series of critical assessments of the 10-year-old program. NARA awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin in 2005 to provide a permanent archive for digitized official records, with initial operating capability achieved in December 2008. The ERA project was originally projected to cost about $500 million, but GAO said recently the cost could rise as high as $1.4 billion.

“With significant weaknesses in many basic oversight and management processes, as well as continued delays in completing Increment 3, NARA’s ability to make significant development progress in the remainder of the fiscal year will be challenged,” GAO auditors wrote. “With OMB's direction to stop development after 2011, it is unclear whether NARA will be able to effectively address the full range of weaknesses we identified and still have adequate time to complete significant development efforts.”

GAO suggested that Congress consider limiting NARA’s ability to use appropriated funds for ERA until officials implement an adequate capital planning and investment control process.

GAO made the following recommendations to NARA:

  • Report to Congress on the specific outcomes to be achieved with the $20 million balance in multi-year funding in fiscal 2011.
  • Ensure that the ERA requirements planned for fiscal 2011 are fully prioritized.
  • Ensure that significant changes to the project's cost, schedule and scope are approved through NARA’s review process.
  • Conduct post-implementation reviews to validate estimated benefits and costs.
  • Submit expenditure plans to OMB for review and approval before submitting them to Congress.
  • Update the ERA Requirements Management Plan and related guidance to mandate prioritization of requirements throughout the project’s life cycle.

NARA officials agreed with the recommendations. However, they noted that the last four recommendations apply only to future-year funding for the project and not to fiscal 2011.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.