On February 14, President Obama sent to Congress a proposed Fiscal Year 2012 budget request that calls for $422.5 million for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The amount represents an 8.2 percent decrease from the FY 2011 President’s Budget request of $460.2 million.
For the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) , the grant-making arm of the National Archives, the President’s request is $5 million, a 50 percent reduction from the FY 2011 request.
Budget savings will come from the earlier decision to stop development of the Electronic Records Archives (ERA) and move directly into an operations and maintenance mode. This transition at the end of FY 2011 will reduce program expenditures by $36.3 million. Beginning in FY 2012, ERA will become an operational system and will be moved back into the Operating Expenses (OE) appropriation.
In FY 2012, the President is requesting $403.7 million for the merged OE and ERA appropriation. This is a net decrease of 7 percent or $30.4 million from the combined FY 2011 President’s Request for OE and ERA of $434 million. While the majority of the decrease is within the ERA program, NARA followed Administration guidance in reducing or eliminating a variety of programs to ensure that available resources are going towards critical mission requirements.
New priorities that the National Archives will be able to accommodate within available funding include:
- hiring 15 new employees to improve government-wide and internal electronic recordkeeping;
- obtaining storage space for archival records to address the critical shortage of records storage space in the Washington, DC, area;
- supporting records storage space requirements for archival records at the new National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO;
- continuing to build and expand the IT infrastructure for the National Declassification Center; and
- hiring 11 employees to improve research room holdings protection in the
Washington, DC, area.
The President also recommends a 3.5 percent decrease in the budget for NARA’s Inspector General which returns their funding to FY 2010 levels of $4.1 million.
For Repairs and Restoration (R&R) to NARA-owned buildings, the President is seeking $9.6 million, a decrease of 18.5 percent from the FY 2011 request. These resources will be applied to NARA’s base R&R requirements. The Budget also requests the removal of restrictions placed on $6.3 million in previous fiscal year building project funding.
NARA will use $341,000 to support base R&R requirements and the remaining $6 million will be used for the top priority project in NARA’s Capital Improvements Plan, which calls for changes to the infrastructure on the ground floor of the National Archives Building in Washington. This will complete the work planned to begin in FY 2011 with Congressional support to prepare the infrastructure for creation of an orientation plaza to improve visitor circulation to the Charters of Freedom, Public Vaults, McGowan Theater, and Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery temporary exhibit gallery. It will also create space for a new Freedom Hall gallery and expand the gift shop. The Foundation for the National Archives has committed to raising matching funds for this project.