NARA Picks Lockheed Martin to Build $308 Million Electronic Records Archives

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On 8 September 2005, Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein announced the award of a $308 million, six year contract to Lockheed Martin to build the Electronic Records Archives (ERA) system for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The ERA system seeks to capture and preserve the electronic records of the federal government, regardless of format; ensure hardware and software independence; and provide access to the American public and Federal officials.

According to NARA officials, after a year-long design competition, Lockheed Martin was chosen to build the archives of the future "based on the technical merit of the solution it proposed, the excellence of their system and software engineering methodology, and the quality of their project management."

In making the announcement, Weinstein said, "I am indebted to those who acted decades and centuries ago to ensure that the records of our past were preserved for use today. These parchments, pieces of paper, photographs, and maps have allowed us to reconstruct and understand the story of our nation and its people. Today, we act on behalf not only of archivists but of all Americans of the 21st Century who will use the electronic records being created by the Federal Government, today and tomorrow, to research, write, and understand the history of our times. The ERA system will make that possible. The Electronic Records Archives' goal is clear and simple: a system that accepts, preserves, and makes accessible - far into the future - any type of electronic document."

Lockheed Martin was selected based on its ability to design a system which addresses in considerable depth NARA's business needs, on the one hand, and on the other hand, a system that entails a modern, service-oriented architecture. NARA's business needs encompass handling rapidly-growing volumes of electronic records, ensuring the authenticity of those records, preserving them for the long term, and providing public access while protecting privacy and sensitive information.

At a press conference where the announcement was made, Mr. Donato (Don) Antonucci, President, Transportation and Security Solutions, Lockheed Martin Corporation said, " the Lockheed Martin team is proud to have been selected for this essential solution and we will not fail you. Our vision is that the ERA system can adapt to the diverse needs of state and local governments to keep their electronic records accessible for generations to come. The challenge of preserving electronic records affects everyone - from federal agencies, to state and local governments, to the academic community, to even the private sector."

The announcement comes at the close of a one-year design competition between Harris Corporation and Lockheed Martin. The announcement marks the beginning of the ERA system development, with the initial operating capability targeted for release during Fiscal Year 2007.

During the same press conference, Dr. Kenneth Thibodeau, Director of the Electronic Records Archives Program, announced the formation of a high-level committee to advise and make recommendations to Archivist of the United States on issues related to the development, implementation, and use of the ERA system. This committee is named the Advisory Committee on the Electronic Records Archives (ACERA).

The advisory committee will provide an ongoing structure for bringing together experts in computer science and information technology, archival science and records management, information science, the law, history, genealogy, and education. The twenty member committee are recognized experts and leaders in their field.

Committee members include: Dr. David Carmichael, State Archivist of Georgia; Dr. Jerry Handfield, State Archivist of Washington State; Richard Pearce-Moses, Director of Digital Government Information at the Arizona State Library and Archives; Jonathan Redgrave, partner at Jones Day; Dr.
Sharon Dawes, Director of the Center for Technology in Government and Associate Professor of Public Administration and Policy, the State University of New York at Albany; Dr Luciana Duranti, Chair and Professor of Archival Studies, School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, The University of British Columbia, and Director of the InterPARES Project; Dr. Daniel Greenstein, Associate Vice Provost Scholarly Information and University Librarian, California Digital Library, University of California; Andy Maltz, Director, Science and Technology Council, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; David Rencher, Director, Records and Information Division, Family and Church History Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and Dr. Kelly Woestman, Professor and History Education Director, Pittsburg State University.

The committee is governed by the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. Appendix 2), which sets forth standards for the formation and use of advisory committees.

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