But in its most recent semiannual report to Congress, NARA’s Office of Inspector General listed the ERA program at the top of the management challenges that the agency faces. GAO has also raised concerns about some aspects of the project.
GAO recently reported that NARA’s spending plan for ERA didn’t have enough detail and the agency didn’t have a contingency plan for the system or a fully functional backup and restoration process. Auditors also found methodological weaknesses during a review of NARA's fiscal 2009 spending plan for the program that could limit its ability to keep tabs on the project.
NARA’s acting archivist, Adrienne Thomas, said agency officials briefed Congress in April on specific outcomes ERA would achieve, adding that the agency would include more details in the next spending plan. She also said the agency is in the process of updating its project management tool and conducting a final review of its contingency plan for the system.
Meanwhile, even after revising its initial schedule for the system, NARA said it’s on track to achieve full operating capability when its contract with Lockheed Martin ends in March 2012. The contract is worth about $317 million.
NARA officials told reporters Sept. 2 that they had ingested 67G of data into an ERA system for federal records and 64.4T of searchable records from the George W. Bush administration. The Bush administration total of 77T is about 35 times the amount of data received from the Clinton administration, they said.