The Archivist of the United States essentially works for the American people across partisan lines and not, regardless of which Administration nominates the person, for a particular President or political party.
Thus, the Archivist must display at all times scrupulous independence and a devotion to the laws and principles which govern the responsibilities of the office.
This awareness instills a fierce desire to protect that heritage and – in doing so – to educate Americans in the meaning and importance of our pivotal documents.
For the Archivist, this role is a result of his obligation to preserve and assure timely and maximum access to our governmental records in the evolving historic saga of the American people.
Then as now, whatever disagreements over policies existed among Americans – and there were many such bitter policy disputes – the purposes and goals for which Americans fought were clearly understood.
We live in a world of increasing dependence on electronic records and retrieval, unprecedented security and preservation concerns, and insufficient attention to civic and democratic education.
Not only the Archivist alone but all who work for NARA are designated custodians of America’s national memory.
NARA must provide security at our facilities to protect our public patrons, our staff, and our holdings.
In the Federal Government, electronic records are as indispensable as their paper counterparts for documenting citizens’ rights, the actions for which officials are accountable, and the nation’s history.
But we will lose the millions of records being created daily in a dizzying array of electronic forms unless we find a way to preserve and keep them accessible indefinitely.
Research promoted by NARA within a major coalition of Federal and private sector research partners has at last demonstrated that an Electronic Records Archives can be built.