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We Are Losing the Global War on Records Management…This is What You Can Do to Change That

Posey Letter to Oversight on NAPA Record Management Study

My Fellow Records Management Professionals,

Eight years ago next week, I published an article on AIIM’s industry blog site entitled “On Why I No Longer Support the DoD 5015.2 Standard”. At the time I believed what I knew about the DoD 5015.2 Records Management Application Standard – and the failures of records management solutions certified against it – needed to be exposed to the records management community so they could decide for themselves if these solutions were helping public and private organizations worldwide effectively manage the lifecycle of their information.

From a readership perspective, the article was a tremendous success. It sparked dozens of online and offline conversations among information management professionals across all industries. Several prominent thought leaders in the Enterprise Content Management community published lengthy responses. And a few months after the post was released, I was told by the AIIM site administrator that it received more views than any previous association blog post ever.

But I was never prepared for the brutal retaliation I was to suffer at the hands of Big Tech companies, the Federal government, ARMA, and even the media for speaking out publicly. Over the next several years my efforts to expose the information lifecycle management failures inherent to DoD 5015.2-certified solutions – and the tragic consequences that are a result of those failures – cost me almost everything I have: my job, my house, my Top Secret security clearance, and most of my lifesavings.

Fast forward to February 2020 and the Epoch Times publishes this investigative piece on DoD 5015.2-certified records management applications. This story describes how these solutions have been purchased over and over again by scores of Federal agencies for more than two decades, but were never actually implemented anywhere – even, unbelievably, at the National Archives and Records Administration, who had endorsed the Standard for use at all agencies since way back in 1998.

The Epoch Times piece further describes the terrible consequences that this crisis has led to. The billions of wasted tax dollars. The complete lack of government accountability and transparency. The loss of personal privacy. The horrifying national security vulnerabilities. And the tragic loss of innocent citizens’ lives.

Try to imagine all the tragedies and scandals over the last eight years that could have been avoided had so many powerful forces not fought me to prevent the truth from coming out about the DoD 5015.2 Standard. If you knew what I know, you would understand why my heart breaks every time I open a newspaper and read about all the political scandals, the government lies, the wasted taxpayer dollars, and the human tragedy that could have been easily avoided had the Federal government listened to me, rather than Big Tech companies who were only interested in selling them expensive DoD 5015.2-certified solutions, knowing full well that they provided no real value.  

Preventing these tragedies is why I continue to fight the global war on records management despite the enormous personal cost to me and my family.

This is also why I am asking for your help.

_______________________________________________

Last fall I worked with my Congressional Representative, Bill Posey, to draft the following letter to be sent to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, as well as the House Committee on Armed Services:

Please read this letter carefully. Congressman Posey and I are asking both Committees for approval of a study of Federal agency information lifecycle management (i.e., records management) by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA). We believe this study would uncover some of the fundamental problems with agency records management that inhibit government accountability and transparency and hinder national security and personal privacy.

I am also hoping the results of the NAPA study would be the first step in exposing the powerful organizations that are so bent on destroying our centuries-old, vitally important profession.

This letter was sent to both Committees on October 19, 2020. But I’m sure it doesn’t surprise anyone when I say Washington works very slowly and it wasn’t until early last March that I was finally able to speak separately with staffers from both the Majority side and the Minority side of the Oversight Committee.

I was given less than an hour with both sets of staffers and I did my best to explain this extremely complicated problem to them as quickly and clearly as I could. Given that Federal records management failures are the primary cause of agency data breaches, I had hoped that the staffers would understand how critically urgent exposing and addressing this crisis has become.

Both groups of staffers seemed to listen to what I had to say and asked relevant questions. The Majority staffers promised to follow up with a list of questions they wanted me to address. The Minority staffers similarly promised that I would hear from them soon. But sadly, it has been nearly three months since I spoke to either group of staffers and neither Congressman Posey nor I have heard from anyone on either side of the Committee.

I have now become concerned that my short time with the Oversight staffers wasn’t enough to make them understand the basics of this problem and why it needs to be brought before the Committee as soon as possible.

This is where you come in. I need every concerned records management professional reading this to contact your Congressional representative and ask him or her for the status of Congressman Posey’s letter to the House Oversight Committee requesting a NAPA study of Federal records management. (If necessary, you can find your representative’s name and contact information here.) 

I need everyone to do this, regardless of your Congressional district. These people work for you and you will only be asking them to do their job. (Some might even appreciate the opportunity to do something meaningful.)

Please let me know when you’ve contacted your representative and what he or she has to tell you. You can reach me anytime via Twitter DM at @donlueders or by encrypted email at don(dot)lueders ‘at’ protonmail.com.

We cannot continue to lose this war on records management. There’s far too much at stake. Getting this NAPA study approved by Congress will be a small victory for our profession, but it will undoubtedly put us on the right path toward eventual victory in the war on records management.

Thanks in advance for your help,

Don Lueders, CRM