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News Release


Release No: 646-97
December 01, 1997


Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense (Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence) Anthony Valletta has approved a design criteria standard for electronic records management software to be used throughout the Department of Defense. This standard defines the basic legislative, operational and regulatory requirements to be met by records management products bought by the Department of Defense. Commercial products conforming to the standard should be available in early 1998.

This standard, known officially as the Design Criteria Standard for Electronic Records Management Software Applications, DoD 5015.2-STD, marks the first time a federal agency has developed formal criteria for electronic records management.

In addition to the standard, a software test suite and records management software applications product register have been developed to accompany the standard. All record management software products purchased by the Department of Defense will be selected from certified products listed on that register. The standard is based on legal requirements applicable to all federal agencies. Security of classified records, privacy, Freedom of Information Act, and other requirements that require special handling and safeguarding are not included in this standard and will be addressed next year.

This standard, signed on Nov. 24, 1997, is the culmination of a four-year effort. It began with a DoD Business Process Reengineering Task Force to improve the records management process as the Department moves from paper to electronic based operations. The BPR process, started in 1993, identified several technical and management areas to be addressed, including the need for a standard for electronic records management software applications. A subsequent DoD Records Management Task Force was created in 1995 with direction by the National Archives and Records Administration and membership from DoD components. The DoD standard is a product of that task force's deliberations with coordination within government and interested industry.

Testing for compliance with the standard will be conducted by the Joint Interoperability Test Command of the Defense Information Systems Agency, Ft Huachuca, Ariz. Those commercial-off-the-shelf records products which pass the certification test will be placed on a formal Records Management Software Applications Product Register. A summary test report will also be available on the register. All testing will be conducted on a cost reimbursable basis. Once populated, all software products for records management purchased by the Department of Defense will be certified and listed in this register. The standard is based on legal requirements that are applicable to all federal agencies.

Further information on obtaining product certification--as well as the U.S. Government's records management responsibilities--can be found in the RMA Certification Test and Evaluation Program Plan which also defines roles and responsibilities of participating organizations. Details of the plan and the product register can be found on DISA's Joint Interoperability Test Command home page. [link no longer available]

Criteria for federal records is established by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). In August 1995, NARA issued a revised regulation on records management, emphasizing that electronic mail messages may be records under the Federal Records Act, 44 USC 3301. Electronic messages, documents and files are records when they meet the definition of federal records. A record is any document or material that is made or received in the course of government business, which should be kept as evidence of that business or because it contains valuable information. An electronic record is one that can be read by using a computer or other electronic device.

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