July 15, 1994
MEMORANDUM FOR HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS
SUBJECT: Management of Federal Information Resources
4. Applicability and Scope
7. Basic Considerations and Assumptions
9. Assignment of Responsibilities
13. Sunset Review Date
b. Information classified for national security purposes should also be handled in accordance with the appropriate national security directives. National security emergency preparedness activities should be conducted in accordance with Executive Order No. 12472.
b. The term "audiovisual production" means a unified presentation, developed according to a plan or script, containing visual imagery, sound or both, and used to convey information.
c. The term "dissemination" means the government initiated distribution of information to the public. Not considered dissemination within the meaning of this Circular is distribution limited to government employees or agency contractors or grantees, intra-or inter-agency use or sharing of government information, and responses to requests for agency records under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) or Privacy Act.
d. The term "full costs," when applied to the expenses incurred in the operation of an information processing service organization (IPSO), is comprised of all direct, indirect, general, and administrative costs incurred in the operation of an IPSO. These costs include, but are not limited to, personnel, equipment, software, supplies, contracted services from private sector providers, space occupancy, intra-agency services from within the agency, inter-agency services from other Federal agencies, other services that are provided by State and local governments, and Judicial and Legislative branch organizations.
e. The term "government information" means information created, collected, processed, disseminated, or disposed of by or for the Federal Government.
f. The term "government publication" means information which is published as an individual document at government expense, or as required by law. (44 U.S.C. 1901)
g. The term "information" means any communication or representation of knowledge such as facts, data, or opinions in any medium or form, including textual, numerical, graphic, cartographic, narrative, or audiovisual forms.
h. The term "information dissemination product" means any book, paper, map, machine-readable material, audiovisual production, or other documentary material, regardless of physical form or characteristic, disseminated by an agency to the public.
i. The term "information life cycle" means the stages through which information passes, typically characterized as creation or collection, processing, dissemination, use, storage, and disposition.
j. The term "information management" means the planning, budgeting, manipulating, and controlling of information throughout its life cycle.
k. The term "information resources" includes both government information and information technology.
l. The term "information processing services organization" (IPSO) means a discrete set of personnel, information technology, and support equipment with the primary function of providing services to more than one agency on a reimbursable basis.
m. The term "information resources management" means the process of managing information resources to accomplish agency missions. The term encompasses both information itself and the related resources, such as personnel, equipment, funds, and information technology.
n. The term "information system" means a discrete set of information resources organized for the collection, processing, maintenance, transmission, and dissemination of information, in accordance with defined procedures, whether automated or manual.
o. The term "information system life cycle" means the phases through which an information system passes, typically characterized as initiation, development, operation, and termination.
p. The term "information technology" means the hardware and software operated by a Federal agency or by a contractor of a Federal agency or other organization that processes information on behalf of the Federal government to accomplish a Federal function, regardless of the technology involved, whether computers, telecommunications, or others. It includes automatic data processing equipment as that term is defined in Section 111(a)(2) of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949. For the purposes of this Circular, automatic data processing and telecommunications activities related to certain critical national security missions, as defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(2) and 10 U.S.C. 2315, are excluded.
q. The term "major information system" means an information system that requires special management attention because of its importance to an agency mission; its high development, operating, or maintenance costs; or its significant role in the administration of agency programs, finances, property, or other resources.
r. The term "records" means all books, papers, maps, photographs, machine-readable materials, or other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by an agency of the United States Government under Federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business and preserved or appropriate for preservation by that agency or its legitimate successor as evidence of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the government or because of the informational value of the data in them. Library and museum material made or acquired and preserved solely for reference or exhibition purposes, extra copies of documents preserved only for convenience of reference, and stocks of publications and of processed documents are not included. (44 U.S.C. 3301)
s. The term "records management" means the planning, controlling, directing, organizing, training, promoting, and other managerial activities involved with respect to records creation, records maintenance and use, and records disposition in order to achieve adequate and proper documentation of the policies and transactions of the Federal Government and effective and economical management of agency operations. (44 U.S.C. 2901(2))
t. The term "service recipient" means an agency organizational unit, programmatic entity, or chargeable account that receives information processing services from an information processing service organization (IPSO). A service recipient may be either internal or external to the organization responsible for providing information resources services, but normally does not report either to the manager or director of the IPSO or to the same immediate supervisor.
b. Government information is a valuable national resource. It provides the public with knowledge of the government, society, and economy -- past, present, and future. It is a means to ensure the accountability of government, to manage the government's operations, to maintain the healthy performance of the economy, and is itself a commodity in the marketplace.
c. The free flow of information between the government and the public is essential to a democratic society. It is also essential that the government minimize the Federal paperwork burden on the public, minimize the cost of its information activities, and maximize the usefulness of government information.
d. In order to minimize the cost and maximize the usefulness of government information, the expected public and private benefits derived from government information should exceed the public and private costs of the information, recognizing that the benefits to be derived from government information may not always be quantifiable.
e. The nation can benefit from government information disseminated both by Federal agencies and by diverse nonfederal parties, including State and local government agencies, educational and other not-for-profit institutions, and for-profit organizations.
f. Because the public disclosure of government information is essential to the operation of a democracy, the management of Federal information resources should protect the public's right of access to government information.
g. The individual's right to privacy must be protected in Federal Government information activities involving personal information.
h. Systematic attention to the management of government records is an essential component of sound public resources management which ensures public accountability. Together with records preservation, it protects the government's historical record and guards the legal and financial rights of the government and the public.
i. Agency strategic planning can improve the operation of government programs. The application of information resources should support an agency's strategic plan to fulfill its mission. The integration of IRM planning with agency strategic planning promotes the appropriate application of Federal information resources.
j. Because State and local governments are important producers of government information for many areas such as health, social welfare, labor, transportation, and education, the Federal Government must cooperate with these governments in the management of information resources.
k. The open and efficient exchange of scientific and technical government information, subject to applicable national security controls and the proprietary rights of others, fosters excellence in scientific research and effective use of Federal research and development funds.
l. Information technology is not an end in itself. It is one set of resources that can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of Federal program delivery.
m. Federal Government information resources management policies and activities can affect, and be affected by, the information policies and activities of other nations.
n. Users of Federal information resources must have skills, knowledge, and training to manage information resources, enabling the Federal government to effectively serve the public through automated means.
o. The application of up-to-date information technology presents opportunities to promote fundamental changes in agency structures, work processes, and ways of interacting with the public that improve the effectiveness and efficiency of Federal agencies.
p. The availability of government information in diverse media, including electronic formats, permits agencies and the public greater flexibility in using the information.
q. Federal managers with program delivery responsibilities should recognize the importance of information resources management to mission performance.
(b) Consider the effects of their actions on members of the public and ensure consultation with the public as appropriate;
(c) Consider the effects of their actions on State and local governments and ensure consultation with those governments as appropriate;
(d) Seek to satisfy new information needs through interagency or intergovernmental sharing of information, or through commercial sources, where appropriate, before creating or collecting new information;
(e) Integrate planning for information systems with plans for resource allocation and use, including budgeting, acquisition, and use of information technology;
(f) Train personnel in skills appropriate to management of information;
(g) Protect government information commensurate with the risk and magnitude of harm that could result from the loss, misuse, or unauthorized access to or modification of such information;
(h) Use voluntary standards and Federal Information Processing Standards where appropriate or required;
(i) Consider the effects of their actions on the privacy rights of individuals, and ensure that appropriate legal and technical safeguards are implemented;
(j) Record, preserve, and make accessible sufficient information to ensure the management and accountability of agency programs, and to protect the legal and financial rights of the Federal Government;
(k) Incorporate records management and archival functions into the design, development, and implementation of information systems;
(b) The information collection recurs frequently;
(c) The structure, format, and/or definition of the information sought by the information collection does not change significantly over several years;
(d) The agency routinely converts the information collected to electronic format;
(e) A substantial number of the affected public are known to have ready access to the necessary information technology and to maintain the information in electronic form;
(f) Conversion to electronic reporting, if mandatory, will not impose substantial costs or other adverse effects on the public, especially State and local governments and small business entities.
(b) Ensure the ability to access records regardless of form or medium;
(c) In a timely fashion, establish, and obtain the approval of the Archivist of the United States for, retention schedules for Federal records; and
(d) Provide training and guidance as appropriate to all agency officials and employees and contractors regarding their Federal records management responsibilities.
(b) Providing access to agency records under provisions of the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act, subject to the protections and limitations provided for in these Acts;
(c) Providing such other information as is necessary or appropriate for the proper performance of agency functions; and
(d) In determining whether and how to disseminate information to the public, agencies shall:
(ii) Disseminate information dissemination products on equitable and timely terms;
(iii) Take advantage of all dissemination channels, Federal and nonfederal, including State and local governments, libraries and private sector entities, in discharging agency information dissemination responsibilities;
(iv) Help the public locate government information maintained by or for the agency.
(b) Consider whether an information dissemination product available from other Federal or nonfederal sources is equivalent to an agency information dissemination product and reasonably fulfills the dissemination responsibilities of the agency;
(c) Establish and maintain inventories of all agency information dissemination products;
(d) Develop such other aids to locating agency information dissemination products including catalogs and directories, as may reasonably achieve agency information dissemination objectives;
(e) Identify in information dissemination products the source of the information, if from another agency;
(f) Ensure that members of the public with disabilities whom the agency has a responsibility to inform have a reasonable ability to access the information dissemination products;
(g) Ensure that government publications are made available to depository libraries through the facilities of the Government Printing Office, as required by law (44 U.S.C. Part 19);
(h) Provide electronic information dissemination products to the Government Printing Office for distribution to depository libraries;
(i) Establish and maintain communications with members of the public and with State and local governments so that the agency creates information dissemination products that meet their respective needs;
(j) Provide adequate notice when initiating, substantially modifying, or terminating significant information dissemination products; and
(k) Ensure that, to the extent existing information dissemination policies or practices are inconsistent with the requirements of this Circular, a prompt and orderly transition to compliance with the requirements of this Circular is made.
(b) Avoid establishing restrictions or regulations, including the charging of fees or royalties, on the reuse, resale, or redissemination of Federal information dissemination products by the public; and,
(c) Set user charges for information dissemination products at a level sufficient to recover the cost of dissemination but no higher. They shall exclude from calculation of the charges costs associated with original collection and processing of the information. Exceptions to this policy are:
(ii) Where the agency collects, processes, and disseminates the information for the benefit of a specific identifiable group beyond the benefit to the general public;
(iii) Where the agency plans to establish user charges at less than cost of dissemination because of a determination that higher charges would constitute a significant barrier to properly performing the agency's functions, including reaching members of the public whom the agency has a responsibility to inform; or
(iv) Where the Director of OMB determines an exception is warranted.
(b) Electronic media or formats are practical and cost effective ways to provide public access to a large, highly detailed volume of information;
(c) The agency disseminates the product frequently;
(d) The agency knows a substantial portion of users have ready access to the necessary information technology and training to use electronic information dissemination products;
(e) A change to electronic dissemination, as the sole means of disseminating the product, will not impose substantial acquisition or training costs on users, especially State and local governments and small business entities.
(b) Limit the collection of information which identifies individuals to that which is legally authorized and necessary for the proper performance of agency functions;
(c) Limit the sharing of information that identifies individuals or contains proprietary information to that which is legally authorized, and impose appropriate conditions on use where a continuing obligation to ensure the confidentiality of the information exists;
(d) Provide individuals, upon request, access to records about them maintained in Privacy Act systems of records, and permit them to amend such records as are in error consistent with the provisions of the Privacy Act.
b. Information Systems and Information Technology Management
(b) Prepare, and update as necessary throughout the information system life cycle, a benefit-cost analysis for each information system:
(ii) consistent with the methodology described in OMB Circular No. A-94, "Guidelines and Discount Rates for Benefit-Cost Analysis of Federal Programs;" and
(iii) that relies on systematic measures of mission performance, including the:
(c) Conduct benefit-cost analyses to support ongoing management oversight processes that maximize return on investment and minimize financial and operational risk for investments in major information systems on an agency-wide basis; and
(d) Conduct post-implementation reviews of information systems to validate estimated benefits and document effective management practices for broader use.
(b) Information planning that promotes the use of information throughout its life cycle to maximize the usefulness of information, minimize the burden on the public, and preserve the appropriate integrity, availability, and confidentiality of information. It shall specifically address the planning and budgeting for the information collection burden imposed on the public as defined by 5 C.F.R. 1320;
(c) Operational information technology planning that links information technology to anticipated program and mission needs, reflects budget constraints, and forms the basis for budget requests. This planning should result in the preparation and maintenance of an up-to-date five-year plan, as required by 44 U.S.C. 3506, which includes:
(ii) a listing of planned information technology acquisitions;
(iii) an explanation of how the listed major information systems and planned information technology acquisitions relate to each other and support the achievement of the agency's mission; and
(iv) a summary of computer security planning, as required by Section 6 of the Computer Security Act of 1987 (40 U.S.C. 759 note); and
(d) Coordination with other agency planning processes including strategic, human resources, and financial resources.
(b) Provide for periodic review of information systems to determine:
(ii) whether the information system continues to fulfill ongoing and anticipated mission requirements; and
(iii) what level of maintenance is needed to ensure the information system meets mission requirements cost effectively;
(c) Ensure that the official who administers a program supported by an information system is responsible and accountable for the management of that information system throughout its life cycle;
(d) Provide for the appropriate training for users of Federal information resources;
(e) Prescribe Federal information system requirements that do not unduly restrict the prerogatives of State, local, and tribal governments;
(f) Ensure that major information systems proceed in a timely fashion towards agreed-upon milestones in an information system life cycle, meet user requirements, and deliver intended benefits to the agency and affected publics through coordinated decision making about the information, human, financial, and other supporting resources; and
(g) Ensure that financial management systems conform to the requirements of OMB Circular No. A-127, "Financial Management Systems."
(b) Ensure that improvements to existing information systems and the development of planned information systems do not unnecessarily duplicate information systems available within the same agency, from other agencies, or from the private sector;
(c) Share available information systems with other agencies to the extent practicable and legally permissible;
(d) Meet information technology needs through intra-agency and inter-agency sharing, when it is cost effective, before acquiring new information technology resources;
(e) For Information Processing Service Organizations (IPSOs) that have costs in excess of $5 million per year, agencies shall:
(ii) recover the costs incurred for providing IPSO services to all service recipients on an equitable basis commensurate with the costs required to provide those services; and
(iii) document sharing agreements between service recipients and IPSOs; and
(f) Establish a level of security for all information systems that is commensurate with the risk and magnitude of the harm resulting from the loss, misuse, or unauthorized access to or modification of the information contained in these information systems.
(b) Acquire off-the-shelf software from commercial sources, unless the cost effectiveness of developing custom software to meet mission needs is clear and has been documented;
(c) Acquire information technology in accordance with OMB Circular No. A-109, "Acquisition of Major Systems," where appropriate; and
(d) Acquire information technology in a manner that considers the need for accommodations of accessibility for individuals with disabilities to the extent that needs for such access exist.
b. Department of State. The Secretary of State shall:
c. Department of Commerce. The Secretary of Commerce shall:
d. Department of Defense. The Secretary of Defense shall develop, in consultation with the Administrator of General Services, uniform Federal telecommunications standards and guidelines to ensure national security, emergency preparedness, and continuity of government.
e. General Services Administration. The Administrator of General Services shall:
g. National Archives and Records Administration. The Archivist of the United States shall:
h. Office of Management and Budget. The Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall:
b. The Director, OMB, may, upon written request of an agency, grant a waiver from particular requirements of this Circular. Requests for waivers must detail the reasons why a particular waiver is sought, identify the duration of the waiver sought, and include a plan for the prompt and orderly transition to full compliance with the requirements of this Circular. Notice of each waiver request shall be published promptly by the agency in the Federal Register, with a copy of the waiver request made available to the public on request.