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DOD Wants AI to Help Automate Records Management

A new strategy seeks "an environment where DoD records are automatically identified and captured, expertly curated, and systemically governed."

The Pentagon's new 34-page records strategy aims to use automation, artificial intelligence, and cloud services to reduce the administrative burden associated with records management. 

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said in a statement accompanying the strategy that it was designed to help create an environment across the department where records are "automatically identified and captured, expertly curated and systemically governed."

Released on Monday, the strategy calls for DOD to automate records processes for all users, noting how automated records management can streamline and further integrate records into daily operations, and says automation should be fully integrated "into the design, development, enhancement and implementation of electronic information systems." 

The strategy also recommends using emerging technologies and cloud-based shared services to minimize user burden, and adds that the "application of AI and machine learning techniques may improve curation processes as well."

Previous reports have identified problems with the Defense Department’s records management practices, including an inspection conducted by the National Archives for fiscal years 2017 through 2021 that said key areas of the enterprise had not fully integrated adequate records management oversight. 

The inspection also found that DOD records management offices lacked sufficient resources to manage such large programs across the department's U.S.-based and overseas operations. 

The strategy outlines four key enablers to meet its curation, automation, and governance goals: the implementation and strategic use of a DOD records schedule to support interoperability with a "machine-readable roadmap" of its digital assets; updating metadata practices to make records findable and trustworthy; providing guidance for electronic records management and developing a records management workforce with the necessary skill sets to meet the goals outlined in the strategy. 

The strategy requires the Pentagon's chief information officer to report on progress in 45 days.