CIRCULAR NO. A-130
(Transmittal Memorandum No. 3)
(Accompanying Federal Register Materials - Feb. 1996)
FOR HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS
Management of Federal Information Resources
A-130 provides uniform government-wide information resources management
policies as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980, as
amended by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. Chapter
35. This Transmittal Memorandum contains updated guidance on the
"Security of Federal Automated Information Systems," Appendix III
and makes minor technical revisions to the Circular to reflect the
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (P.L. 104-13). The Circular is reprinted
in its entirety for convenience.
Alice M. Rivlin
(Transmittal Memorandum No. 3)
FOR HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS
Management of Federal Information Resources
4. Applicability and Scope
7. Basic Considerations and Assumptions
9. Assignment of Responsibilities
13. Sunset Review Date
Management Planning. Agencies shall plan in an integrated manner
for managing information throughout its life cycle. Agencies
1. Purpose: This Circular establishes policy for the management
of Federal information resources. Procedural and analytic guidelines
for implementing specific aspects of these policies are included
2. Rescissions: This Circular rescinds OMB Circulars No.
A-3, A-71, A-90, A-108, A-114, and A-121, and all Transmittal Memoranda
to those circulars.
3. Authorities: This Circular is issued pursuant to the Paperwork
Reduction Act (PRA) of 1980, as amended by the Paperwork Reduction
Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35); the Privacy Act, as amended
(5 U.S.C. 552a); the Chief Financial Officers Act (31 U.S.C. 3512
et seq.); the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act,
as amended (40 U.S.C. 759 and 487); the Computer Security Act (40
U.S.C. 759 note); the Budget and Accounting Act, as amended (31
U.S.C. Chapter 11); Executive Order No. 12046 of March 27, 1978;
and Executive Order No. 12472 of April 3, 1984.
4. Applicability and Scope:
policies in this Circular apply to the information activities
of all agencies of the executive branch of the Federal government.
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.
5. Background: The Paperwork Reduction Act establishes a
broad mandate for agencies to perform their information resources
management activities in an efficient, effective, and economical
manner. To assist agencies in an integrated approach to information
resources management, the Act requires that the Director of OMB
develop and implement uniform and consistent information resources
management policies; oversee the development and promote the use
of information management principles, standards, and guidelines;
evaluate agency information resources management practices in order
to determine their adequacy and efficiency; and determine compliance
of such practices with the policies, principles, standards, and
guidelines promulgated by the Director.
term "agency" means any executive department, military department,
government corporation, government controlled corporation, or
other establishment in the executive branch of the Federal government,
or any independent regulatory agency. Within the Executive Office
of the President, the term includes only OMB and the Office of
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.
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.
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
term "government information" means information created, collected,
processed, disseminated, or disposed of by or for the Federal
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)
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.
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.
term "information life cycle" means the stages through which
information passes, typically characterized as creation or collection,
processing, dissemination, use, storage, and disposition.
term "information management" means the planning, budgeting,
manipulating, and controlling of information throughout its
term "information resources" includes both government information
and information technology.
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.
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
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.
term "information system life cycle" means the phases through
which an information system passes, typically characterized
as initiation, development, operation, and termination.
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.
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.
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)
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))
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.
7. Basic Considerations and Assumptions:
Federal Government is the largest single producer, collector,
consumer, and disseminator of information in the United States.
Because of the extent of the government's information activities,
and the dependence of those activities upon public cooperation,
the management of Federal information resources is an issue of
continuing importance to all Federal agencies, State and local
governments, and the public.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
individual's right to privacy must be protected in Federal Government
information activities involving personal information.
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.
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.
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.
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
technology is not an end in itself. It is one set of resources
that can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of Federal
Government information resources management policies and activities
can affect, and be affected by, the information policies and
activities of other nations.
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
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.
availability of government information in diverse media, including
electronic formats, permits agencies and the public greater
flexibility in using the information.
managers with program delivery responsibilities should recognize
the importance of information resources management to mission
Consider, at each stage of the information life cycle, the
effects of decisions and actions on other stages of the life
cycle, particularly those concerning information dissemination;
Consider the effects of their actions on members of the public
and ensure consultation with the public as appropriate;
Consider the effects of their actions on State and local governments
and ensure consultation with those governments as appropriate;
Seek to satisfy new information needs through interagency
or intergovernmental sharing of information, or through commercial
sources, where appropriate, before creating or collecting
Integrate planning for information systems with plans for
resource allocation and use, including budgeting, acquisition,
and use of information technology;
Train personnel in skills appropriate to management of information;
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;
Use voluntary standards and Federal Information Processing
Standards where appropriate or required;
Consider the effects of their actions on the privacy rights
of individuals, and ensure that appropriate legal and technical
safeguards are implemented;
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
Incorporate records management and archival functions into
the design, development, and implementation of information
for public access to records where required or appropriate.
Collection. Agencies shall collect or create only that information
necessary for the proper performance of agency functions and
which has practical utility.
Information Collection. Agencies shall use electronic collection
techniques where such techniques reduce burden on the public,
increase efficiency of government programs, reduce costs to
the government and the public, and/or provide better service
to the public. Conditions favorable to electronic collection
information collection seeks a large volume of data and/or
reaches a large proportion of the public;
The information collection recurs frequently;
The structure, format, and/or definition of the information
sought by the information collection does not change significantly
over several years;
The agency routinely converts the information collected
to electronic format;
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;
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
Management. Agencies shall:
that records management programs provide adequate and proper
documentation of agency activities;
Ensure the ability to access records regardless of form
In a timely fashion, establish, and obtain the approval
of the Archivist of the United States for, retention schedules
for Federal records; and
Provide training and guidance as appropriate to all agency
officials and employees and contractors regarding their
Federal records management responsibilities.
Information to the Public. Agencies have a responsibility to
provide information to the public consistent with their missions.
Agencies shall discharge this responsibility by:
information, as required by law, describing agency organization,
activities, programs, meetings, systems of records, and other
information holdings, and how the public may gain access to
agency information resources;
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
Providing such other information as is necessary or appropriate
for the proper performance of agency functions; and
In determining whether and how to disseminate information
to the public, agencies shall:
Disseminate information in a manner that achieves the best
balance between the goals of maximizing the usefulness of
the information and minimizing the cost to the government
and the public;
(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.
Dissemination Management System. Agencies shall maintain and
implement a management system for all information dissemination
products which shall, at a minimum:
that information dissemination products are necessary for
proper performance of agency functions (44 U.S.C. 1108);
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;
Establish and maintain inventories of all agency information
Develop such other aids to locating agency information dissemination
products including catalogs and directories, as may reasonably
achieve agency information dissemination objectives;
Identify in information dissemination products the source
of the information, if from another agency;
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;
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);
Provide electronic information dissemination products to
the Government Printing Office for distribution to depository
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;
Provide adequate notice when initiating, substantially modifying,
or terminating significant information dissemination products;
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.
Improperly Restrictive Practices. Agencies shall:
establishing, or permitting others to establish on their behalf,
exclusive, restricted, or other distribution arrangements
that interfere with the availability of information dissemination
products on a timely and equitable basis;
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,
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:
Where statutory requirements are at variance with the policy;
(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
Information Dissemination. Agencies shall use electronic media
and formats, including public networks, as appropriate and within
budgetary constraints, in order to make government information
more easily accessible and useful to the public. The use of
electronic media and formats for information dissemination is
appropriate under the following conditions:
agency develops and maintains the information electronically;
Electronic media or formats are practical and cost effective
ways to provide public access to a large, highly detailed
volume of information;
The agency disseminates the product frequently;
The agency knows a substantial portion of users have ready
access to the necessary information technology and training
to use electronic information dissemination products;
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.
that information is protected commensurate with the risk and
magnitude of the harm that would result from the loss, misuse,
or unauthorized access to or modification of such information;
Limit the collection of information which identifies individuals
to that which is legally authorized and necessary for the
proper performance of agency functions;
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;
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.
Systems and Information Technology Management
and Performance Measurement. Agencies shall promote the appropriate
application of Federal information resources as follows:
opportunities to improve the effectiveness and efficiency
of government programs through work process redesign and the
judicious application of information technology;
Prepare, and update as necessary throughout the information
system life cycle, a benefit-cost analysis for each information
at a level of detail appropriate to the size of the investment;
(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,
effectiveness of program delivery; (b) efficiency of program
administration; and (c) reduction in burden, including
information collection burden, imposed on the public;
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
Conduct post-implementation reviews of information systems
to validate estimated benefits and document effective management
practices for broader use.
Information Resources Management (IRM) Planning. Agencies shall
establish and maintain strategic information resources management
planning processes which include the following components:
IRM planning that addresses how the management of information
resources promotes the fulfillment of an agency's mission.
This planning process should support the development and maintenance
of a strategic IRM plan that reflects and anticipates changes
in the agency's mission, policy direction, technological capabilities,
or resource levels;
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;
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:
a listing of existing and planned major information systems;
(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
Coordination with other agency planning processes including
strategic, human resources, and financial resources.
Systems Management Oversight. Agencies shall establish information
system management oversight mechanisms that:
that each information system meets agency mission requirements;
Provide for periodic review of information systems to determine:
how mission requirements might have changed;
(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;
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;
Provide for the appropriate training for users of Federal
Prescribe Federal information system requirements that do
not unduly restrict the prerogatives of State, local, and
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
Ensure that financial management systems conform to the
requirements of OMB Circular No. A-127, "Financial Management
Information Resources. Agencies shall create and maintain management
and technical frameworks for using information resources that
document linkages between mission needs, information content,
and information technology capabilities. These frameworks should
guide both strategic and operational IRM planning. They should
also address steps necessary to create an open systems environment.
Agencies shall implement the following principles:
information systems in a manner that facilitates necessary
interoperability, application portability, and scalability
of computerized applications across networks of heterogeneous
hardware, software, and communications platforms;
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
Share available information systems with other agencies
to the extent practicable and legally permissible;
Meet information technology needs through intra-agency and
inter-agency sharing, when it is cost effective, before
acquiring new information technology resources;
For Information Processing Service Organizations (IPSOs)
that have costs in excess of $5 million per year, agencies
account for the full costs of operating all IPSOs;
(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
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
of Information Technology. Agencies shall:
information technology in a manner that makes use of full
and open competition and that maximizes return on investment;
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;
Acquire information technology in accordance with OMB Circular
No. A-109, "Acquisition of Major Systems," where appropriate;
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
9. Assignment of Responsibilities:
Federal Agencies. The head of each agency shall:
primary responsibility for managing agency information resources;
that the information policies, principles, standards, guidelines,
rules, and regulations prescribed by OMB are implemented appropriately
within the agency;
internal agency information policies and procedures and oversee,
evaluate, and otherwise periodically review agency information
resources management activities for conformity with the policies
set forth in this Circular;
agency policies and procedures that provide for timely acquisition
of required information technology;
an inventory of the agencies' major information systems, holdings
and information dissemination products, as required by 44
and enforce applicable records management policies and procedures,
including requirements for archiving information maintained
in electronic format, particularly in the planning, design
and operation of information systems.
to the Director, OMB, statutory, regulatory, and other impediments
to efficient management of Federal information resources and
recommend to the Director legislation, policies, procedures,
and other guidance to improve such management;
OMB in the performance of its functions under the PRA including
making services, personnel, and facilities available to OMB
for this purpose to the extent practicable;
a senior official, as required by 44 U.S.C. 3506(a), who shall
report directly to the agency head to carry out the responsibilities
of the agency under the PRA. The head of the agency shall
keep the Director, OMB, advised as to the name, title, authority,
responsibilities, and organizational resources of the senior
official. For purposes of this paragraph, military departments
and the Office of the Secretary of Defense may each appoint
the senior official appointed pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 3506(a)
to monitor agency compliance with the policies, procedures,
and guidance in this Circular. Acting as an ombudsman, the
senior official shall consider alleged instances of agency
failure to comply with this Circular and recommend or take
corrective action as appropriate. The senior official shall
report annually, not later than February 1st of each year,
to the Director those instances of alleged failure to comply
with this Circular and their resolution.
of State. The Secretary of State shall:
the Director, OMB, on the development of United States positions
and policies on international information policy issues affecting
Federal Government information activities and ensure that
such positions and policies are consistent with Federal information
resources management policy;
in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce, that the United
States is represented in the development of international
information technology standards, and advise the Director,
OMB, of such activities.
of Commerce. The Secretary of Commerce shall:
and issue Federal Information Processing Standards and guidelines
necessary to ensure the efficient and effective acquisition,
management, security, and use of information technology;
the Director, OMB, on the development of policies relating
to the procurement and management of Federal telecommunications
OMB and the agencies with scientific and technical advisory
services relating to the development and use of information
studies and evaluations concerning telecommunications technology,
and concerning the improvement, expansion, testing, operation,
and use of Federal telecommunications systems and advise the
Director, OMB, and appropriate agencies of the recommendations
that result from such studies;
in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director
of OMB, plans, policies, and programs relating to international
telecommunications issues affecting government information
needs for standardization of telecommunications and information
processing technology, and develop standards, in consultation
with the Secretary of Defense and the Administrator of General
Services, to ensure efficient application of such technology;
that the Federal Government is represented in the development
of national and, in consultation with the Secretary of State,
international information technology standards, and advise
the Director, OMB, of such activities.
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.
Services Administration. The Administrator of General Services
of Personnel Management. The Director, Office of Personnel Management,
the Director, OMB, and agency heads on matters affecting the
procurement of information technology;
and, when required, provide for the purchase, lease, and maintenance
of information technology required by Federal agencies;
criteria for timely procurement of information technology
and delegate procurement authority to agencies that comply
with the criteria;
guidelines and regulations for Federal agencies, as authorized
by law, on the acquisition, maintenance, and disposition of
information technology, and for implementation of Federal
Information Processing Standards;
policies and guidelines that facilitate the sharing of information
technology among agencies as required by this Circular;
the Information Technology Fund in accordance with the Federal
Property and Administrative Services Act as amended;
and conduct training programs for Federal personnel on information
resources management including end-user computing;
periodically future personnel management and staffing requirements
for Federal information resources management;
personnel security policies and develop training programs
for Federal personnel associated with the design, operation,
or maintenance of information systems.
Archives and Records Administration. The Archivist of the United
the Federal records management program in accordance with
the National Archives and Records Act;
the Director, OMB, in developing standards and guidelines
relating to the records management program.
of Management and Budget. The Director of the Office of Management
and Budget shall:
overall leadership and coordination of Federal information
resources management within the executive branch;
as the President's principal adviser on procurement and management
of Federal telecommunications systems, and develop and establish
policies for procurement and management of such systems;
policies, procedures, and guidelines to assist agencies in
achieving integrated, effective, and efficient information
and review proposals for changes in legislation, regulations,
and agency procedures to improve Federal information resources
and approve or disapprove agency proposals for collection
of information from the public, as defined by 5 CFR 1320.3;
and maintain a Governmentwide strategic plan for information
agencies' information resources management and identify cross-cutting
information policy issues through the review of agency information
programs, information collection budgets, information technology
acquisition plans, fiscal budgets, and by other means;
policy oversight for the Federal records management function
conducted by the National Archives and Records Administration,
coordinate records management policies and programs with other
information activities, and review compliance by agencies
with records management requirements;
agencies' policies, practices, and programs pertaining to
the security, protection, sharing, and disclosure of information,
in order to ensure compliance, with respect to privacy and
security, with the Privacy Act, the Freedom of Information
Act, the Computer Security Act and related statutes;
information technology procurement disputes between agencies
and the General Services Administration pursuant to Section
111 of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act;
proposed U.S. Government Position and Policy statements on
international issues affecting Federal Government information
activities and advise the Secretary of State as to their consistency
with Federal information resources management policy.
the development and review by the Office of Information and
Regulatory Affairs of policy associated with Federal procurement
and acquisition of information technology with the Office
of Federal Procurement Policy.
Director, OMB, will use information technology planning reviews,
fiscal budget reviews, information collection budget reviews,
management reviews, and such other measures as the Director deems
necessary to evaluate the adequacy and efficiency of each agency's
information resources management and compliance with this Circular.
Director, OMB, may, consistent with statute and 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.
11. Effectiveness: This Circular is effective upon issuance.
Nothing in this Circular shall be construed to confer a private
right of action on any person.
12. Inquiries: All questions or inquiries should be addressed
to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management
and Budget, Washington, D.C. 20503. Telephone: (202) 395-3785.
13. Sunset Review Date: OMB will review this Circular three
years from the date of issuance to ascertain its effectiveness.
I to OMB Circular No. A-130 -
Federal Agency Responsibilities for Maintaining Records About
describes agency responsibilities for implementing the reporting
and publication requirements of the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C.
552a, as amended (hereinafter "the Act"). It applies to all agencies
subject to the Act. Note that this Appendix does not rescind other
guidance OMB has issued to help agencies interpret the Privacy Act's
provisions, e.g., Privacy Act Guidelines (40 FR 28949-28978, July
9, 1975), or Final Guidance for Conducting Matching Programs (54
FR at 25819, June 19, 1989).
The terms "agency," "individual," "maintain," "matching program,"
"record," "system of records," and "routine use," as used in this
Appendix, are defined in the Act (5 U.S.C. 552a(a)).
Agency. Generally, the Recipient Federal agency (or the Federal
source agency in a match conducted by a nonfederal agency) is
the matching agency and is responsible for meeting the reporting
and publication requirements associated with the matching program.
However, in large, multi-agency matching programs, where the recipient
agency is merely performing the matches and the benefit accrues
to the source agencies, the partners should assign responsibility
for compliance with the administrative requirements in a fair
and reasonable way. This may mean having the matching agency carry
out these requirements for all parties, having one participant
designated to do so, or having each source agency do so for its
own matching program(s).
Agency. Nonfederal agencies are State or local governmental agencies
receiving or providing records in a matching program with a Federal
Agency. Recipient agencies are Federal agencies or their contractors
receiving automated records from the Privacy Act systems of records
of other Federal agencies, or from State or local governments,
to be used in a matching program as defined in the Act.
Agency. A source agency is a Federal agency that discloses automated
records from a system of records to another Federal agency or
to a State or local agency to be used in a matching program. It
is also a State or local agency that discloses records to a Federal
agency for use in a matching program.
All Federal Agencies. In addition to meeting the agency requirements
contained in the Act and the specific reporting and publication
requirements detailed in this Appendix, the head of each agency
shall ensure that the following reviews are conducted as often as
specified below, and be prepared to report to the Director, OMB,
the results of such reviews and the corrective action taken to resolve
problems uncovered. The head of each agency shall:
(1) Section (m) Contracts. Review every two years a random sample
of agency contracts that provide for the maintenance of a system
of records on behalf of the agency to accomplish an agency function,
in order to ensure that the wording of each contract makes the
provisions of the Act binding on the contractor and his or her
employees. (See 5 U.S.C. 552a(m)(1))
Practices. Review biennially agency recordkeeping and disposal
policies and practices in order to assure compliance with the
Act, paying particular attention to the maintenance of automated
Use Disclosures. Review every four years the routine use disclosures
associated with each system of records in order to ensure that
the recipient's use of such records continues to be compatible
with the purpose for which the disclosing agency collected the
of Systems of Records. Review every four years each system of
records for which the agency has promulgated exemption rules
pursuant to Section (j) or (k) of the Act in order to determine
whether such exemption is still needed.
Programs. Review annually each ongoing matching program in which
the agency has participated during the year in order to ensure
that the requirements of the Act, the OMB guidance, and any
agency regulations, operating instructions, or guidelines have
Act Training. Review biennially agency training practices in
order to ensure that all agency personnel are familiar with
the requirements of the Act, with the agency's implementing
regulation, and with any special requirements of their specific
Review biennially the actions of agency personnel that have
resulted either in the agency being found civilly liable under
Section (g) of the Act, or an employee being found criminally
liable under the provisions of Section (i) of the Act, in order
to determine the extent of the problem, and to find the most
effective way to prevent recurrence of the problem.
of Records Notices. Review biennially each system of records
notice to ensure that it accurately describes the system of
records. Where minor changes are needed, e.g., the name of the
system manager, ensure that an amended notice is published in
the Federal Register. Agencies may choose to make one annual
comprehensive publication consolidating such minor changes.
This requirement is distinguished from and in addition to the
requirement to report to OMB and Congress significant changes
to systems of records and to publish those changes in the Federal
Register (See paragraph 4c of this Appendix).
of Commerce. The Secretary of Commerce shall, consistent with
guidelines issued by the Director, OMB, develop and issue standards
and guidelines for ensuring the security of information protected
by the Act in automated information systems.
c. The Department
of Defense, General Services Administration, and National Aeronautics
and Space Administration. These agencies shall, consistent with
guidelines issued by the Director, OMB, ensure that instructions
are issued on what agencies must do in order to comply with the
requirements of Section (m) of the Act when contracting for the
operation of a system of records to accomplish an agency purpose.
of Personnel Management. The Director of the Office of Personnel
Management shall, consistent with guidelines issued by the Director,
(1) Develop and maintain government-wide standards and procedures
for civilian personnel information processing and recordkeeping
directives to assure conformance with the Act.
and conduct Privacy Act training programs for agency personnel,
including both the conduct of courses in various substantive
areas (e.g., administrative, information technology) and the
development of materials that agencies can use in their own
courses. The assignment of this responsibility to OPM does not
affect the responsibility of individual agency heads for developing
and conducting training programs tailored to the specific needs
of their own personnel.
Archives and Records Administration. The Archivist of the United
States through the Office of the Federal Register, shall, consistent
with guidelines issued by the Director, OMB:
(1) Issue instructions on the format of the agency notices and
rules required to be published under the Act.
and publish every two years, the rules promulgated under 5 U.S.C.
552a(f) and agency notices published under 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(4)
in a form available to the public at low cost.
procedures governing the transfer of records to Federal Records
Centers for storage, processing, and servicing pursuant to 44
U.S.C. 3103. For purposes of the Act, such records are considered
to be maintained by the agency that deposited them. The Archivist
may disclose deposited records only according to the access
rules established by the agency that deposited them.
of Management and Budget. The Director of the Office of Management
and Budget will:
(1) Issue guidelines and directives to the agencies to implement
the agencies, at their request, in implementing their Privacy
new and altered system of records and matching program reports
submitted pursuant to Section (o) of the Act.
the biennial report of the President to Congress in accordance
with Section (s) of the Act.
and issue a biennial report on the agencies' implementation
of the computer matching provisions of the Privacy Act, pursuant
to Section (u)(6) of the Act.
Requirements. The Privacy Act requires agencies to make the
following kinds of reports:
Privacy Act Report
June 30, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002
Matching Activity Report
June 30, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002
of Records Report
When establishing a system of records - at least 40 days before
operating the system*
Administrator, OIRA, Congress
System of Records Report
When adding a new routine use, exemption, or otherwise significantly
altering an existing system of records - at least 40 days before
change to system takes place*
Administrator, OIRA, Congress
When establishing a new matching program - at least 40 days before
operating the program*
Administrator, OIRA, Congress
of Existing Matching Program
At least 40 days prior to expiration of any one year extension
of the original program - treat as a new program
Administrator, OIRA, Congress
When making a significant change to an existing matching program
- at least 40 days before operating an altered program*
Administrator, OIRA, Congress
At least 40 days prior to the start of a matching program*
Period: Note that the statutory reporting requirement is 30 days
prior; the additional ten days will ensure that OMB and Congress
have sufficient time to review the proposal. Agencies should therefore
ensure that reports are mailed expeditiously after being signed.
Addresses: At bottom of envelope print "PRIVACY ACT REPORT"
The Chair of the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight,
2157 RHOB, Washington, D.C. 20515-6143.
The Chair of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, 340
SDOB, Washington, D.C. 20510-6250.
Management and Budget:
The Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory
Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, ATTN: Docket Library,
NEOB Room 10012, Washington, D.C. 20503.
Privacy Act Report. To provide the necessary information for
the biennial report of the President, agencies shall submit a
biennial report to OMB, covering their Privacy Act activities
for the calendar years covered by the reporting period. The exact
format of the report will be established by OMB. At a minimum,
however, agencies should collect and be prepared to report the
following data on a calendar year basis:
(1) A listing of publication activity during the year showing
Number of Systems of Records (Exempt/NonExempt)
of New Systems of Records Added (Exempt/NonExempt)
Routine Uses Added
Exemptions Added to Existing Systems
Exemptions Deleted from Existing Systems
Number of Automated Systems of Records (Exempt/NonExempt)
should provide a brief narrative describing those activities
in detail, e.g., "the Department added a (k)(1) exemption to
an existing system of records entitled "Investigative Records
of the Office of Investigations;" or "the agency added a new
routine use to a system of records entitled "Employee Health
Records" that would permit disclosure of health data to researchers
under contract to the agency to perform workplace risk analysis."
brief description of any public comments received on agency
publication and implementation activities, and agency response.
of access and amendment requests from record subjects citing
the Privacy Act that were received during the calendar year
of the report. Also the disposition of requests from any year
that were completed during the calendar year of the report:
Number of Access Requests
Number Granted in Whole
Number Granted in Part
Number Wholly Denied
Number For Which No Record Found
Amendment Requests Number Granted in Whole
Number Granted in Part
Number Wholly Denied
of Appeals of Denials of Access
Number Granted in Whole
Number Granted in Part
Number Wholly Denied
Number For Which No Record Found
of Appeals of Denials of Amendment
Number Granted in Whole
Number Granted in Part
Number Wholly Denied
of instances in which individuals brought suit under section
(g) of the Privacy Act against the agency and the results of
any such litigation that resulted in a change to agency practices
or affected guidance issued by OMB.
of the reviews undertaken in response to paragraph 3a of this
of agency Privacy Act training activities conducted in accordance
with paragraph 3a(6) of this Appendix.
Matching Activity Report (See 5 U.S.C. 552a(u)(3)(D)). At
the end of each calendar year, the Data Integrity Board of each
agency that has participated in a matching program will collect
data summarizing that year's matching activity. The Act requires
that such activity be reported every two years. OMB will establish
the exact format of the report, but agencies' Data Integrity Boards
should be prepared to report the data identified below both to
the agency head and to OMB:
(1) A listing of the names and positions of the members of the
Data Integrity Board and showing separately the name of the Board
Secretary, his or her agency mailing address, and telephone number.
Also show and explain any changes in membership or structure occurring
during the reporting year.
listing of each matching program, by title and purpose, in which
the agency participated during the reporting year. This listing
should show names of participant agencies, give a brief description
of the program, and give a page citation and the date of the
Federal Register notice describing the program.
each matching program, an indication of whether the cost/benefit
analysis performed resulted in a favorable ratio. The Data Integrity
Board should explain why the agency proceeded with any matching
program for which an unfavorable ratio was reached.
each program for which the Board waived a cost/benefit analysis,
the reasons for the waiver and the results of the match, if
description of any matching agreement the Board rejected and
an explanation of the rejection.
listing of any violations of matching agreements that have been
alleged or identified, and a discussion of any action taken.
discussion of any litigation involving the agency's participation
in any matching program.
any litigation based on allegations of inaccurate records, an
explanation of the steps the agency used to ensure the integrity
of its data as well as the verification process it used in the
matching program, including an assessment of the adequacy of
and Altered System of Records Report. The Act requires agencies
to publish notices in the Federal Register describing new or altered
systems of records, and to submit reports to OMB, and to the Chair
of the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight of the House
of Representatives, and the Chair of the Committee on Governmental
Affairs of the Senate. The reports must be transmitted at least
40 days prior to the operation of the new system of records or
the date on which the alteration to an existing system takes place.
(1) Which Alterations Require a Report. Minor changes to systems
of records need not be reported. For example, a change in the
designation of the system manager due to a reorganization would
not require a report, so long as an individual's ability to gain
access to his or her records is not affected. Other examples include
changing applicable safeguards as a result of a risk analysis
or deleting a routine use when there is no longer a need for the
disclosure. The following changes are those for which a report
d. New or
Altered Matching Program Report. The Act requires agencies to
publish notices in the Federal Register describing new or altered
matching programs, and to submit reports to OMB, and to Congress.
The report must be received at least 40 days prior to the initiation
of any matching activity carried out under a new or substantially
altered matching program. For renewals of continuing programs, the
report must be dated at least 40 days prior to the expiration of
any existing matching agreement.
(a) A significant increase in the number, type, or category
of individuals about whom records are maintained. For example,
a system covering physicians that has been expanded to include
other types of health care providers, e.g., nurses, technicians,
etc., would require a report. Increases attributable to normal
growth should not be reported.
Changes to Multiple Systems of Records. When an agency makes a
change to an information technology installation or a telecommunication
network, or makes any other general changes in information collection,
processing, dissemination, or storage that affect multiple systems
of records, it may submit a single, consolidated report, with
changes to existing notices and supporting documentation included
in the submission.
A change that expands the types or categories of information
maintained. For example, a benefit system which originally
included only earned income information that has been expanded
to include unearned income information.
A change that alters the purpose for which the information
A change to equipment configuration (either hardware or software)
that creates substantially greater access to the records in
the system of records. For example, locating interactive terminals
at regional offices for accessing a system formerly accessible
only at the headquarters would require a report.
The addition of an exemption pursuant to Section (j) or (k)
of the Act. Note that, in examining a rulemaking for a Privacy
Act exemption as part of a report of a new or altered system
of records, OMB will also review the rule under applicable
regulatory review procedures and agencies need not make a
separate submission for that purpose.
The addition of a routine use pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(3).
of the New or Altered System Report. The report for a new or
altered system has three elements: a transmittal letter, a narrative
statement, and supporting documentation.
(a) Transmittal Letter. The transmittal letter should be signed
by the senior agency official responsible for implementation
of the Act within the agency and should contain the name and
telephone number of the individual who can best answer questions
about the system of records. The letter should contain the agency's
assurance that the proposed system does not duplicate any existing
agency or government-wide systems of records. The letter sent
to OMB may also include a request for waiver of the time period
for the review. The agency should indicate why it cannot meet
the established review period and the consequences of not obtaining
the waiver. (See paragraph 4e below.) There is no prescribed
format for the letter.
Narrative Statement. There is also no prescribed format for
the narrative statement, but it should be brief. It should
make reference, as appropriate, to information in the supporting
documentation rather than restating such information. The
1. Describe the purpose for which the agency is establishing
the system of records.
Identify the authority under which the system of records
is maintained. The agency should avoid citing housekeeping
statutes, but rather cite the underlying programmatic authority
for collecting, maintaining, and using the information.
When the system is being operated to support an agency housekeeping
program, e.g., a carpool locator, the agency may, however,
cite a general housekeeping statute that authorizes the
agency head to keep such records as necessary.
Provide the agency's evaluation of the probable or potential
effect of the proposal on the privacy of individuals.
Provide a brief description of the steps taken by the agency
to minimize the risk of unauthorized access to the system
of records. A more detailed assessment of the risks and
specific administrative, technical, procedural, and physical
safeguards established shall be made available to OMB upon
Explain how each proposed routine use satisfies the compatibility
requirement of subsection (a)(7) of the Act. For altered
systems, this requirement pertains only to any newly proposed
Provide OMB Control Numbers, expiration dates, and titles
of any information collection requests (e.g., forms, surveys,
etc.) contained in the system of records and approved by
OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act. If the request for
OMB clearance of an information collection is pending, the
agency may simply state the title of the collection and
the date it was submitted for OMB clearance.
Supporting Documentation. Attach the following to all new
or altered system of records reports:
1. A copy of the new or altered system of records notice consistent
with the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(4). The notice must
appear in the format prescribed by the Office of the Federal
Register's Document Drafting Handbook. For proposed altered
systems the agency should supply a copy of the original system
of records notice to ensure that reviewers can understand
the changes proposed. If the sole change to an existing system
of records is to add a routine use, the agency should either
republish the entire system of records notice, a condensed
description of the system of records, or a citation to the
last full text Federal Register publication.
A copy in Federal Register format of any new exemption rules
or changes to published rules (consistent with the provisions
of 5 U.S.C. 552a(f),(j), or (k)) that the agency proposes
to issue for the new or altered system.
Review. OMB will review reports under 5 U.S.C. 552a(r) and provide
comments if appropriate. Agencies may assume that OMB concurs
in the Privacy Act aspects of their proposal if OMB has not
commented within 40 days from the date the transmittal letter
was signed. Agencies should ensure that letters are transmitted
expeditiously after they are signed.
of Systems of Records Reports. Agencies may publish system of
records and routine use notices as well as proposed exemption
rules in the Federal Register at the same time that they send
the new or altered system report to OMB and Congress. The period
for OMB and congressional review and the notice and comment
period for routine uses and exemptions will then run concurrently.
Note that exemptions must be published as final rules before
they are effective.
(1) When to Report Altered Matching Programs. Agencies need not
report minor changes to matching programs. The term "minor change
to a matching program" means a change that does not significantly
alter the terms of the agreement under which the program is being
carried out. Examples of significant changes include:
(a) Changing the purpose for which the program was established.
Changing the matching population, either by including new
categories of record subjects or by greatly increasing the
numbers of records matched.
Changing the legal authority covering the matching program.
Changing the source or recipient agencies involved in the
of New or Altered Matching Program Report. The report for a
new or altered matching program has three elements: a transmittal
letter, a narrative statement, and supporting documentation
that includes a copy of the proposed Federal Register notice.
(a) Transmittal Letter. The transmittal letter should be signed
by the senior agency official responsible for implementation
of the Privacy Act within the agency and should contain the
name and telephone number of the individual who can best answer
questions about the matching program. The letter should state
that a copy of the matching agreement has been distributed to
Congress as the Act requires. The letter to OMB may also include
a request for waiver of the review time period. (See 4e below.)
Narrative Statement. There is no prescribed format for the
narrative statement, but it should be brief. It should make
reference, as appropriate, to information in the supporting
documentation rather than restating such information. The
statement should provide:
1. A description of the purpose of the matching program and
the authority under which it is being carried out.
A description of the security safeguards used to protect
against any unauthorized access or disclosure of records
used in the match.
If the cost/benefit analysis required by Section (u)(4)(A)
indicated an unfavorable ratio or was waived pursuant to
OMB guidance, an explanation of the basis on which the agency
justifies conducting the match.
Supporting Documentation. Attach the following:
1. A copy of the Federal Register notice describing the matching
program. The notice must appear in the format prescribed by
the Office of the Federal Register's Document Drafting Handbook.
(See 5b (3).)
For the Congressional report only, a copy of the matching
OMB Review. OMB will review reports under 5 U.S.C. 552a(r)
and provide comments if appropriate. Agencies may assume
that OMB concurs in the Privacy Act aspects of their proposal
if OMB has not commented within 40 days from the date the
transmittal letter was signed.
Timing of Matching Program Reports. Agencies should ensure
that letters are transmitted expeditiously after they are
signed. Agencies may publish matching program notices in
the Federal Register at the same time that they send the
matching program report to OMB and Congress. The period
for OMB and congressional review and the notice and comment
period will then run concurrently.
Review. The Director, OMB, may grant a waiver of the 40-day
review period for either systems of records or matching program
reviews. The agency must ask for the waiver in the transmittal
letter and demonstrate compelling reasons. When a waiver is granted,
the agency is not thereby relieved of any other requirement of
the Act. If no waiver is granted, agencies may presume concurrence
at the expiration of the 40 day review period if OMB has not commented
by that time. Note that OMB cannot waive time periods specifically
established by the Act such as the 30 days notice and comment
period required for the adoption of a routine use proposal pursuant
to Section (b)(3) of the Act.
Requirements. The Privacy Act requires agencies to publish notices
or rules in the Federal Register in the following circumstances: when
adopting a new or altered system of records, when adopting a routine
use, when adopting an exemption for a system of records, or when proposing
to carry out a new or altered matching program. (See paragraph 4c(1)
and 4d(1) above on what constitutes an alteration requiring a report
to OMB and the Congress.)
Publishing New or Altered Systems of Records Notices and Exemption
(1) Who Publishes. The agency responsible for operating the system
of records makes the necessary publication. Publication should
be carried out at the departmental or agency level. Even where
a system of records is to be operated exclusively by a component,
the department rather than the component should publish the notice.
Thus, for example, the Department of the Treasury would publish
a system of records notice covering a system operated exclusively
by the Internal Revenue Service. Note that if the agency is proposing
to exempt the system under Section (j) or (k) of the Act, it must
publish a rule in addition to the system of records notice.
(a) Government-wide Systems of Records. Certain agencies publish
systems of records containing records for which they have government-wide
responsibilities. The records may be located in other agencies,
but they are being used under the authority of and in conformance
with the rules mandated by the publishing agency. The Office
of Personnel Management, for example, has published a number
of government-wide systems of records relating to the operation
of the government's personnel program. Agencies should not publish
systems of records that wholly or partly duplicate existing
government-wide systems of records.
Section (m) Contract Provisions. When an agency provides by
contract for the operation of a system of records, it should
ensure that a system of records notice describing the system
has been published. It should also review the notice to ensure
that it contains a routine use under Section (e)(4)(D) of
the Act permitting disclosure to the contractor and his or
(a) System Notice. The system of records notice must appear
in the Federal Register before the agency begins to operate
the system, e.g., collect and use the information.
Routine Use. A routine use must be published in the Federal
Register 30 days before the agency discloses records pursuant
to its terms. (Note that the addition of a routine use to
an existing system of records requires a report to OMB and
Congress, and that the review period for this report is 40
Exemption Rule. A rule exempting a system of records under
(j) or (k) or the Act must be established through informal
rulemaking pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act. This
process generally requires publication of a proposed rule,
a period during which the public may comment, publication
of a final rule, and the adoption of the final rule. Agencies
may not withhold records under an exemption until these requirements
have been met.
Agencies should follow the publication format contained in the
Office of the Federal Register's Document Drafting Handbook
which may be obtained from the Government Printing Office.
(1) Who Publishes. Generally, the recipient Federal agency (or
the Federal source agency in a match conducted by a nonfederal
agency) is responsible for publishing in the Federal Register
a notice describing the new or altered matching program. However,
in large, multi-agency matching programs, where the recipient
agency is merely performing the matches, and the benefit accrues
to the source agencies, the partners should assign responsibility
for compliance with the administrative requirements in a fair
and reasonable way. This may mean having the matching agency carry
out these requirements for all parties, having one participant
designated to do so, or having each source agency do so for its
own matching program(s).
Publication must occur at least 30 days prior to the initiation
of any matching activity carried out under a new or substantially
altered matching program. For renewals of programs agencies
wish to continue past the 30 month period of initial eligibility
(i.e., the initial 18 months plus a one year extension), publication
must occur at least 30 days prior to the expiration of the existing
matching agreement. (But note that a report to OMB and the Congress
is also required with a 40 day review period).
The matching notice shall be in the format prescribed by the
Office of the Federal Register's Document Drafting Handbook
and contain the following information:
(a) The name of the Recipient Agency.
(b) The Name(s) of the Source Agencies.
(c) The beginning and ending dates of the match.
(d) A brief description of the matching program, including its
purpose; the legal authorities authorizing its operation; categories
of individuals involved; and identification of records used,
including name(s) of Privacy Act Systems of records.
(e) The identification, address, and telephone number of a Recipient
Agency official who will answer public inquiries about the program.
II to OMB Circular No. A-130 -
[ The guidance
formerly found in Appendix II has been revised and placed in Section
8b. See, Transmittal No. 2, 59 FR 37906. Appendix II has been deleted
and is reserved for future topics.]
Cost Accounting, Cost Recovery, and Interagency Sharing
of Information Technology Facilities
III to OMB Circular No. A-130 -
Security of Federal Automated Information Resources
establishes a minimum set of controls to be included in Federal
automated information security programs; assigns Federal agency
responsibilities for the security of automated information; and
links agency automated information security programs and agency
management control systems established in accordance with OMB Circular
No. A-123. The Appendix revises procedures formerly contained in
Appendix III to OMB Circular No. A-130 (50 FR 52730; December 24,
1985), and incorporates requirements of the Computer Security Act
of 1987 (P.L. 100-235) and responsibilities assigned in applicable
national security directives.
- The term:
- a. "adequate
security" means security commensurate with the risk and magnitude
of the harm resulting from the loss, misuse, or unauthorized access
to or modification of information. This includes assuring that
systems and applications used by the agency operate effectively
and provide appropriate confidentiality, integrity, and availability,
through the use of cost-effective management, personnel, operational,
and technical controls.
means the use of information resources (information and information
technology) to satisfy a specific set of user requirements.
support system" or "system" means an interconnected set of information
resources under the same direct management control which shares
common functionality. A system normally includes hardware, software,
information, data, applications, communications, and people.
A system can be, for example, a local area network (LAN) including
smart terminals that supports a branch office, an agency-wide
backbone, a communications network, a departmental data processing
center including its operating system and utilities, a tactical
radio network, or a shared information processing service organization
application" means an application that requires special attention
to security due to the risk and magnitude of the harm resulting
from the loss, misuse, or unauthorized access to or modification
of the information in the application. Note: All Federal applications
require some level of protection. Certain applications, because
of the information in them, however, require special management
oversight and should be treated as major. Adequate security
for other applications should be provided by security of the
systems in which they operate.
Information Security Programs. Agencies shall implement and
maintain a program to assure that adequate security is provided
for all agency information collected, processed, transmitted, stored,
or disseminated in general support systems and major applications.
program shall implement policies, standards and procedures which
are consistent with government-wide policies, standards, and procedures
issued by the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of
Commerce, the General Services Administration and the Office of
Personnel Management (OPM). Different or more stringent requirements
for securing national security information should be incorporated
into agency programs as required by appropriate national security
directives. At a minimum, agency programs shall include the following
controls in their general support systems and major applications:
Controls for general support systems.
1) Assign Responsibility for Security. Assign responsibility for
security in each system to an individual knowledgeable in the
information technology used in the system and in providing security
for such technology.
Security Plan. Plan for adequate security of each general support
system as part of the organization's information resources management
(IRM) planning process. The security plan shall be consistent
with guidance issued by the National Institute of Standards
and Technology (NIST). Independent advice and comment on the
security plan shall be solicited prior to the plan's implementation.
A summary of the security plans shall be incorporated into the
strategic IRM plan required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (44
U.S.C. Chapter 35) and Section 8(b) of this circular. Security
plans shall include:
a) Rules of the System. Establish a set of rules of behavior
concerning use of, security in, and the acceptable level of
risk for, the system. The rules shall be based on the needs
of the various users of the system. The security required by
the rules shall be only as stringent as necessary to provide
adequate security for information in the system. Such rules
shall clearly delineate responsibilities and expected behavior
of all individuals with access to the system. They shall also
include appropriate limits on interconnections to other systems
and shall define service provision and restoration priorities.
Finally, they shall be clear about the consequences of behavior
not consistent with the rules.
Ensure that all individuals are appropriately trained in how
to fulfill their security responsibilities before allowing
them access to the system. Such training shall assure that
employees are versed in the rules of the system, be consistent
with guidance issued by NIST and OPM, and apprise them about
available assistance and technical security products and techniques.
Behavior consistent with the rules of the system and periodic
refresher training shall be required for continued access
to the system.
Controls. Screen individuals who are authorized to bypass
significant technical and operational security controls of
the system commensurate with the risk and magnitude of harm
they could cause. Such screening shall occur prior to an individual
being authorized to bypass controls and periodically thereafter.
Response Capability. Ensure that there is a capability to
provide help to users when a security incident occurs in the
system and to share information concerning common vulnerabilities
and threats. This capability shall share information with
other organizations, consistent with NIST coordination, and
should assist the agency in pursuing appropriate legal action,
consistent with Department of Justice guidance.
of Support. Establish and periodically test the capability
to continue providing service within a system based upon the
needs and priorities of the participants of the system.
Security. Ensure that cost-effective security products and
techniques are appropriately used within the system.
Interconnection. Obtain written management authorization,
based upon the acceptance of risk to the system, prior to
connecting with other systems. Where connection is authorized,
controls shall be established which are consistent with the
rules of the system and in accordance with guidance from NIST.
of Security Controls. Review the security controls in each system
when significant modifications are made to the system, but at
least every three years. The scope and frequency of the review
should be commensurate with the acceptable level of risk for
the system. Depending on the potential risk and magnitude of
harm that could occur, consider identifying a deficiency pursuant
to OMB Circular No. A-123, "Management Accountability and Control"
and the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA), if
there is no assignment of security responsibility, no security
plan, or no authorization to process for a system.
Processing. Ensure that a management official authorizes in
writing the use of each general support system based on implementation
of its security plan before beginning or significantly changing
processing in the system. Use of the system shall be re-authorized
at least every three years.
for Major Applications.
1) Assign Responsibility for Security. Assign responsibility for
security of each major application to a management official knowledgeable
in the nature of the information and process supported by the
application and in the management, personnel, operational, and
technical controls used to protect it. This official shall assure
that effective security products and techniques are appropriately
used in the application and shall be contacted when a security
incident occurs concerning the application.
Security Plan. Plan for the adequate security of each major
application, taking into account the security of all systems
in which the application will operate. The plan shall be consistent
with guidance issued by NIST. Advice and comment on the plan
shall be solicited from the official responsible for security
in the primary system in which the application will operate
prior to the plan's implementation. A summary of the security
plans shall be incorporated into the strategic IRM plan required
by the Paperwork Reduction Act. Application security plans shall
a) Application Rules. Establish a set of rules concerning use
of and behavior within the application. The rules shall be as
stringent as necessary to provide adequate security for the
application and the information in it. Such rules shall clearly
delineate responsibilities and expected behavior of all individuals
with access to the application. In addition, the rules shall
be clear about the consequences of behavior not consistent with
of Application Controls. Perform an independent review or audit
of the security controls in each application at least every three
years. Consider identifying a deficiency pursuant to OMB Circular
No. A-123, "Management Accountability and Control" and the Federal
Managers' Financial Integrity Act if there is no assignment of
responsibility for security, no security plan, or no authorization
to process for the application.
Training. Before allowing individuals access to the application,
ensure that all individuals receive specialized training focused
on their responsibilities and the application rules. This
may be in addition to the training required for access to
a system. Such training may vary from a notification at the
time of access (e.g., for members of the public using an information
retrieval application) to formal training (e.g., for an employee
that works with a high-risk application).
Security. Incorporate controls such as separation of duties,
least privilege and individual accountability into the application
and application rules as appropriate. In cases where such
controls cannot adequately protect the application or information
in it, screen individuals commensurate with the risk and magnitude
of the harm they could cause. Such screening shall be done
prior to the individuals' being authorized to access the application
and periodically thereafter.
Planning. Establish and periodically test the capability to
perform the agency function supported by the application in
the event of failure of its automated support.
Controls. Ensure that appropriate security controls are specified,
designed into, tested, and accepted in the application in
accordance with appropriate guidance issued by NIST.
Sharing. Ensure that information shared from the application
is protected appropriately, comparable to the protection provided
when information is within the application.
Access Controls. Where an agency's application promotes or
permits public access, additional security controls shall
be added to protect the integrity of the application and the
confidence the public has in the application. Such controls
shall include segregating information made directly accessible
to the public from official agency records.
Processing. Ensure that a management official authorizes in
writing use of the application by confirming that its security
plan as implemented adequately secures the application. Results
of the most recent review or audit of controls shall be a factor
in management authorizations. The application must be authorized
prior to operating and re-authorized at least every three years
thereafter. Management authorization implies accepting the risk
of each system used by the application.
Department of Commerce. The Secretary of Commerce shall:
1) Develop and issue appropriate standards and guidance for the
security of sensitive information in Federal computer systems.
and update guidelines for training in computer security awareness
and accepted computer security practice, with assistance from
agencies guidance for security planning to assist in their development
of application and system security plans.
guidance and assistance, as appropriate, to agencies concerning
cost-effective controls when interconnecting with other systems.
agency incident response activities to promote sharing of incident
response information and related vulnerabilities.
new information technologies to assess their security vulnerabilities,
with technical assistance from the Department of Defense, and
apprise Federal agencies of such vulnerabilities as soon as
they are known.
of Defense. The Secretary of Defense shall:
1) Provide appropriate technical advice and assistance (including
work products) to the Department of Commerce.
the Department of Commerce in evaluating the vulnerabilities
of emerging information technologies.
of Justice. The Attorney General shall:
1) Provide appropriate guidance to agencies on legal remedies
regarding security incidents and ways to report and work with
law enforcement concerning such incidents.
appropriate legal actions when security incidents occur.
Services Administration. The Administrator of General Services
1) Provide guidance to agencies on addressing security considerations
when acquiring automated data processing equipment (as defined
in section 111(a)(2) of the Federal Property and Administrative
Services Act of 1949, as amended).
the development of contract vehicles for agencies to use in
the acquisition of cost-effective security products and services
(e.g., back-up services).
appropriate security services to meet the needs of Federal agencies
to the extent that such services are cost-effective.
of Personnel Management. The Director of the Office of Personnel
1) Assure that its regulations concerning computer security training
for Federal civilian employees are effective.
the Department of Commerce in updating and maintaining guidelines
for training in computer security awareness and accepted computer
Policy Board. The Security Policy Board shall coordinate the activities
of the Federal government regarding the security of information
technology that processes classified information in accordance
with applicable national security directives;
of Deficiencies and Reports
Correction of Deficiencies. Agencies shall correct deficiencies
which are identified through the reviews of security for systems
and major applications described above.
on Deficiencies. In accordance with OMB Circular No. A-123, "Management
Accountability and Control", if a deficiency in controls is judged
by the agency head to be material when weighed against other agency
deficiencies, it shall be included in the annual FMFIA report.
Less significant deficiencies shall be reported and progress on
corrective actions tracked at the appropriate agency level.
of Security Plans. Agencies shall include a summary of their system
security plans and major application plans in the strategic plan
required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3506).
descriptive language is explanatory. It is included to assist in
understanding the requirements of the Appendix.
re-orients the Federal computer security program to better respond
to a rapidly changing technological environment. It establishes
government-wide responsibilities for Federal computer security and
requires Federal agencies to adopt a minimum set of management controls.
These management controls are directed at individual information
technology users in order to reflect the distributed nature of today's
to be most effective, the controls must be part of day-to-day operations.
This is best accomplished by planning for security not as a separate
activity, but as an integral part of overall planning.
security" is defined as "security commensurate with the risk and
magnitude of harm resulting from the loss, misuse, or unauthorized
access to or modification of information." This definition explicitly
emphasizes the risk-based policy for cost-effective security established
by the Computer Security Act.
no longer requires the preparation of formal risk analyses. In the
past, substantial resources have been expended doing complex analyses
of specific risks to systems, with limited tangible benefit in terms
of improved security for the systems. Rather than continue to try
to precisely measure risk, security efforts are better served by
generally assessing risks and taking actions to manage them. While
formal risk analyses need not be performed, the need to determine
adequate security will require that a risk-based approach be used.
This risk assessment approach should include a consideration of
the major factors in risk management: the value of the system or
application, threats, vulnerabilities, and the effectiveness of
current or proposed safeguards. Additional guidance on effective
risk assessment is available in "An Introduction to Computer Security:
The NIST Handbook" (March 16, 1995).
of the Appendix's Major Provisions. The following discussion is
provided to aid reviewers in understanding the changes in emphasis
in the Appendix.
Information Security Programs. Agencies are required to establish
controls to assure adequate security for all information processed,
transmitted, or stored in Federal automated information systems.
This Appendix emphasizes management controls affecting individual
users of information technology. Technical and operational controls
support management controls. To be effective, all must interrelate.
For example, authentication of individual users is an important
management control, for which password protection is a technical
control. However, password protection will only be effective if
both a strong technology is employed, and it is managed to assure
that it is used correctly.
are set forth: assigning responsibility for security, security planning,
periodic review of security controls, and management authorization.
The Appendix requires that these management controls be applied
in two areas of management responsibility: one for general support
systems and one for major applications.
"general support system" and "major application" were used in OMB
Bulletins Nos. 88-16 and 90-08. A general support system is "an
interconnected set of information resources under the same direct
management control which shares common functionality." Such a system
can be, for example, a local area network (LAN) including smart
terminals that supports a branch office, an agency-wide backbone,
a communications network, a departmental data processing enter including
its operating system and utilities, a tactical radio network, or
a shared information processing service organization. Normally,
the purpose of a general support system is to provide processing
or communications support.
A major application
is a use of information and information technology to satisfy a
specific set of user requirements that requires special management
attention to security due to the risk and magnitude of harm resulting
from the loss, misuse or unauthorized access to or modification
of the information in the application. All applications require
some level of security, and adequate security for most of them should
be provided by security of the general support systems in which
they operate. However, certain applications, because of the nature
of the information in them, require special management oversight
and should be treated as major. Agencies are expected to exercise
management judgement in determining which of their applications
of OMB Bulletins Nos. 88-16 and 90-08 was on identifying and securing
both general support systems and applications which contained sensitive
information. The Appendix requires the establishment of security
controls in all general support systems, under the presumption that
all contain some sensitive information, and focuses extra security
controls on a limited number of particularly high-risk or major
General Support Systems. The following controls are required in
all general support systems:
1) Assign Responsibility for Security. For each system, an individual
should be a focal point for assuring there is adequate security
within the system, including ways to prevent, detect, and recover
from security problems. That responsibility should be assigned
in writing to an individual trained in the technology used in
the system and in providing security for such technology, including
the management of security controls such as user identification
Plan. The Computer Security Act requires that security plans
be developed for all Federal computer systems that contain sensitive
information. Given the expansion of distributed processing since
passage of the Act, the presumption in the Appendix is that
all general support systems contain some sensitive information
which requires protection to assure its integrity, availability,
or confidentiality, and therefore all systems require security
guidance on security planning was contained in OMB Bulletin
No. 90-08. This Appendix supersedes OMB Bulletin 90-08 and expands
the coverage of security plans from Bulletin 90-08 to include
rules of individual behavior as well as technical security.
Consistent with OMB Bulletin 90-08, the Appendix directs NIST
to update and expand security planning guidance and issue it
as a Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS). In the
interim, agencies should continue to use the Appendix of OMB
Bulletin No. 90-08 as guidance for the technical portion of
their security plans.
continues the requirement that independent advice and comment
on the security plan for each system be sought. The intent of
this requirement is to improve the plans, foster communication
between managers of different systems, and promote the sharing
of security expertise.
also continues the requirement from the Computer Security Act
that summaries of security plans be included in agency strategic
information resources management plans. OMB will provide additional
guidance about the contents of those strategic plans, pursuant
to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.
specific security controls should be included in the security
plan for a general support system:
a) Rules. An important new requirement for security plans is
the establishment of a set of rules of behavior for individual
users of each general support system. These rules should clearly
delineate responsibilities of and expectations for all individuals
with access to the system. They should be consistent with system-specific
policy as described in "An Introduction to Computer Security:
The NIST Handbook" (March 16, 1995). In addition, they should
state the consequences of non-compliance. The rules should be
in writing and will form the basis for security awareness and
development of rules for a system must take into consideration
the needs of all parties who use the system. Rules should
be as stringent as necessary to provide adequate security.
Therefore, the acceptable level of risk for the system must
be established and should form the basis for determining the
should cover such matters as work at home, dial-in access,
connection to the Internet, use of copyrighted works, unofficial
use of government equipment, the assignment and limitation
of system privileges, and individual accountability. Often
rules should reflect technical security controls in the system.
For example, rules regarding password use should be consistent
with technical password features in the system. Rules may
be enforced through administrative sanctions specifically
related to the system (e.g. loss of system privileges) or
through more general sanctions as are imposed for violating
other rules of conduct. In addition, the rules should specifically
address restoration of service as a concern of all users of
The Computer Security Act requires Federal agencies to provide
for the mandatory periodic training in computer security awareness
and accepted computer security practice of all employees who
are involved with the management, use or operation of a Federal
computer system within or under the supervision of the Federal
agency. This includes contractors as well as employees of
the agency. Access provided to members of the public should
be constrained by controls in the applications through which
access is allowed, and training should be within the context
of those controls. The Appendix enforces such mandatory training
by requiring its completion prior to granting access to the
system. Each new user of a general support system in some
sense introduces a risk to all other users. Therefore, each
user should be versed in acceptable behavior -- the rules
of the system -- before being allowed to use the system. Training
should also inform the individual how to get help in the event
of difficulty with using or security of the system.
should be tailored to what a user needs to know to use the
system securely, given the nature of that use. Training may
be presented in stages, for example as more access is granted.
In some cases, the training should be in the form of classroom
instruction. In other cases, interactive computer sessions
or well-written and understandable brochures may be sufficient,
depending on the risk and magnitude of harm.
time, attention to security tends to dissipate. In addition,
changes to a system may necessitate a change in the rules
or user procedures. Therefore, individuals should periodically
have refresher training to assure that they continue to understand
and abide by the applicable rules.
agencies, the Appendix requires NIST, with assistance from
the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), to update its existing
guidance. It also proposes that OPM assure that its rules
for computer security training for Federal civilian employees
Controls. It has long been recognized that the greatest harm
has come from authorized individuals engaged in improper activities,
whether intentional or accidental. In every general support
system, a number of technical, operational, and management
controls are used to prevent and detect harm. Such controls
include individual accountability, "least privilege," and
separation of duties.
accountability consists of holding someone responsible for
his or her actions. In a general support system, accountability
is normally accomplished by identifying and authenticating
users of the system and subsequently tracing actions on the
system to the user who initiated them. This may be done, for
example, by looking for patterns of behavior by users.
privilege is the practice of restricting a user's access (to
data files, to processing capability, or to peripherals) or
type of access (read, write, execute, delete) to the minimum
necessary to perform his or her job.
of duties is the practice of dividing the steps in a critical
function among different individuals. For example, one system
programmer can create a critical piece of operating system
code, while another authorizes its implementation. Such a
control keeps a single individual from subverting a critical
in some instances, individuals may be given the ability to
bypass some significant technical and operational controls
in order to perform system administration and maintenance
functions (e.g., LAN administrators or systems programmers).
Screening such individuals in positions of trust will supplement
technical, operational, and management controls, particularly
where the risk and magnitude of harm is high.
Response Capability. Security incidents, whether caused by
viruses, hackers, or software bugs, are becoming more common.
When faced with a security incident, an agency should be able
to respond in a manner that both protects its own information
and helps to protect the information of others who might be
affected by the incident. To address this concern, agencies
should establish formal incident response mechanisms. Awareness
and training for individuals with access to the system should
include how to use the system's incident response capability.
fully effective, incident handling must also include sharing
information concerning common vulnerabilities and threats
with those in other systems and other agencies. The Appendix
directs agencies to effectuate such sharing, and tasks NIST
to coordinate those agency activities government-wide.
Appendix also directs the Department of Justice to provide
appropriate guidance on pursuing legal remedies in the case
of serious incidents.
of Support. Inevitably, there will be service interruptions.
Agency plans should assure that there is an ability to recover
and provide service sufficient to meet the minimal needs of
users of the system. Manual procedures are generally NOT a
viable back-up option. When automated support is not available,
many functions of the organization will effectively cease.
Therefore, it is important to take cost-effective steps to
manage any disruption of service.
on the level of service needed at any particular time and
on priorities in service restoration should be made in consultation
with the users of the system and incorporated in the system
rules. Experience has shown that recovery plans that are periodically
tested are substantially more viable than those that are not.
Moreover, untested plans may actually create a false sense
Security. Agencies should assure that each system appropriately
uses effective security products and techniques, consistent
with standards and guidance from NIST. Often such techniques
will correspond with system rules of behavior, such as in
the proper use of password protection.
Appendix directs NIST to continue to issue computer security
guidance to assist agencies in planning for and using technical
security products and techniques. Until such guidance is issued,
however, the planning guidance included in OMB Bulletin 90-08
can assist in determining techniques for effective security
in a system and in addressing technical controls in the security
Interconnection. In order for a community to effectively manage
risk, it must control access to and from other systems. The
degree of such control should be established in the rules
of the system and all participants should be made aware of
any limitations on outside access. Technical controls to accomplish
this should be put in place in accordance with guidance issued
are varying degrees of how connected a system is. For example,
some systems will choose to isolate themselves, others will
restrict access such as allowing only e-mail connections or
remote access only with sophisticated authentication, and
others will be fully open. The management decision to interconnect
should be based on the availability and use of technical and
non-technical safeguards and consistent with the acceptable
level of risk defined in the system rules.
of Security Controls. The security of a system will degrade
over time, as the technology evolves and as people and procedures
change. Reviews should assure that management, operational,
personnel, and technical controls are functioning effectively.
Security controls may be reviewed by an independent audit or
a self review. The type and rigor of review or audit should
be commensurate with the acceptable level of risk that is established
in the rules for the system and the likelihood of learning useful
information to improve security. Technical tools such as virus
scanners, vulnerability assessment products (which look for
known security problems, configuration errors, and the installation
of the latest patches), and penetration testing can assist in
the on-going review of different facets of systems. However,
these tools are no substitute for a formal management review
at least every three years. Indeed, for some high-risk systems
with rapidly changing technology, three years will be too long.
upon the risk and magnitude of harm that could result, weaknesses
identified during the review of security controls should be
reported as deficiencies in accordance with OMB Circular No.
A-123, "Management Accountability and Control" and the Federal
Managers' Financial Integrity Act. In particular, if a basic
management control such as assignment of responsibility, a workable
security plan, or management authorization are missing, then
consideration should be given to identifying a deficiency.
Processing. The authorization of a system to process information,
granted by a management official, provides an important quality
control (some agencies refer to this authorization as accreditation).
By authorizing processing in a system, a manager accepts the
risk associated with it. Authorization is not a decision that
should be made by the security staff.
security official and the authorizing management official have
security responsibilities. In general, the security official
is closer to the day-to-day operation of the system and will
direct or perform security tasks. The authorizing official will
normally have general responsibility for the organization supported
by the system.
authorization should be based on an assessment of management,
operational, and technical controls. Since the security plan
establishes the security controls, it should form the basis
for the authorization, supplemented by more specific studies
as needed. In addition, the periodic review of controls should
also contribute to future authorizations. Some agencies perform
"certification reviews" of their systems periodically. These
formal technical evaluations lead to a management accreditation,
or "authorization to process." Such certifications (such as
those using the methodology in FIPS Pub 102 "Guideline for Computer
Security Certification and Accreditation") can provide useful
information to assist management in authorizing a system, particularly
when combined with a review of the broad behavioral controls
envisioned in the security plan required by the Appendix.
should occur prior to a significant change in processing, but
at least every three years. It should be done more often where
there is a high risk and potential magnitude of harm.
in Major Applications. Certain applications require special
management attention due to the risk and magnitude of harm that
could occur. For such applications, the controls of the support
system(s) in which they operate are likely to be insufficient.
Therefore, additional controls specific to the application are
required. Since the function of applications is the direct manipulation
and use of information, controls for securing applications should
emphasize protection of information and the way it is manipulated.
1) Assign Responsibility for Security. By definition, major applications
are high risk and require special management attention. Major
applications usually support a single agency function and often
are supported by more than one general support system. It is important,
therefore, that an individual be assigned responsibility in writing
to assure that the particular application has adequate security.
To be effective, this individual should be knowledgeable in the
information and process supported by the application and in the
management, personnel, operational, and technical controls used
to protect the application.
Security Plans. Security for each major application should be
addressed by a security plan specific to the application. The
plan should include controls specific to protecting information
and should be developed from the application manager's perspective.
To assist in assuring its viability, the plan should be provided
to the manager of the primary support system which the application
uses for advice and comment. This recognizes the critical dependence
of the security of major applications on the underlying support
systems they use. Summaries of application security plans should
be included in strategic information resource management plans
in accordance with this Circular.
a) Application Rules. Rules of behavior should be established
which delineate the responsibilities and expected behavior of
all individuals with access to the application. The rules should
state the consequences of inconsistent behavior. Often the rules
will be associated with technical controls implemented in the
application. Such rules should include, for example, limitations
on changing data, searching databases, or divulging information.
Training. Training is required for all individuals given access
to the application, including members of the public. It should
vary depending on the type of access allowed and the risk
that access represents to the security of the application
and information in it. This training will be in addition to
that required for access to a support system.
Security. For most major applications, management controls
such as individual accountability requirements, separation
of duties enforced by access controls, or limitations on the
processing privileges of individuals, are generally more cost-effective
personnel security controls than background screening. Such
controls should be implemented as both technical controls
and as application rules. For example, technical controls
to ensure individual accountability, such as looking for patterns
of user behavior, are most effective if users are aware that
there is such a technical control. If adequate audit or access
controls (through both technical and non-technical methods)
cannot be established, then it may be cost-effective to screen
personnel, commensurate with the risk and magnitude of harm
they could cause. The change in emphasis on screening in the
Appendix should not affect background screening deemed necessary
because of other duties that an individual may perform.
Planning. Normally the Federal mission supported by a major
application is critically dependent on the application. Manual
processing is generally NOT a viable back-up option. Managers
should plan for how they will perform their mission and/or
recover from the loss of existing application support, whether
the loss is due to the inability of the application to function
or a general support system failure. Experience has demonstrated
that testing a contingency plan significantly improves its
viability. Indeed, untested plans or plans not tested for
a long period of time may create a false sense of ability
to recover in a timely manner.
Controls. Technical security controls, for example tests to
filter invalid entries, should be built into each application.
Often these controls will correspond with the rules of behavior
for the application. Under the previous Appendix, application
security was focused on the process by which sensitive, custom
applications were developed. While that process is not addressed
in detail in this Appendix, it remains an effective method
for assuring that security controls are built into applications.
Additionally, the technical security controls defined in OMB
Bulletin No. 90-08 will continue, until that guidance is replaced
by NIST's security planning guidance.
Sharing. Assure that information which is shared with Federal
organizations, State and local governments, and the private
sector is appropriately protected comparable to the protection
provided when the information is within the application. Controls
on the information may stay the same or vary when the information
is shared with another entity. For example, the primary user
of the information may require a high level of availability
while the secondary user does not, and can therefore relax
some of the controls designed to maintain the availability
of the information. At the same time, however, the information
shared may require a level of confidentiality that should
be extended to the secondary user. This normally requires
notification and agreement to protect the information prior
to its being shared.
Access Controls. Permitting public access to a Federal application
is an important method of improving information exchange with
the public. At the same time, it introduces risks to the Federal
application. To mitigate these risks, additional controls
should be in place as appropriate. These controls are in addition
to controls such as "firewalls" that are put in place for
security of the general support system.
it is more difficult to apply conventional controls to public
access systems, because many of the users of the system may
not be subject to individual accountability policies. In addition,
public access systems may be a target for mischief because
of their higher visibility and published access methods.
records need to be protected against loss or alteration. Official
records in electronic form are particularly susceptible since
they can be relatively easy to change or destroy. Therefore,
official records should be segregated from information made
directly accessible to the public. There are different ways
to segregate records. Some agencies and organizations are
creating dedicated information dissemination systems (such
as bulletin boards or World Wide Web servers) to support this
function. These systems can be on the outside of secure gateways
which protect internal agency records from outside access.
to secure applications that allow direct public access, conventional
techniques such as least privilege (limiting the processing
capability as well as access to data) and integrity assurances
(such as checking for viruses, clearly labeling the age of
data, or periodically spot checking data) should also be used.
Additional guidance on securing public access systems is available
from NIST Computer Systems Laboratory Bulletin "Security Issues
in Public Access Systems" (May, 1993).
of Application Controls. At least every three years, an independent
review or audit of the security controls for each major application
should be performed. Because of the higher risk involved in
major applications, the review or audit should be independent
of the manager responsible for the application. Such reviews
should verify that responsibility for the security of the application
has been assigned, that a viable security plan for the application
is in place, and that a manager has authorized the processing
of the application. A deficiency in any of these controls should
be considered a deficiency pursuant to the Federal Manager's
Financial Integrity Act and OMB Circular No. A-123, "Management
Accountability and Control."
envisioned here is different from the system test and certification
process required in the current Appendix. That process, however,
remains useful for assuring that technical security features
are built into custom-developed software applications. While
the controls in that process are not specifically called for
in this Appendix, they remain in Bulletin No. 90-08, and are
recommended in appropriate circumstances as technical controls.
Processing. A major application should be authorized by the
management official responsible for the function supported by
the application at least every three years, but more often where
the risk and magnitude of harm is high. The intent of this requirement
is to assure that the senior official whose mission will be
adversely affected by security weaknesses in the application
periodically assesses and accepts the risk of operating the
application. The authorization should be based on the application
security plan and any review(s) performed on the application.
It should also take into account the risks from the general
support systems used by the application.
of Responsibilities. The Appendix assigns government-wide responsibilities
to agencies that are consistent with their missions and the Computer
Department of Commerce. The Department of Commerce, through
NIST, is assigned the following responsibilities consistent with
the Computer Security Act.
and issue security standards and guidance.
and update, with assistance from OPM, the guidelines for security
training issued in 1988 pursuant to the Computer Security Act
to assure they are effective.
and update the technical planning guidance in the appendix to
OMB Bulletin 90-08 This should include guidance on effective
risk-based security absent a formal risk analysis.
agencies with guidance and assistance concerning effective controls
for systems when interconnecting with other systems, including
the Internet. Such guidance on, for example, so-called "firewalls"
is becoming widely available and is critical to agencies as
they consider how to interconnect their communications capabilities.
agency incident response activities. Coordination of agency
incident response activities should address both threats and
vulnerabilities as well as improve the ability of the Federal
government for rapid and effective cooperation in response to
serious security breaches.
security vulnerabilities in new information technologies and
apprise Federal agencies of such vulnerabilities. The intent
of this new requirement is to help agencies understand the security
implications of technology before they purchase and field it.
In the past, there have been too many instances where agencies
have acquired and implemented technology, then found out about
vulnerabilities in the technology and had to retrofit security
measures. This activity is intended to help avoid such difficulties
in the future.
of Defense. The Department, through the National Security
Agency, should provide technical advice and assistance to NIST,
including work products such as technical security guidelines,
which NIST can draw upon for developing standards and guidelines
for protecting sensitive information in Federal computers.
Department, through the National Security Agency, should assist
NIST in evaluating vulnerabilities in emerging technologies. Such
vulnerabilities may present a risk to national security information
as well as to unclassified information.
of Justice. The Department of Justice should provide appropriate
guidance to Federal agencies on legal remedies available to them
when serious security incidents occur. Such guidance should include
ways to report incidents and cooperate with law enforcement.
the Department should pursue appropriate legal actions on behalf
of the Federal government when serious security incidents occur.
Services Administration. The General Services Administration
should provide agencies guidance for addressing security considerations
when acquiring information technology products or services. This
continues the current requirement.
where cost-effective to do so, GSA should establish government-wide
contract vehicles for agencies to use to acquire certain security
services. Such vehicles already exist for providing system back-up
support and conducting security analyses.
also provide appropriate security services to assist Federal agencies
to the extent that provision of such services is cost-effective.
This includes providing, in conjunction with the Department of
Defense and the Department of Commerce, appropriate services which
support Federal use of the National Information Infrastructure
(e.g., use of digital signature technology).
of Personnel Management. In accordance with the Computer Security
Act, OPM should review its regulations concerning computer security
training and assure that they are effective.
OPM should assist the Department of Commerce in the review and
update of its computer security awareness and training guidelines.
OPM worked closely with NIST in developing the current guidelines
and should work with NIST in revising those guidelines.
Policy Board. The Security Policy Board is assigned responsibility
for national security policy coordination in accordance with the
appropriate Presidential directive. This includes policy for the
security of information technology used to process classified
A-130 and this Appendix do not apply to information technology
that supports certain critical national security missions, as
defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(9) and 10 U.S.C. 2315. Policy and procedural
requirements for the security of national security systems (telecommunications
and information systems that contain classified information or
that support those critical national security missions (44 U.S.C.
3502(9) and 10 U.S.C. 2315)) is assigned to the Department of
Defense pursuant to Presidential directive. The Circular clarifies
that information classified for national security purposes should
also be handled in accordance with appropriate national security
directives. Where classified information is required to be protected
by more stringent security requirements, those requirements should
be followed rather than the requirements of this Appendix.
The Appendix requires agencies to provide two reports to OMB:
is a requirement that agencies report security deficiencies and
material weaknesses within their FMFIA reporting mechanisms as defined
by OMB Circular No. A-123, "Management Accountability and Control,"
and take corrective actions in accordance with that directive.
defined by the Computer Security Act, requires that a summary of
agency security plans be included in the information resources management
plan required by the Paperwork Reduction Act.
IV to OMB Circular No. A-130 -
Analysis of Key Sections
of this Appendix is to provide a general context and explanation
for the contents of the key Sections of the Circular.
Reduction Act (PRA) of 1980, Public Law 96-511, as amended by the
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13, codified at
Chapter 35 of Title 44 of the United States Code, establishes a
broad mandate for agencies to perform their information activities
in an efficient, effective, and economical manner. Section 3504
of the Act provides authority to the Director, OMB, to develop and
implement uniform and consistent information resources management
policies; oversee the development and promote the use of information
management principles, standards, and guidelines; evaluate agency
information management practices in order to determine their adequacy
and efficiency, and determine compliance of such practices with
the policies, principles, standards, and guidelines promulgated
by the Director.
implements OMB authority under the PRA with respect to Section 3504(b),
general information resources management policy, Section 3504(d),
information dissemination, Section 3504(f), records management,
Section 3504(g), privacy and security, and Section 3504(h), information
technology. The Circular also implements certain provisions of the
Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a); the Chief Financial Officers
Act (31 U.S.C. 3512 et seq.); Sections 111 and 206 of the Federal
Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended (40
U.S.C. 759 and 487, respectively); the Computer Security Act (40
U.S.C. 759 note); the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 (31 U.S.C.
1 et seq.); and Executive Order No. 12046 of March 27, 1978, and
Executive Order No. 12472 of April 3, 1984, Assignment of National
Security and Emergency Telecommunications Functions. The Circular
complements 5 CFR Part 1320, Controlling Paperwork Burden on the
Public, which implements other Sections of the PRA dealing with
controlling the reporting and recordkeeping burden placed on the
the Circular revises and consolidates policy and procedures in seven
previous OMB directives and rescinds those directives, as follows:
- Government Publications
A-71 - Responsibilities
for the Administration and Management of Automatic Data Processing
Activities Transmittal Memorandum No. 1 to Circular No. A-71 -
Security of Federal Automated Information Systems
A-90 - Cooperating
with State and Local Governments to Coordinate and Improve Information
Responsibilities for the Maintenance of Records about Individuals
by Federal Agencies
Management of Federal Audiovisual Activities
Cost Accounting, Cost Recovery, and Interagency Sharing of Data
Definitions. Access and Dissemination. The original Circular No.
A-130 distinguished between the terms "access to information" and
"dissemination of information" in order to separate statutory requirements
from policy considerations. The first term means giving members
of the public, at their request, information to which they are entitled
by a law such as the FOIA. The latter means actively distributing
information to the public at the initiative of the agency. The distinction
appeared useful at the time Circular No. A-130 was written, because
it allowed OMB to focus discussion on Federal agencies' responsibilities
for actively distributing information. However, popular usage and
evolving technology have blurred differences between the terms "access"
and "dissemination" and readers of the Circular were confused by
the distinction. For example, if an agency "disseminates" information
via an on-line computer system, one speaks of permitting users to
"access" the information, and on-line "access" becomes a form of
revision defines only the term "dissemination." Special considerations
based on access statutes such as the Privacy Act and the FOIA are
explained in context.
Information. The definition of "government information" includes
information created, collected, processed, disseminated, or disposed
of both by and for the Federal Government. This recognizes the increasingly
distributed nature of information in electronic environments. Many
agencies, in addition to collecting information for government use
and for dissemination to the public, require members of the public
to maintain information or to disclose it to the public. Sound information
resources management dictates that agencies consider the costs and
benefits of a full range of alternatives to meet government objectives.
In some cases, there is no need for the government actually to collect
the information itself, only to assure that it is made publicly
available. For example, banks insured by the FDIC must provide statements
of financial condition to bank customers on request. Particularly
when information is available in electronic form, networks make
the physical location of information increasingly irrelevant.
of information created, collected, processed, disseminated, or disposed
of for the Federal Government in the definition of "government information"
does not imply that responsibility for implementing the provisions
of the Circular itself extends beyond the executive agencies to
other entities. Such an interpretation would be inconsistent with
Section 4, Applicability, and with existing law. For example, the
courts have held that requests to Federal agencies for release of
information under the FOIA do not always extend to those performing
information activities under grant or contract to a Federal agency.
Similarly, grantees may copyright information where the government
may not. Thus the information responsibilities of grantees and contractors
are not identical to those of Federal agencies except to the extent
that the agencies make them so in the underlying grants or contracts.
Similarly, agency information resources management responsibilities
do not extend to other entities.
Dissemination Product. This notice defines the term "information
dissemination product" to include all information that is disseminated
by Federal agencies. While the provision of access to on-line databases
and search software included on compact disk, read-only memory (CD-ROM)
are often called information services rather than products, there
is no clear distinction and, moreover, no real difference for policy
purposes between the two. Thus, the term "information dissemination
product" applies to both products and services, and makes no distinction
based on how the information is delivered.
Information Management Planning. Parallel to new Section 7, Basic
Considerations and Assumptions, Section 8a begins with information
resources management planning. Planning is the process of establishing
a course of action to achieve desired results with available resources.
Planners translate organizational missions into specific goals and,
in turn, into measurable objectives.
The PRA introduced
the concept of information resources management and the principle
of information as an institutional resource which has both value
and associated costs. Information resources management is a tool
that managers use to achieve agency objectives. Information resources
management is successful if it enables managers to achieve agency
objectives efficiently and effectively.
resources management planning is an integral part of overall mission
planning. Agencies need to plan from the outset for the steps in
the information life cycle. When creating or collecting information,
agencies must plan how they will process and transmit the information,
how they will use it, how they will protect its integrity, what
provisions they will make for access to it, whether and how they
will disseminate it, how they will store and retrieve it, and finally,
how the information will ultimately be disposed of. They must also
plan for the effects their actions and programs will have on the
public and State and local governments.
The Role of
State and Local Governments. OMB made additions at Sections 7a,
7e, and 7j, Basic Considerations and Assumptions, concerning State
and local governments, and also in policy statements at Sections
8a(1)(c), (3)(f), (5)(d)(iii), and (8)(e).
local governments, and tribal governments, cooperate as major partners
with the Federal Government in the collection, processing, and dissemination
of information. For example, State governments are the principal
collectors and/or producers of information in the areas of health,
welfare, education, labor markets, transportation, the environment,
and criminal justice. The States supply the Federal Government with
data on aid to families with dependent children; medicare; school
enrollments, staffing, and financing; statistics on births, deaths,
and infectious diseases; population related data that form the basis
for national estimates; employment and labor market data; and data
used for census geography. National information resources are greatly
enhanced through these major cooperating efforts.
need to be sensitive to the role of State and local governments,
and tribal governments, in managing information and in managing
information technology. When planning, designing, and carrying out
information collections, agencies should systematically consider
what effect their activities will have on cities, counties, and
States, and take steps to involve these governments as appropriate.
Agencies should ensure that their information collections impose
the minimum burden and do not duplicate or conflict with local efforts
or other Federal agency requirements or mandates. The goal is that
Federal agencies routinely integrate State and local government
concerns into Federal information resources management practices.
This goal is consistent with standards for State and local government
review of Federal policies and programs.
Training is particularly important in view of the changing nature
of information resources management. Decentralization of information
technology has placed the management of automated information and
information technology directly in the hands of nearly all agency
personnel rather than in the hands of a few employees at centralized
facilities. Agencies must plan for incorporating policies and procedures
regarding computer security, records management, protection of privacy,
and other safeguards into the training of every employee and contractor.
Information Collection. The PRA requires that the creation or collection
of information be carried out in an efficient, effective, and economical
manner. When Federal agencies create or collect information -- just
as when they perform any other program functions -- they consume
scarce resources. Such activities must be continually evaluated
for their relevance to agency missions.
justify the creation or collection of information based on their
statutory functions. Policy statement 8a(2) uses the justification
standard -- "necessary for the proper performance of the functions
of the agency" -- established by the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3508). Furthermore,
the policy statement includes the requirement that the information
have practical utility, as defined in the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3502(11))
and elaborated in 5 CFR Part 1320. Practical utility includes such
qualities of information as accuracy, adequacy, and reliability.
In the case of general purpose statistics or recordkeeping, practical
utility means that actual uses can be demonstrated (5 CFR 1320.3(l)).
It should be noted that OMB's intent in placing emphasis on reducing
unjustified burden in collecting information, an emphasis consistent
with the Act, is not to diminish the importance of collecting information
whenever agencies have legitimate program reasons for doing so.
Rather, the concern is that the burdens imposed should not exceed
the benefits to be derived from the information. Moreover, if the
same benefit can be obtained by alternative means that impose a
lesser burden, that alternative should be adopted.
Electronic Information Collection. Section 7l articulates a basic
assumption of the Circular that modern information technology can
help the government provide better service to the public through
improved management of government programs. One potentially useful
application of information technology is in the government's collection
of information. While some information collections may not be good
candidates for electronic techniques, many are. Agencies with major
electronic information collection programs have found that automated
information collections allow them to meet program objectives more
efficiently and effectively. Electronic data interchange (EDI) and
related standards for the electronic exchange of information will
ease transmission and processing of routine business transaction
information such as invoices, purchase orders, price information,
bills of lading, health insurance claims, and other common commercial
documents. EDI holds similar promise for the routine filing of regulatory
information such as tariffs, customs declarations, license applications,
tax information, and environmental reports.
the public and agencies from electronic information collection appear
substantial. Electronic methods of collection reduce paperwork burden,
reduce errors, facilitate validation, and provide increased convenience
and more timely receipt of benefits.
in Section 8a(3) encourages agencies to explore the use of automated
techniques for collection of information, and sets forth conditions
conducive to the use of those techniques.
Records Management. Section 8a(4) begins with the fundamental requirement
for Federal records management, namely, that agencies create and
keep adequate and proper documentation of their activities. Federal
agencies cannot carry out their missions in a responsible and responsive
manner without adequate recordkeeping. Section 7h articulates the
basic considerations concerning records management. Policy statements
concerning records management are also interwoven throughout Section
8a, particularly in subsections on planning (8a(1)(j)), information
dissemination (8a(6)), and safeguards (8a(9)).
the immediate needs of government -- administrative, legal, fiscal
-- and ensure its continuity. Records are essential for protecting
the rights and interests of the public, and for monitoring the work
of public servants. The government needs records to ensure accountability
to the public which includes making the information available to
of the information life cycle carries with it records management
responsibilities. Agencies need to record their plans, carefully
document the content and procedures of information collection, ensure
proper documentation as a feature of every information system, keep
records of dissemination programs, and, finally, ensure that records
of permanent value are preserved.
records for future generations is the archival mission. Advances
in technology affect the amount of information that can be created
and saved, and the ways this information can be made available.
Technological advances can ease the task of records management;
however, the rapid pace of change in modern technology makes decisions
about the appropriate application of technology critical to records
management. Increasingly the records manager must be concerned with
preserving valuable electronic records in the context of a constantly
changing technological environment.
are essential for the appropriate maintenance and disposition of
records. Records schedules must be prepared in a timely fashion,
implement the General Records Schedules issued by the National Archives
and Records Administration, be approved by the Archivist of the
United States, and be kept accurate and current. (See 44 U.S.C.
3301 et seq.) The National Archives and Records Administration and
the General Services Administration provide guidance and assistance
to agencies in implementing records management responsibilities.
They also evaluate agencies' records management programs to determine
the extent to which they are appropriately implementing their records
and 8a(6). Information Dissemination Policy. Section 8a(5). Every
agency has a responsibility to inform the public within the context
of its mission. This responsibility requires that agencies distribute
information at the agency's initiative, rather than merely responding
when the public requests information.
The FOIA requires
each agency to publish in the Federal Register current descriptions
of agency organization, where and how the public may obtain information,
the general methods and procedural requirements by which agency
functions are determined, rules of procedure, descriptions of forms
and how to obtain them, substantive regulations, statements of general
policy, and revisions to all the foregoing (5 U.S.C. 552(a)(1)).
The Privacy Act also requires publication of information concerning
"systems of records" which are records retrieved by individual identifier
such as name, Social Security Number, or fingerprint. The Government
in the Sunshine Act requires agencies to publish meeting announcements
(5 U.S.C. 552b (e)(1)). The PRA (44 U.S.C. 3507(a)(2)) and its implementing
regulations (5 CFR Part 1320) require agencies to publish notices
when they submit information collection requests for OMB approval.
The public's right of access to government information under these
statutes is balanced against other concerns, such as an individual's
right to privacy and protection of the government's deliberative
satisfy these requirements, they provide the public basic information
about government activities. Other statutes direct specific agencies
to issue specific information dissemination products or to conduct
information dissemination programs. Beyond generic and specific
statutory requirements, agencies have responsibilities to disseminate
information as a necessary part of performing their functions. For
some agencies the responsibility is made explicit and sweeping;
for example, the Agriculture Department is directed to "...diffuse
among people of the United States, useful information on subjects
connected with agriculture...." (7 U.S.C. 2201) For other agencies,
the responsibility may be much more narrowly drawn.
dissemination is also a consequence of other agency activities.
Agency programs normally include an organized effort to inform the
public about the program. Most agencies carry out programs that
create or collect information with the explicit or implicit intent
that the information will be made public. Disseminating information
is in many cases the logical extension of information creation or
In other cases,
agencies may have information that is not meant for public dissemination
but which may be the subject of requests from the public. When the
agency establishes that there is public demand for the information
and that it is in the public interest to disseminate the information,
the agency may decide to disseminate it automatically.
in Section 8a(5)(d) sets forth several factors for agencies to take
into account in conducting their information dissemination programs.
First, agencies must balance two goals: maximizing the usefulness
of the information to the government and the public, and minimizing
the cost to both. Deriving from the basic purposes of the PRA (44
U.S.C. 3501), the two goals are frequently in tension because increasing
usefulness usually costs more. Second, Section 8a(5)(d)(ii) requires
agencies to conduct information dissemination programs equitably
and in a timely manner. The word "equal" was removed from this Section
since there may be instances where, for example, an agency determines
that its mission includes disseminating information to certain specific
groups or members of the public, and the agency determines that
user charges will constitute a significant barrier to carrying out
requiring agencies to take advantage of all dissemination channels,
recognizes that information reaches the public in many ways. Few
persons may read a Federal Register notice describing an agency
action, but those few may be major secondary disseminators of the
information. They may be affiliated with publishers of newspapers,
newsletters, periodicals, or books; affiliated with on-line database
providers; or specialists in certain information fields. While millions
of information users in the public may be affected by the agency's
action, only a handful may have direct contact with the agency's
own information dissemination products. As a deliberate strategy,
therefore, agencies should cooperate with the information's original
creators, as well as with secondary disseminators, in order to further
information dissemination goals and foster a diversity of information
sources. An adjunct responsibility to this strategy is reflected
in Section 8a(5)(d)(iv), which directs agencies to assist the public
in finding government information. Agencies may accomplish this,
for example, by specifying and disseminating "locator" information,
including information about content, format, uses and limitations,
location, and means of access.
Information Dissemination Management System. This Section requires
agencies to maintain an information dissemination management system
which can ensure the routine performance of certain functions, including
the essential functions previously required by Circular No. A-3.
Smaller agencies need not establish elaborate formal systems, so
long as the heads of the agencies can ensure that the functions
are being performed.
(6)(a) carries over a requirement from OMB Circular No. A-3 that
agencies' information dissemination products are to be, in the words
of 44 U.S.C. 1108, "necessary in the transaction of the public business
required by law of the agency." (Circular No. A-130 uses the expression
"necessary for the proper performance of agency functions," which
OMB considers to be equivalent to the expression in 44 U.S.C. 1108.)
The point is that agencies should determine systematically the need
for each information dissemination product.
recognizes that to carry out effective information dissemination
programs, agencies need knowledge of the marketplace in which their
information dissemination products are placed. They need to know
what other information dissemination products users have available
in order to design the best agency product. As agencies are constrained
by finite budgets, when there are several alternatives from which
to choose, they should not expend public resources filling needs
which have already been met by others in the public or private sector.
Agencies have a responsibility not to undermine the existing diversity
of information sources.
At the same
time, an agency's responsibility to inform the public may be independent
of the availability or potential availability of a similar information
dissemination product. That is, even when another governmental or
private entity has offered an information dissemination product
identical or similar to what the agency would produce, the agency
may conclude that it nonetheless has a responsibility to disseminate
its own product. Agencies should minimize such instances of duplication
but could reach such a conclusion because legal considerations require
an official government information dissemination product.
makes the Circular consistent with current practice (See OMB Bulletins
88-15, 89-15, 90-09, and 91-16), by requiring agencies to establish
and maintain inventories of information dissemination products.
(These bulletins eliminated annual reporting to OMB of title-by-title
listings of publications and the requirement for agencies to obtain
OMB approval for each new periodical. Publications are now reviewed
as necessary during the normal budget review process.) Inventories
help other agencies and the public identify information which is
available. This serves both to increase the efficiency of the dissemination
function and to avoid unnecessary burdens of duplicative information
collections. A corollary, enunciated in Section 8a(6)(d), is that
agencies can better serve public information needs by developing
finding aids for locating information produced by the agencies.
Finally, Section 8a(6)(f) recognizes that there will be situations
where agencies may have to take appropriate steps to 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
Library Program. Sections 8a(6)(g) and (h) pertain to the Federal
Depository Library Program. Agencies are to establish procedures
to ensure compliance with 44 U.S.C. 1902, which requires that government
publications (defined in 44 U.S.C. 1901 and repeated in Section
6 of the Circular) be made available to depository libraries through
the Government Printing Office (GPO).
libraries are major partners with the Federal Government in the
dissemination of information and contribute significantly to the
diversity of information sources available to the public. They provide
a mechanism for wide distribution of government information that
guarantees basic availability to the public. Executive branch agencies
support the depository library program both as a matter of law and
on its merits as a means of informing the public about the government.
On the other hand, the law places the administration of depository
libraries with GPO. Agency responsibility for the depository libraries
is limited to supplying government publications through GPO.
improve their performance in providing government publications as
well as electronic information dissemination products to the depository
library program. For example, the proliferation of "desktop publishing"
technology in recent years has afforded the opportunity for many
agencies to produce their own printed documents. Many such documents
may properly belong in the depository libraries but are not sent
because they are not printed at GPO. The policy requires agencies
to establish management controls to ensure that the appropriate
documents reach the GPO for inclusion in the depository library
few agencies provide electronic information dissemination products
to the depository libraries. At the same time, a small but growing
number of information dissemination products are disseminated only
in electronic format.
that, as a matter of policy, electronic information dissemination
products generally should be provided to the depository libraries.
Given that production and supply of information dissemination products
to the depository libraries is primarily the responsibility of GPO,
agencies should provide appropriate electronic information dissemination
products to GPO for inclusion in the depository library program.
may be a consideration, agencies should not conclude without investigation
that it would be prohibitively expensive to place their electronic
information dissemination products in the depository libraries.
For electronic information dissemination products other than on-line
services, agencies may have the option of having GPO produce the
information dissemination product for them, in which case GPO would
pay for depository library costs. Agencies should consider this
option if it would be a cost effective alternative to the agency
making its own arrangements for production of the information dissemination
product. Using GPO's services in this manner is voluntary and at
the agency's discretion. Agencies could also consider negotiating
other terms, such as inviting GPO to participate in agency procurement
orders in order to distribute the necessary copies for the depository
libraries. With adequate advance planning, agencies should be able
to provide electronic information dissemination products to the
depository libraries at nominal cost.
In a particular
case, substantial cost may be a legitimate reason for not providing
an electronic information dissemination product to the depository
library program. For example, for an agency with a substantial number
of existing titles of electronic information dissemination products,
furnishing copies of each to the depository libraries could be prohibitively
expensive. In that situation, the agency should endeavor to make
available those titles with the greatest general interest, value,
and utility to the public. Substantial cost could also be an impediment
in the case of some on-line information services where the costs
associated with operating centralized databases would make provision
of unlimited direct access to numerous users prohibitively expensive.
In both cases, agencies should consult with the GPO, in order to
identify those information dissemination products with the greatest
public interest and utility for dissemination. In all cases, however,
where an agency discontinues publication of an information dissemination
product in paper format in favor of electronic formats, the agency
should work with the GPO to ensure availability of the information
dissemination product to depository libraries.
the Public. Sections 8a(6)(i) and (j) present new practices for
agencies to observe in communicating with the public about information
dissemination. Among agencies' responsibilities for dissemination
is an active knowledge of, and regular consultation with, the users
of their information dissemination products. A primary reason for
communication with users is to gain their contribution to improving
the quality and relevance of government information -- how it is
created, collected, and disseminated. Consultations with users might
include participation at conferences and workshops, careful attention
to correspondence and telephone communications (e.g., logging and
analyzing inquiries), or formalized user surveys.
A key part
of communicating with the public is providing adequate notice of
agency information dissemination plans. Because agencies' information
dissemination actions affect other agencies as well as the public,
agencies must forewarn other agencies of significant actions. The
decision to initiate, terminate, or substantially modify the content,
form, frequency, or availability of significant products should
also trigger appropriate advance public notice. Where appropriate,
the Government Printing Office should be notified directly. Information
dissemination products deemed not to be significant require no advance
significant products (or changes to them) might be those that:
are required by law; e.g., a statutorily mandated report to Congress;
expenditure of substantial funds;
(c) by reason
of the nature of the information, are matters of continuing public
interest; e.g., a key economic indicator;
(d) by reason
of the time value of the information, command public interest;
e.g., monthly crop reports on the day of their release;
be disseminated in a new format or medium; e.g., disseminating
a printed product in electronic medium, or disseminating a machine-readable
data file via on-line access.
of the public might consider a proposed new agency product unnecessary
or duplicative, the agency should solicit and evaluate public comments.
Where users of an agency information dissemination product may be
seriously affected by the introduction of a change in medium or
format, the agency should notify users and consider their views
before instituting the change. Where members of the public consider
an existing agency product important and necessary, the agency should
consider these views before deciding to terminate the product. In
all cases, however, determination of what is a significant information
dissemination product and what constitutes adequate notice are matters
of agency judgment.
Compliance with the Circular's Requirements. Section 8a(6)(k) requires
that the agency information dissemination management system ensure
that, to the extent existing information dissemination policies
or practices are inconsistent with the requirements of this Circular,
an orderly transition to compliance with the requirements of this
Circular is made. For example, some agency information dissemination
products may be priced at a level which exceeds the cost of dissemination,
or the agency may be engaged in practices which are otherwise unduly
restrictive. In these instances, agencies must plan for an orderly
transition to the substantive policy requirements of the Circular.
The information dissemination management system must be capable
of identifying these situations and planning for a reasonably prompt
transition. Instances of existing agency practices which cannot
immediately be brought into conformance with the requirements of
the Circular are to be addressed through the waiver procedures of
Avoiding Improperly Restrictive Practices. Federal agencies are
often the sole suppliers of the information they hold. The agencies
have either created or collected the information using public funds,
usually in furtherance of unique governmental functions, and no
one else has it. Hence agencies need to take care that their behavior
does not inappropriately constrain public access to government information.
use private contractors to accomplish dissemination, they must take
care that they do not permit contractors to impose restrictions
that undercut the agencies' discharge of their information dissemination
responsibilities. The contractual terms should assure that, with
respect to dissemination, the contractor behaves as though the contractor
were the agency. For example, an agency practice of selling, through
a contractor, on-line access to a database but refusing to sell
copies of the database itself may be improperly restrictive because
it precludes the possibility of another firm making the same service
available to the public at a lower price. If an agency is willing
to provide public access to a database, the agency should be willing
to sell copies of the database itself.
By the same
reasoning, agencies should behave in an even-handed manner in handling
information dissemination products. If an agency is willing to sell
a database or database services to some members of the public, the
agency should sell the same products under similar terms to other
members of the public, unless prohibited by statute. When an agency
decides it has public policy reasons for offering different terms
of sale to different groups in the public, the agency should provide
a clear statement of the policy and its basis.
not attempt to exert control over the secondary uses of their information
dissemination products. In particular, agencies should not establish
exclusive, restricted, or other distribution arrangements which
interfere with timely and equitable availability of information
dissemination products, and should not charge fees or royalties
for the resale or redissemination of government information. These
principles follow from the fact that the law prohibits the Federal
Government from exercising copyright.
inform the public as to the limitations inherent in the information
dissemination product (e.g., possibility of errors, degree of reliability,
and validity) so that users are fully aware of the quality and integrity
of the information. If circumstances warrant, an agency may wish
to establish a procedure by which disseminators of the agency's
information may at their option have the data and/or value-added
processing checked for accuracy and certified by the agency. Using
this method, redisseminators of the data would be able to respond
to the demand for integrity from purchasers and users. This approach
could be enhanced by the agency using its authority to trademark
its information dissemination product, and requiring that redisseminators
who wish to use the trademark agree to appropriate integrity procedures.
These methods have the possibility of promoting diversity, user
responsiveness, and efficiency as well as integrity. However, an
agency's responsibility to protect against misuse of a government
information dissemination product does not extend to restricting
or regulating how the public actually uses the information.
Trademark Act of 1946, 15 U.S.C. 1055, 1125, 1127, provides an efficient
method to address legitimate agency concerns regarding public safety.
Specifically, the Act permits a trademark owner to license the mark,
and to demand that the user maintain appropriate quality controls
over products reaching consumers under the mark. See generally,
McCarthy on Trademarks, Sec. 18.13. When a trademark owner licenses
the trademark to another, it may retain the right to control the
quality of goods sold under the trademark by the licensee. Furthermore,
if a licensee sells goods under the licensed trademark in breach
of the licensor's quality specifications, the licensee may be liable
for breach of contract as well as for trademark infringement. This
technique is increasingly being used to assure the integrity of
digital information dissemination products. For example, the Census
Bureau has trademarked its topologically integrated geographic encoding
and referencing data product ("TIGER/Line"), which is used as official
source data for legislative districting and other sensitive applications.
need for special quality control procedures is identified, agencies
should adopt the least burdensome methods and ensure that the methods
chosen do not establish an exclusive, restricted, or other distribution
arrangement that interferes with timely and equitable availability
of public information to the public. Agencies should not attempt
to condition the resale or redissemination of its information dissemination
products by members of the public.
Title 5 of the Independent Offices Appropriations Act of 1952 (31
U.S.C. 9701) establishes Federal policy regarding fees assessed
for government services, and for sale or use of government property
or resources. OMB Circular No. A-25, User Charges, implements the
statute. It provides for charges for government goods and services
that convey special benefits to recipients beyond those accruing
to the general public. It also establishes that user charges should
be set at a level sufficient to recover the full cost of providing
the service, resource, or property. Since Circular No. A-25 is silent
as to the extent of its application to government information dissemination
products, full cost recovery for information dissemination products
might be interpreted to include the cost of collecting and processing
information rather than just the cost of dissemination. The policy
in Section 8a(7)(c) clarifies the policy of Circular No. A-25 as
it applies to information dissemination products. This policy was
codified by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 at 35 U.S.C. Section
as FOIA and the Government in the Sunshine Act establish a broad
and general obligation on the part of Federal agencies to make government
information available to the public and to avoid erecting barriers
that impede public access. User charges higher than the cost of
dissemination may be a barrier to public access. The economic benefit
to society is maximized when government information is publicly
disseminated at the cost of dissemination. Absent statutory requirements
to the contrary, the general standard for user charges for government
information dissemination products should be to recover no more
than the cost of dissemination. It should be noted in this connection
that the government has already incurred the costs of creating and
processing the information for governmental purposes in order to
carry out its mission.
this standard is the FOIA fee structure which establishes limits
on what agencies can charge for access to Federal records. That
Act permits agencies to charge only the direct reasonable cost of
search, reproduction and, in certain cases, review of requested
records. In the case of FOIA requests for information dissemination
products, charges would be limited to reasonable direct reproduction
costs alone. No search would be needed to find the product, thus
no search fees would be charged. Neither would the record need to
be reviewed to determine if it could be withheld under one of the
Act's exemptions since the agency has already decided to release
it. Thus, FOIA provides an information "safety net" for the public.
does not intend to prescribe procedures for pricing government information
dissemination products, the cost of dissemination may generally
be thought of as the sum of all costs specifically associated with
preparing a product for dissemination and actually disseminating
it to the public. When an agency prepares an information product
for its own internal use, costs associated with such production
would not generally be recoverable as user charges on subsequent
dissemination. When the agency prepares the product for public dissemination,
and disseminates it, costs associated with preparation and actual
dissemination would be recoverable as user charges.
In the case
of government databases which are made available to the public on-line,
the costs associated with initial database development, including
the costs of the necessary hardware and software, would not be included
in the cost of dissemination. Once a decision is made to disseminate
the data, additional costs logically associated with dissemination
can be included in the user fee. These may include costs associated
with modification of the database to make it suitable for dissemination,
any hardware or software enhancements necessary for dissemination,
and costs associated with providing customer service or telecommunications
In the case
of information disseminated via cd-rom, the costs associated with
initial database development would likewise not be included in the
cost of dissemination. However, a portion of the costs associated
with formatting the data for cd-rom dissemination and the costs
of mastering the cd-rom, could logically be included as part of
the dissemination cost, as would the cost associated with licensing
appropriate search software.
the appropriate user fee is the responsibility of each agency, and
involves the exercise of judgment and reliance on reasonable estimates.
Agencies should be able to explain how they arrive at user fees
which represent average prices and which, given the likely demand
for the product, can be expected to recover the costs associated
provide custom tailored information services to specific individuals
or groups, full cost recovery, including the cost of collection
and processing, is appropriate. For example, if an agency prepares
special tabulations or similar services from its databases in answer
to a specific request from the public, all costs associated with
fulfilling the request would be charged, and the requester should
be so informed before work is begun.
In a few cases,
agencies engaging in information collection activities augment the
information collection at the request of, and with funds provided
by, private sector groups. Since the 1920's, the Bureau of the Census
has carried out, on request, surveys of certain industries at greater
frequency or at a greater level of detail than Federal funding would
permit, because gathering the additional information is consistent
with Federal purposes and industry groups have paid the additional
information collection and processing costs. While the results of
these surveys are disseminated to the public at the cost of dissemination,
the existence and availability of the additional government data
are special benefits to certain recipients beyond those accruing
to the public. It is appropriate that those recipients should bear
the full costs of information collection and processing, in addition
to the normal costs of dissemination.
balance the requirement to establish user charges and the level
of fees charged against other policies, specifically, the proper
performance of agency functions and the need to ensure that information
dissemination products reach the public for whom they are intended.
If an agency mission includes disseminating information to certain
specific groups or members of the public and the agency determines
that user charges will constitute a significant barrier to carrying
out this responsibility, the agency may have grounds for reducing
or eliminating its user charges for the information dissemination
product, or for exempting some recipients from the charge. Such
reductions or eliminations should be the subject of agency determinations
on a case by case basis and justified in terms of agency policies.
Electronic Information Dissemination. Advances in information technology
have changed government information dissemination. Agencies now
have available new media and formats for dissemination, including
CD-ROM, electronic bulletin boards, and public networks. The growing
public acceptance of electronic data interchange (EDI) and similar
standards enhances their attractiveness as methods for government
information dissemination. For example, experiments with the use
of electronic bulletin boards to advertise Federal contracting opportunities
and to receive vendor quotes have achieved wider dissemination of
information about business opportunities with the Federal Government
than has been the case with traditional notices and advertisements.
Improved information dissemination has increased the number of firms
expressing interest in participating in the government market and
decreased prices to the government due to expanded competition.
In addition, the development of public electronic information networks,
such as the Internet, provides an additional way for agencies to
increase the diversity of information sources available to the public.
Emerging applications such as Wide Area Information Servers and
the World-wide Web (using the NISO Z39.50 standard) will be used
increasingly to facilitate dissemination of government information
such as environmental data, international trade information, and
economic statistics in a networked environment.
A basic purpose
of the PRA is to "provide for the dissemination of public information
on a timely basis, on equitable terms, and in a manner that promotes
the utility of the information to the public and makes effective
use of information technology." (44 U.S.C. 3501(7)) Agencies can
frequently enhance the value, practical utility, and timeliness
of government information as a national resource by disseminating
information in electronic media. Electronic collection and dissemination
may substantially increase the usefulness of government information
dissemination products for three reasons. First, information disseminated
electronically is likely to be more timely and accurate because
it does not require data re-entry. Second, electronic records often
contain more complete and current information because, unlike paper,
it is relatively easy to make frequent changes. Finally, because
electronic information is more easily manipulated by the user and
can be tailored to a wide variety of needs, electronic information
dissemination products are more useful to the recipients.
at Section 8a(1)(h), agencies should use voluntary standards and
Federal Information Processing Standards to the extent appropriate
in order to ensure the most cost effective and widespread dissemination
of information in electronic formats.
frequently make government information more accessible to the public
and enhance the utility of government information as a national
resource by disseminating information in electronic media. Agencies
generally do not utilize data in raw form, but edit, refine, and
organize the data in order to make it more accessible and useful
for their own purposes. Information is made more accessible to users
by aggregating data into logical groupings, tagging data with descriptive
and other identifiers, and developing indexing and retrieval systems
to facilitate access to particular data within a larger file. As
a general matter, and subject to budgetary, security or legal constraints,
agencies should make available such features developed for internal
agency use as part of their information dissemination products.
also be situations where the agency determines that its mission
will be furthered by providing enhancements beyond those needed
for its own use, particularly those that will improve the public
availability of government information over the long term. In these
instances, the agency should evaluate the expected usefulness of
the enhanced information in light of its mission, and where appropriate
construct partnerships with the private sector to add these elements
of value. This approach may be particularly appropriate as part
of a strategy to utilize new technology enhancements, such as graphic
images, as part of a particular dissemination program.
Information Safeguards. The basic premise of this Section is that
agencies should provide an appropriate level of protection to government
information, given an assessment of the risks associated with its
maintenance and use. Among the factors to be considered include
meeting the specific requirements of the Privacy Act of 1974 and
the Computer Security Act of 1987.
agencies are to ensure that they meet the requirements of the Privacy
Act regarding information retrievable by individual identifier.
Such information is to be collected, maintained, and protected so
as to preclude intrusion into the privacy of individuals and the
unwarranted disclosure of personal information. Individuals must
be accorded access and amendment rights to records, as provided
in the Privacy Act. To the extent that agencies share information
which they have a continuing obligation to protect, agencies should
see that appropriate safeguards are instituted. Appendix I prescribes
agency procedures for the maintenance of records about individuals,
reporting requirements to OMB and Congress, and other special requirements
of specific agencies, in accordance with the Privacy Act.
also incorporates the requirement of the Computer Security Act of
1987 that agencies plan to secure their systems commensurate with
the risk and magnitude of loss or harm that could result from the
loss, misuse, or unauthorized access to information contained in
those systems. It includes assuring the integrity, availability,
and appropriate confidentiality of information. It also involves
protection against the harm that could occur to individuals or entities
outside of the Federal Government as well as the harm to the Federal
Government. Appendix III prescribes a minimum set of controls to
be included in Federal automated information resources security
programs and assigns Federal agency responsibilities for the security
of automated information resources. The Section also includes limits
on collection and sharing of information and procedures to assure
the integrity of information as well as requirements to adequately
secure the information.
of Circular No. A-114. OMB Circular No. A-114, Management of Federal
Audiovisual Activities, last revised on March 20, 1985, prescribed
policies and procedures to improve Federal audiovisual management.
Although OMB has rescinded Circular No. A-114, its essential policies
and procedures continue. This revision provides information resources
management policies and principles independent of medium, including
paper, electronic, or audiovisual. By including the term "audiovisual"
in the definition of "information," audiovisual materials are incorporated
into all policies of this Circular.
in Circular No. A-114 that the head of each agency designate an
office with responsibility for the management oversight of an agency's
audiovisual productions and that an appropriate program for the
management of audiovisual productions in conformance with 36 CFR
1232.4 is incorporated into this Circular at Section 9a(10). The
requirement that audiovisual activities be obtained consistent with
OMB Circular No. A-76 is covered by Sections 8a(1)(d), 8a(5)(d)(i)
Archives and Records Administration will continue to prescribe the
records management and archiving practices of agencies with respect
to audiovisual productions at 36 CFR 1232.4, "Audiovisual Records
Information Systems and Information Technology Management
Evaluation and Performance Measurement. OMB encourages agencies
to stress several types of evaluation in their oversight of information
systems. As a first step, agencies must assess the continuing need
for the mission function. If the agency determines there is a continuing
need for a function, agencies should reevaluate existing work processes
prior to creating new or updating existing information systems.
Without this analysis, agencies tend to develop information systems
that improve the efficiency of traditional paper-based processes
which may be no longer needed. The application of information technology
presents an opportunity to reevaluate existing organizational structures,
work processes, and ways of interacting with the public to see whether
they still efficiently and effectively support the agency's mission.
analyses provide vital management information on the most efficient
allocation of human, financial, and information resources to support
agency missions. Agencies should conduct a benefit-cost analysis
for each information system to support management decision making
to ensure: (a) alignment of the planned information system with
the agency's mission needs; (b) acceptability of information system
implementation to users inside the Government; (c) accessibility
to clientele outside the Government; and (d) realization of projected
benefits. When preparing benefit-cost analyses to support investments
in information technology, agencies should seek to quantify the
improvements in agency performance results through the measurement
of program outputs.
to conduct a benefit-cost analysis need not become a burdensome
activity for agencies. The level of detail necessary for such analyses
varies greatly and depends on the nature of the proposed investment.
Proposed investments in "major information systems" as defined in
this Circular require detailed and rigorous analysis. This analysis
should not merely serve as budget justification material, but should
be part of the ongoing management oversight process to ensure prudent
allocation of scarce resources. Proposed investments for information
systems that are not considered "major information systems" should
be analyzed and documented more informally.
While it is
not necessary to create a new benefit-cost analysis at each stage
of the information system life cycle, it is useful to refresh these
analyses with up-to-date information to ensure the continued viability
of an information system prior to and during implementation. Reasons
for updating a benefit-cost analysis may include such factors as
significant changes in projected costs and benefits, significant
changes in information technology capabilities, major changes in
requirements (including legislative or regulatory changes), or empirical
data based on performance measurement gained through prototype results
or pilot experience.
also weigh the relative benefits of proposed investments in information
technology across the agency. Given the fiscal constraints facing
the Federal government in the upcoming years, agencies should fund
a portfolio of investments across the agency that maximizes return
on investment for the agency as a whole. Agencies should also emphasize
those proposed investments that show the greatest probability (i.e.,
display the lowest financial and operational risk) of achieving
anticipated benefits for the organization. OMB and GAO are creating
a publication that will provide agencies with reference materials
for setting up such evaluation processes.
complete a retrospective evaluation of information systems once
operational to validate projected savings, changes in practices,
and effectiveness in serving affected publics. These post-implementation
reviews may also serve as the basis for agency-wide learning about
effective management practices.
Strategic Information Resources Management (IRM) Planning. Agencies
should link to, and to the extent possible, integrate IRM planning
with the agency strategic planning required by the Government Performance
and Results Act (P.L. 103-62). Such a linkage ensures that agencies
apply information resources to programs that support the achievement
of agreed-upon mission goals. Additionally, strategic IRM planning
by agencies may help avoid automating out-of-date, ineffective,
or inefficient procedures and work processes.
also devote management attention to operational information resources
management planning. This operational IRM planning should provide
a one to five year focus to agency IRM activities and projects.
Agency operational IRM plans should also provide a listing of the
major information systems covered by the management oversight processes
described in Section 8b(3). Agency operational planning for IRM
should also communicate to the public how the agency's application
of information resources might affect them. For the contractor community,
this includes articulating the agency's intent to acquire information
technology from the private sector. These data should not be considered
acquisition sensitive, so that they can be distributed as widely
as possible to the vendor community in order to promote competition.
Agencies should make these acquisition plans available to the public
through government-wide information dissemination mechanisms, including
planning should also include initiatives to reduce the burden, including
information collection burden, an agency imposes on the public.
Too often, for example, agencies require personal visits to government
offices during office hours inconvenient to the public. Instead,
agencies should plan to use information technology in ways that
make the public's dealing with the Federal government as "user-friendly"
OMB issues a bulletin requesting copies of agencies' latest strategic
IRM plans and annual updates to operational plans for information
and information technology.
Information Systems Management Oversight. Agencies should consider
what constitutes a "major information system" for purposes of this
Circular when determining the appropriate level of management attention
for an information system. The anticipated dollar size of an information
system or a supporting acquisition is only one determinant of the
level of management attention an information system requires. Additional
criteria to assess include the maturity and stability of the technology
under consideration, how well defined user requirements are, the
level of stability of program and user requirements, and security
certain risky or "cutting-edge" information systems require closer
scrutiny and more points of review and evaluation. This is particularly
true when an agency uses an evolutionary life cycle strategy that
requires a technical and financial evaluation of the project's viability
at prototype and pilot testing phases. Projects relying on commercial
off-the-shelf technology and applications will generally require
less oversight than those using custom-designed software.
phase of an information system life cycle may have unique characteristics,
the dividing line between the phases may not always be distinct.
For instance, both planning and evaluation should continue throughout
the information system life cycle. In fact, during any phase, it
may be necessary to revisit the previous stages based on new information
or changes in the environment in which the system is being developed.
statements in this Circular describe an information system life
cycle. It does not, however, make a definitive statement that there
must be four versus five phases of a life cycle because the life
cycle varies by the nature of the information system. Only two phases
are common to all information systems - a beginning and an end.
As a result, life cycle management techniques that agencies can
use may vary depending on the complexity and risk inherent in the
of this management oversight policy is the recognition of imbedded
and/or parallel life cycles. Within an information system's life
cycle there may be other subsidiary life cycles. For instance, most
Federal information systems projects include an acquisition of goods
and services that have life cycle characteristics. Some projects
include software development components, which also have life cycles.
Effective management oversight of major information systems requires
a recognition of all these various life cycles and an integrated
information systems management oversight with the budget and human
resource management cycles that exist in the agency.
of the Circular underscores the need for agencies to bring an agency-wide
perspective to a number of information resources management issues.
These issues include policy formulation, planning, management and
technical frameworks for using information resources, and management
oversight of major information systems. Agencies should also provide
for coordinated decision making (Section 8b(3)(f)) in order to bring
together the perspectives from across an agency, and outside if
appropriate. Such coordination may take place in an agency-wide
management or IRM committee. Interested groups typically include
functional users, managers of financial and human resources, information
resources management specialists, and, as appropriate, the affected
Use of Information Resources. Agency management of information resources
should be guided by management and technical frameworks for agency-wide
information and information technology needs. The technical framework
should serve as a reference for updates to existing and new information
systems. The management framework should assure the integration
of proposed information systems projects into the technical framework
in a manner that will ensure progress towards achieving an open
systems environment. Agency strategic IRM planning should describe
the parameters (e.g., technical standards) of such a technical framework.
The management framework should drive operational planning and should
describe how the agency intends to use information and information
technology consistent with the technical framework.
and technical frameworks for information resources should address
agency strategies to move toward an open systems environment. These
strategies should consist of one or multiple profiles (an internally
consistent set of standards), based on the current version of the
NIST's Application Portability Profile. These profiles should satisfy
user requirements, accommodate officially recognized or de facto
standards, and promote interoperability, application portability,
and scalability by defining interfaces, services, protocols, and
data formats favoring the use of nonproprietary specifications.
focus on how to better utilize the data they currently collect from
the public. Because agencies generally do not share information,
the public often must respond to duplicative information collections
from various agencies or their components. Sharing of information
about individuals should be consistent with the Privacy Act of 1974,
as amended, and Appendix I of this Circular.
by IPSOs to components of their own agency are often perceived to
be "free" by the service recipients because their costs are budgeted
as an "overhead" charge. Service recipients typically do not pay
for IPSO services based on actual usage. Since the services are
perceived to be free, there is very little incentive for either
the service recipients or the IPSO managers to be watchful for opportunities
to improve productivity or to reduce costs. Agencies are encouraged
to institute chargeback mechanisms for IPSOs that provide common
information processing services across a number of agency components
when the resulting economies are expected to exceed the cost of
Acquisition of Information Technology. Consistent with the requirements
of the Brooks Act and the Paperwork Reduction Act, agencies should
acquire information technology to improve service delivery, reduce
the cost of Federal program administration, and minimize burden
of dealing with the Federal government. Agencies may wish to ask
potential offerors to propose different technical solutions and
approaches to fulfilling agency mission requirements. Evaluating
acquisitions of information technology must assess both the benefits
and costs of applying technology to meet such requirements.
between information system life cycles and acquisition life cycles
is important when considering the implications of OMB Circular A-109,
Acquisition of Major Systems, to the acquisition of information
resources. Circular A-109 presents one strategy for acquiring information
The agency intends to fund operational tests and demonstrations
of system design;
risk is high due to the unproven integration of custom designed
software and/or hardware components;
estimated cost savings or operational improvements from such a
demonstration will further improve the return on investment; or
agency wants to acquire a solution based on state-of-the-art,
comply with OMB Circular A-76, Performance of Commercial Activities,
when considering conversion to or from in-house or contract performance.
ensure that acquisitions for new information technology comply with
GSA regulations concerning information technology accessibility
for individuals with disabilities [41 C.F.R. 201-20.103-7].
Ombudsman. The senior agency official designated by the head of
each agency under 44 U.S.C. 3506(a) is charged with carrying out
the responsibilities of the agency under the PRA. Agency senior
information resources management officials are responsible for ensuring
that their agency practices are in compliance with OMB policies.
It is envisioned that the agency senior information resources management
official will work as an ombudsman to investigate alleged instances
of agency failure to adhere to the policies set forth in the Circular
and to recommend or take corrective action as appropriate. Agency
heads should continue to use existing mechanisms to ensure compliance
with laws and policies.
International Relationships. The information policies contained
in the PRA and Circular A-130 are based on the premise that government
information is a valuable national resource, and that the economic
benefits to society are maximized when government information is
available in a timely and equitable manner to all. Maximizing the
benefits of government information to society depends, in turn,
on fostering diversity among the entities involved in disseminating
it. These include for-profit and not-for-profit entities, such as
information vendors and libraries, as well as State, local and tribal
governments. The policies on charging the cost of dissemination
and against restrictive practices contained in the PRA and Circular
A-130 are aimed at achieving this goal.
do not necessarily share these values. Although an increasing number
are embracing the concept of equitable and unrestricted access to
public information -- particularly scientific, environmental, and
geographic information of great public benefit -- other nations
are treating their information as a commodity to be "commercialized".
Whereas the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 105, has long provided that
"[c]opyright protection under this title is not available for any
work of the United States Government," some other nations take advantage
of their domestic copyright laws that do permit government copyright
and assert a monopoly on certain categories of information in order
to maximize revenues. Such arrangements tend to preclude other entities
from developing markets for the information or otherwise disseminating
the information in the public interest.
agencies involved in international data exchanges are sometimes
faced with problems in disseminating data stemming from differing
national treatment of government copyright. For example, one country
may attempt to condition the sharing of data with a Federal agency
on an agreement that the agency will withhold release of the information
or otherwise restrict its availability to the public. Since the
Freedom of Information Act does not provide a categorical exemption
for copyrighted information, and Federal agencies have neither the
authority nor capability to enforce restrictions on behalf of other
nations, agencies faced with such restrictive conditions lack clear
guidance as to how to respond.
of the July 1995 Congress of the World Meteorological Organization,
which sought to strike a balance of interests in this area, are
instructive. Faced with a resolution which would have essentially
required member nations to enforce restrictions on certain categories
of information for the commercial benefit of other nations, the
United States proposed a compromise which was ultimately accepted.
The compromise explicitly affirmed the general principle that government
meteorological information -- like all other scientific, technical
and environmental information -- should be shared globally without
restriction; but recognized that individual nations may in particular
cases apply their own domestic copyright and similar laws to prevent
what they deem to be unfair or inappropriate competition within
their own territories. This compromise leaves open the door for
further consultation as to whether the future of government information
policy in a global information infrastructure should follow the
"open and unrestricted access" model embraced by the United States
and a number of other nations, or if it should follow the "government
commercialization" model of others.
since the PRA and Circular A-130 are silent as to how agencies should
respond to similar situations, we are providing the following suggestions.
They are intended to foster globally the open and unrestricted information
policy embraced by the United States and like minded nations, while
permitting agencies to have access to data provided by foreign governments
with restrictive conditions.
a Federal agency of copyrighted information, whether under a FOIA
request or otherwise, does not affect any rights the copyright holder
might otherwise possess. Accordingly, agencies should inform any
concerned foreign governments that their copyright claims may be
enforceable under United States law, but that the agency is not
authorized to prosecute any such claim on behalf of the foreign
agency seeks to negotiate an international agreement in which a
foreign party seeks to impose restrictive practices on information
to be exchanged, the agency should first coordinate with the State
Department. The State Department will work with the agency to develop
the least restrictive terms consistent with United States policy,
and ensure that those terms receive full interagency clearance through
the established process for granting agencies authority to negotiate
and conclude international agreements.
an agency is attending meetings of international or multilateral
organizations where restrictive practices are being proposed as
binding on member states, the agency should coordinate with the
State Department, the Office of Management and Budget, the Office
of Science and Technology Policy, or the U.S. Trade Representative,
as appropriate, before expressing a position on behalf of the United