By Mike Beck

Originally published by The Hill.

Classified email. Agency business. Personal accounts. Capstone … No, this doesn’t pertain to Secretary Clinton’s email discomfiture, nor a secretive government mission. But as federal government employees, odds are that you are not only mindful of these terms, but have a large portion of your daily work lives driven by them.

2016 is here and the Presidential Memorandum M-12-18 on managing government records mandates that all email within the federal government be managed as a record by the end of this year. Many federal agencies are still determining a workable strategy to meet the goals of transparency, efficiency and accountability; and comply with federal statutes and regulations for records management.


The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) issued a guidance bulletin in 2014. Among these recommendations is to use the Capstone approach to relieve many employees of the burden of identifying and assigning an individual value to each email that leads to its deletion, or transfer to a recordkeeping system. The Capstone approach is still human driven; it requires each agency, and its individual employees, to identify what employees are considered “Capstone” employees based on certain factors – be it the type of work they do, their position or job title, or the office and department in which they work. Those descriptions could span both senior and lower level employees. Those emails are then deemed to be federal records – and, as we are all keenly aware in the era of political email ignominies, include agency business conducted through personal email accounts.

And then there are the additional compliance concerns, such as discovery requirements in the event of any litigation, and adherence to the Freedom of Information Act.

If your agency is typical of others – or of any modern-day business, for that matter – the practicality of Capstone versus an auto-categorization or any automated statistical method may seem dubious. And what about mailbox limitations that require frequent email deletion? Conversely, Capstone may make the most sense for some agencies. Or does a feasible combination exist?


Read the original The Hill story here.

Beck is CEO of IQBG and has more than 25 years experience leading both private and public technology sales and services firms.