In a rare example of bipartisanship, the leaders of the House Oversight and Reform Committee have urged the National Archives and Records Administration to apply for funding through the government-wide Technology Modernization Fund to speed up the digitizing of records at its National Personnel Records Center.
That center currently has a backlog of some 500,000 requests for military records that veterans need for claiming benefits, and “has identified the need to digitize records as one of the biggest hurdles” to addressing that backlog, they said in a letter.
“We strongly believe that the digitization of NPRC’s records holdings fits both the objective and spirit of the TMF, and we urge NARA to apply for additional assistance through this important program,” it said.
Federal employees with military service also sometimes need to get records from that center to document that service and to make any needed deposits into the federal retirement fund in order to capture credit for that time toward a federal annuity.
The backlog also has been a focal point of largely partisan disputes over returning federal employees to their regular worksites. The agency recently told the committee that despite bringing in more employees and adding contractor help recently, it does not expect the backlog to be eliminated until the end of next year.