The Senate voted on Wednesday to confirm Colleen Shogan to serve as the head of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
In a 52-45 vote that took place on May 10, Shogan was confirmed and will begin her tenure next week as the 11th archivist of the United States, and the first woman to lead the agency in a permanent capacity.
Shogan was first nominated by President Joe Biden in August 2022 – following the retirement of the 10th archivist, David Ferriero – but the nomination was quickly blocked by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, who cited Shogan’s “partisan views” as the reason for the deadlock.
Biden then refreshed Shogan’s nomination in January, and she was cleared by the Senate panel on an 8-4 vote.
As the archivist of the United States, Shogan will oversee NARA, which aims to ensure continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government – from the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans.
The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries as well as online, and Shogan ensured senators that IT modernization would be her top priority.
“Citizen engagement with the archives materials online and in person through our nationwide system of archival research rooms and presidential libraries is a top priority for NARA,” Shogan said during her confirmation hearing last year. “It is leading the government-wide transition to electronic record keeping.”
The backlog of veterans’ records will also be a major task for Shogan. The backlog peaked at 603,000 requests in March 2022, but a year later, the backlog stood at 330,000 records.
When she appeared before the Senate panel for a second time, Shogan vowed to have to backlog eliminated by December of 2023.
“I will have many hills to climb in this position,” she said during her hearing, “NARA must do [its job] as technologies improve at a lightning speed.”
“Government is not always considered nimble when it comes to innovation, but the National Archives can serve as a leader in its transition to a primarily digital future,” Shogan stated.