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Friday, August 2, 2013

Conflict Records Research Center Funding Crisis

David Palkki the Acting Director of the Conflict Records Research Center (CRRC, excellent new website here) at the National Defense University yesterday posted a quarterly update that relays the unfortunate news of a "complete lack of future funding."  There is currently no funding beyond the end of the current fiscal year and if funding is not received prior to September 30, "the CRRC goes out of business" and "its collections will be frozen in time."

It would be very unfortunate if the CRRC were discontinued as it has been doing great work making a significant body of captured foreign records and English translations available to researchers that would otherwise be nonpublic.  See the overview of its "Saddam Hussein Regime" collection here and its "al-Qaeda and Associated Movements" collection here, both of which include a growing number of records available online.

Palkki notes that the Senate Armed Services Committee's markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2014 does recommend that the CRRC receive $1 million, but it is unclear when that will become law.

In the event, no funding materializes, Palkki notes that the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) "will take ownership of all CRRC records" and that
NARA officials have informed CRRC staff that NARA would not release CRRC records for 25 years, with the exception of a trickle of records in response to Freedom of Information Act Requests. NARA has also announced that it would release only the CRRC translations, not copies of the Arabic originals, and would redact most of the names in the translations.
Here's hoping that the funding comes through and that the CRRC will be able to continue its important work.

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