Commander's Guide to Operational Records and Data Collection
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1. General Information
- Chapter 2. Center of Military History, Unit Historical Documents and Programs: Preserving Your Unit’s History
- Chapter 3. Records Management and Declassification Agency: Documenting Operations and Ensuring Official Records are Captured and Preserved
- Chapter 4. Center for Army Lessons Learned: Collection Priorities
- Appendix A. Additional Records Management Information
- Appendix B. After-Action Review Template
- Appendix C. Useful References
The Center of Military History (CMH), Records Management and Declassification Agency (RMDA), and Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL) are all repositories for a unit's operational records and data. They have jointly prepared this handbook to provide the commander clear guidance pertaining to the preservation and disposition of his unit's important operational records and data.
Your role as the commander of your unit is simple to comprehend but difficult to achieve. Primarily, it is a matter of your personal interest. The commander's priorities become the unit's priorities, and the unit does only those things the commander inspects and believes are important. If you insist that the records and operational data sources are maintained, preserved, and retired appropriately, they probably will be. Have you set up a staff standing operating procedure to make sure that happens? Is there one person on your staff whose additional, specified duty is to ensure that the records are kept and retired? If so, you are halfway there. This is not just a "make-work" administrative chore; it is essential to the long-term preservation of your unit's history, part of your responsibility to take care of your Soldiers, and required by law and regulation.
After establishing the need to keep operational records, you must set the procedures in place to do it regularly (and inspect to ensure it is done regularly). This handbook is designed to give you some handy checklists of exactly what types of records CMH, RMDA, and CALL need; how to preserve your records for yourself and for these collectors; and what to expect when these collectors show up at your tactical operations center.
In short, the purpose of this publication is to assist you in understanding the importance of your operational data and records; the critical need to preserve these records to protect your Soldiers, improve doctrine, and capture your unit history for all time; and your role in making this happen.
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