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Senior Policy Officials Meet About Section 3

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) Chairman John Nau hosted a meeting of Senior Policy Officials May 29, 2008 to discuss the impending progress reports under Section 3 of Executive Order 13287, "Preserve America." The meeting offered the officials a chance to engage in a discussion about individual progress reports and the development of the ACHP’s own Section 3 progress report. Senior Policy Officials (SPO) are those individuals designated under EO 13287, who have policy oversight responsibility for their federal agency’s historic preservation program.

Section 3 of EO 13287 requires real property managing agencies to submit a triennial report on their progress in identifying, protecting, and using historic properties in their ownership. Agencies submitted baseline reports in 2004 and their first progress reports in 2005. Agencies have until September 30, 2008, to submit the next progress report. The ACHP will then submit its own summary progress report to the President no later than February 15, 2009.

Lynn Scarlett, Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior, addressed the audience by offering her views on the key themes of the Executive Order as well as categories that frame the nexus between federal agencies' historic assets, mission, and opportunities to enhance the stewardship of those assets. In the meeting, the ACHP heard from participating agencies about their experiences in implementing EO 13287 and both their successes in protecting historic properties and the challenges they face in improving their efforts to identify, protect, and use them.

Participants addressed several important topics during discussion including the value of a clear set of updated standards for professional qualifications for archaeology, architectural history, architecture, and historic architecture. Numerous agencies noted the challenges they are facing with a management agenda that includes the reduction of real property inventory that includes many historic assets. In regard to the ACHP's own progress report due to the next President in February 2009, it was recommended that the ACHP illustrate federal agency successes through the use of case studies and present an honest assessment of the challenges agencies have faced over the last three years as a way to begin establishing priorities for the next Administration's management agenda.

Chairman Nau conveyed the message that federal real property belongs to the American public and is part of this country’s heritage that must be identified, protected, and used. Federal agencies are stewards of this heritage and should incorporate the productive use of historic assets into their management goals.

The ACHP anticipates federal agencies will have significant progress to report in September as agencies constantly improve their ability to integrate historic property information into the various federal reporting requirements.

For additional information on the role of Senior Policy Officials and Section 3 reporting please contact Reid Nelson, Assistant Director, at 202.606.8556 or

Posted June 25, 2008

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