The United States Army noticed the advantages of electronic document management systems not long after the technology began to take hold during the Gulf War. Storing files electronically can help free up office space, save time that would otherwise be spent hand-recording notes and protect paper documents from destruction. Should a base be attacked and file cabinets destroyed, the information present on the papers would remain accessible on computers.
However, the Army's system is being called into question now that numerous veterans filing disability claims have found that the records of their service have disappeared. ProPublica suggested that a combination of a faulty system, security issues and leadership fissures resulted in the loss of files concerning the campaigns of many units in Afghanistan and Iraq recently, including day-to-day files, write-ups and intelligence reports.
"I fear we're never really going to know clearly what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan because we don't have the records," director of the U.S. Army's Military History Institute Conrad Crane told the news provider.
All Gov reported that between 2004 and 2008, the files of around 15 brigades in Iraq went missing or have been destroyed.
When implementing digitization, agencies and private companies alike need to make sure they are relying on reputable third party providers and storage businesses so their documents aren't left vulnerable.
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