Acting Press Secretary Todd Breasseale provided the following statement:
“Yesterday, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks issued a memo to DoD leaders reinforcing the department’s responsibility to retain federal records, including text messages.
“The memo reminds users of DoD mobile devices that under existing DoD Instructions, DoD users are required to retain text messages that qualify as federal records. It also directs that effective immediately, DoD information service providers are to capture and save the data resident on DoD-provisioned mobile devices when they are returned by their users. The memo directs the DoD Chief Information Officer to work with DoD components to ensure this guidance is implemented across the department, and to work with the DoD General Counsel to assess existing policies and procedures and report within 30 days to the Deputy Secretary on any further actions they recommend to ensure compliance with the Federal Records Act.
“Deputy Secretary Hicks issued the memo after media reports that the Department did not retain the cell phone data of former senior officials upon their departure from the Department, including records related to the events of January 6, 2021. The department will be transparent with Congress and the public on records retrieval and stewardship.”
The memo is available here.