Standing Rules

Society of American Archivists
Military Archives Section



I .  Statement of Need
            Intrinsic to the experience of many nations is the pervasive nature of conflict. Military institutions impact societies in areas far beyond the execution of military conflict and in ways not generally understood or documented. The impact of this on national and international policy, economics, society, social mores, and the individual human being either on the front line or on the home front is just now beginning to be understood. It is vital that an informed public have available to it the full range of records and historical experience necessary to deal with this social reality.

II. Mission     
            The mission of the Military Archives and Records Section (hereafter, MARS) is to foster dialogue among archivists working with military-related collections and other stakeholders on a wide variety of archival issues, including management, preservation, description, and access to the wide spectrum of materials documenting the impact of military conflict and to facilitate collaboration and information-sharing among archival institutions, universities, government agencies, legal bodies, and nongovernment agencies that are documenting and preserving records of issues related to the military and military service and the impact of the military on society.

III. Membership
             Membership in the MARS is open to any archivist of any institution that collects or is interested in collecting records documenting the impact of military service, military institutions or military policy on society, subject to the guidelines established in Section IX. of the SAA Governance Manual. 

IV. Governance

A. Bylaws and Standing Rules. These standing rules of the Military Archives Section shall serve as a supplement to the SAA Section Bylaws, which govern all SAA sections. Please refer to Section IX. Sections of the SAA Governance Manual for information on membership, section election procedures, reporting requirements, and more.              

B. Structure. The operating structure of the MARS will be configured in the following fashion for accomplishing the work of the section.

1. Steering Committee – The committee will be composed of the MARS Chair, Vice Chair/Chair-Elect, Secretary, and Communications Liaison, and the chairs of standing committees and working groups. It will primarily be responsible for liaison with the SAA Council; making sure that MARS activities are in accordance with SAA standards and requirements; and creating the structure, committees, or working groups necessary to carry out the mission of MARS.

3. Committees and Working Groups – Any number of committees and working groups can be created by the Steering Committee at will in response to the needs and business of the MARS. Within the context of these bylaws, committees will largely be issues-oriented and ongoing in nature and working groups will largely be project-oriented with more limited objectives and time frames. Each committee and working group will be led by a chair appointed by the MARS chair and a secretary chosen by the chair of the committee or working group. Committee and working group chairs will also serve on the Steering Committee.  

V. Duties of Officers and Elections

A.  The MARS will have the following officers, whose primary responsibilities will be acting as a liaison with the SAA Council, filing the annual report of MARS activities with the SAA Council and facilitating working relationships and reporting by MARS committees and working groups. The heirarchy of officers will be as listed below. 

1. Chair – Shall facilitate the annual meeting and other meetings with the advice and assistance of the Steering Committee, including the annual field trip, and any programming, presentations, or workshops offered during the MARS annual meeting. The Chair will also appoint committee and working group chairs, act as the primary liaison between the MARS and the SAA Council, and coordinate the generation and submission of all reports to the SAA.

2. Vice Chair – Serves as acting chair in the absence of the chair; succeeds as chair if the current chair cannot complete the term of office; assists the Chair with coordinating the annual meeting activities, to include the annual field trip, and any programming, presentations, or workshops offered during the MARS annual meeting; will solicit and vet volunteers for MARS officer positions and coordinate elections; and performs other duties assigned by the chair. The Vice Chair/Chair-Elect shall assume the role of Chair in the second year of her/his term.

3. Secretary – Servse as a member of the Steering Committee and is responsible for keeping minutes of the MARS annual meeting and Steering Committee meetings; serving as archivist for the MARS by collecting and maintaining all MARS records and collecting and maintaining the reports and minutes of the various MARS committees and working groups; will oversee and coordinate the work of all MARS working groups and committees, reporting on progress to the rest of the Steering Committee; and performing other duties as assigned by the MARS chair. At the end of his/her term, the secretary will be responsible for transferring all active records to his/her successor and all inactive records to the SAA Archivist.

4. Communication Liaison - Shall be responsible for using various communication modes, such as the Section listserv, Facebook, and SAA publications to communicate with the Section membership about news and events, updates the MARS microsite as necessary, posts meeting minutes to the MARS microsite, serves on the Steering Committee, and coordinates with the Secretary on communication needs. 

B. Elections

1. Officers – The MARS will have elections for the following officers: Chair, Vice Chair/Chair-Elect, Secretary, and Communications Liaison.

2. Terms of Service  All officers and committee heads will serve staggered two-year terms.  Terms of office will begin at the close of the section annual meeting. All officers have a term limit of two consecutive terms.

3. Elections  Elections shall be conducted online with the assistance of the SAA staff and in accordance with guidelines for section elections as specified in Section IX. Sections of the SAA Governance Manual. Availability of the online ballot and deadline for voting shall be announced by the Chair to all section members via the section’s official email discussion list and website.

4. Nominations – The Steering Committee will solicit volunteers and nominations for MARS offices, and confirm that nominees are willing to serve and are SAA members in good standing

5. Special Elections - If any officer cannot serve their full term and resigns, the Chair will appoint a temporary replacement to serve until an election can be held to fill the position for the rest of the term. To preserve continuity of leadership, if the Chair should resign, the Vice Chair/Chair-Elect will become the Chair, and a special election will be held to fill the Vice Chair/Chair-Elect position. 

VI. Meetings
       The following paragraphs lay out the requirements for meetings and reporting of MARS committees   and working groups. 

  1. Annual Meeting – The MARS will meet at least once per year during the Annual Meeting of the Society of American Archivists and may meet at other times as deemed appropriate by the Steering Committee or membership.
  2. Other Meetings – As provided for above, committees and working groups of the MARS may meet in a time, place, and manner most conducive to completing their assigned tasks.
  3. Committee and working group secretaries will keep and forward to the MARS Secretary the minutes of any meetings. The progress of these committees and working groups will be reported on at least once a year during the meeting of the MARS at the Annual Meeting of the Society of American Archivists and as requested by the MARS chair or Secretary.

VII. Communications
            The MARS will use various forms of media to communicate with members and the public. The goal will be to allow MARS members to communicate with each other, colleagues, and the public in a way that will be efficient and effective.

  1. MARS Listserv – The Listserv will be the primary means of communication to MARS membership on issues of common interest.
  2. MARS Facebook – The MARS Facebook page will serve as a public interface of the MARS.
  3. MARS Website - The MARS website will serve as a public interface for the MARS and will list contact information for current officers and committee members.

VIII. Amendments
           To ensure alignment with SAA’s governance documents, any amendments to the section’s standing rules should be reviewed by the executive director (or her/his designee) and the section’s Council liaison by May 1, before they are put forward in a referendum for vote by the section membership. Proposed amendments to the section’s standing rules will appear on the section’s annual election ballot for a final approval by a simple majority of the section’s membership. Any adopted amendments should be posted promptly to the section’s official microsite and be noted in the section’s next annual report to the Council. Any revisions to the section’s name or mission/description must be submitted to the Council for final approval. For more information on amendment procedures, see Section IX. Sections of the SAA Governance Manual.


Approved by the SAA Council on 9/30/13 . Adopted by the Military Archives and Records Section membership on 7/16/2013. Updated per the member affinity group transition approved by the Council, August 2016. Revisions approved by the MARS membership, July 2018. 

MARS Bylaws Proposal 06_11_2018 with tracked changes.pdf409.5 KB
Military Archives Section Bylaws_ 2016 Update.pdf220.39 KB