Transform the Security Classification System (US0030)
Action Plan: United States Second Action Plan 2013-2015
Action Plan Cycle: 2013
Lead Institution: Department of Justice (DOJ), National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), General Services Administration (GSA)
Support Institution(s): NA
Policy AreasRecords Management, Security & Public Safety
4. Transform the Security Classification System
While national security requires that certain information be protected as classified, democratic principles simultaneously require government to be transparent — wherever possible — about its activities. Overclassification may have high costs and operational impacts on agencies. Classification must therefore be kept to the minimum required to meet national security needs, and information should be made available to the public through proper declassification once the need for protecting the information has passed. In continuation of our efforts to transform the classification system and declassify as much material as possible, while simultaneously protecting national security, the Administration will:
-Create a Security Classification Reform Committee. The Public Interest Declassification Board, an advisory committee made up of experts outside government as well as former government classification experts, has made several recommendations for reducing overclassification and simplifying the classification system in its report, Transforming the Security Classification System. The interagency Classification Review Committee, which will report to the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, will review these recommendations, coordinate efforts to implement those that are accepted, and meet periodically with external stakeholders to obtain their input as appropriate.
-Systematically Review and Declassify Historical Data on Nuclear Activities. The Classification Review Committee will work with the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and Department of State to determine, consistent with applicable statutes, how to implement a systematic review process for the declassification of no-longer sensitive historical information on nuclear programs (Formerly Restricted Data or FRD), focusing on specific events and topics of historical nuclear policy interest and ways for the public to help identify priorities for declassification review.
- Pilot Technological Tools to Analyze Classified Presidential Records. The Central Intelligence Agency and NARA will pilot the use of new tools to provide classification reviewers with search capability for unstructured data and automate initial document analysis, beginning with Presidential Records from the Reagan Administration’s classified e-mail system.
-Implement Monitoring and Tracking of Declassification Reviews. The National Declassification Center at NARA will implement a referral and tracking system that will automatically notify appropriate agency representatives when classified records are ready for declassification review and enable monitoring to ensure that agencies meet review deadlines. This system will include records of Presidential Libraries.