DoD releases updated declassification guidelines

Friday - 3/16/2012, 12:19pm EDT

Ed Kaufhold, information security chief for the Defense Under Secretary of Intelligence

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The Defense Department has updated classification and declassification guidelines to help agencies determined what should be public knowledge, particularly when it comes to national security.

DoD is scheduled to release a manual on these guidelines this summer, said Ed Kaufhold, information security chief for the Defense Under Secretary of Intelligence, in an interview with The Federal Drive with Emily Kopp and Jared Serbu.

In 2009, President Barack Obama issued an executive order calling for a "uniform system" for classifying and declassifying national security information.

The order created the National Declassification Center within the National Archives and Records Administration to streamline the declassification process. The center, however, currently faces a backlog of 400 million pages that must be declassified by the end of 2013.

"Getting that information finally evaluated and released to the American public — that's the biggest piece of openness we can really point to from this," Kaufhold said.

The executive order also set up the Fundamental Classification Guidance Review, directing agencies to determine which information they need to classify. Kaufhold said DoD has made "enormous strides" in updating nearly 1,800 security classification guidelines as a result of FCGR.

DoD is on track to release a final report on its guidelines this summer to the Information Security Oversight Office. Producing this manual took a "very, very large effort" and incorporated about 800 comments from about 40 component organizations in DoD, Kaufhold said.

"We can't afford unnecessary secrecy, but we have to have at least some of it," Kaufhold said. "That's our challenge in a nutshell."

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