ISOO's Mission, Functions, and Goals
An open society in which an American public is informed by a free flow of information and holds our government accountable is a defining factor of our democracy. Similarly, our ability to share and leverage information is the source of power and might in the 21st century. This must be balanced by the imperative to hold certain information in confidence in order to protect from harm our citizens, our democratic institutions, and our participation in the community of nations.
ISOO ensures the development and application and preserves the integrity of risk-based frameworks in government and industry, which balance the disclosure, sharing and protection of information related to the national security.
Under Executive Order 13526 and Executive Order 12829, as amended, ISOO oversees the security classification programs in both Government and industry and reports annually to the President on their status. We monitor approximately 65 executive branch departments, independent agencies and offices, and their major components.
Implementing Directives, Instruction and Regulations:
ISOO develops, coordinates and issues implementing directives and instructions regarding Executive Order 13526 (PDF Format) , Order 12829 (PDF Format), that are binding on executive branch agencies. ISOO also reviews and approves the implementing regulations issued by the agencies.
Liaison, Inspections and General Oversight:
ISOO's analysts maintain continuous liaison with their agency counterparts on all matters relating to the Government-wide security classification program and the National Industrial Security Program. ISOO also conducts on-site inspections and special classified document reviews to monitor agency compliance with the Order.
Security Education and Training:
In addition to monitoring each agency's security education and training program, ISOO develops and disseminates security education materials for Government and industry. ISOO's most popular training tools include its Marking Booklet and the Standard Form 312 Briefing Booklet (HTML format) (PDF Format).
Complaints, Appeals and Suggestions:
ISOO receives and takes action on complaints, appeals, and suggestions from persons inside or outside the executive branch regarding any aspect of the administration of Executive Order 13526, and Executive Order 12829, as amended.
Statistical Collection, Analysis and Reporting:
Each year ISOO gathers relevant statistical data regarding each agency's security classification program and cost estimates for security classification activities . ISOO analyzes these data and reports them, along with other relevant information, in its Annual Report to the President and its Cost Report. Copies of these reports are available upon request or for download in the section ISOO Reports.
Spokesperson for the Government's Security Classification Program:
The Director of ISOO serves as the Government's spokesperson to Congress, the media, special interest groups, professional organizations, and the public on matters related to the security classification program.
Special Studies and Projects:
ISOO conducts special studies on identified or potential problem areas and develops remedial approaches for program improvement. ISOO also develops and issues standardized security forms designed to promote uniform implementation of the program and to reduce costs by eliminating duplication.
ISOO recommends policy changes to the President through the National Security Council. As appropriate, ISOO convenes and chairs interagency meetings to discuss matters, including possible policy changes, pertaining to the security classification program.
- Promote and enhance the system that protects the national security information that safeguards the American government and its people.
- Provide for an informed American public by ensuring that the minimum information necessary to the interest of national security is classified and that information is declassified as soon as it no longer requires protection.
- Promote and enhance concepts that facilitate the sharing of information in the fulfillment of mission-critical functions related to national security.
- Provides expert advice and guidance pertinent to the principles of information security.