Press/Journalists

Press Release
April 15, 2010

Information Security Oversight Office Releases 30th Annual Report to the President

Contact Information

  • ISOO
    Room 100
    National Archives and Records Administration
    700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC, 20408-0001

    ISOO contact info Telephone:   202-357-5250
    Fax:   202-357-5907
    E-mail:   isoo@nara.gov
  • NARA public affairs contact National Archives
    Public Affairs Staff
    202-357-5300
  • ISOO web site

Washington, DC…The Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) announced today that it has released its Report to the President for Fiscal Year (FY) 2009. The Report is accessible on the ISOO web site [www.archives.gov/isoo/reports/].

The Report profiles data about the Government-wide security classification program during Fiscal Year 2009. This report represents the thirtieth Annual Report issued by ISOO. The first Report, covering FY 1979, was transmitted to President Carter in April of 1980.

ISOO noted in the Report that agencies have already made progress in limiting the delegation of original classification authority, as required by the President in his December 29, 2009 Memorandum on the implementation of Executive Order 13526, “Classified National Security Information.”

  • Agencies reported that in FY 2009, only 2,557 officials were delegated original classification authority which is down from 4,109 reported in FY 2008.
    • This is less than the average number FY 1980 through FY 2008 (5,400) and, in fact, is the lowest number ever reported.
    • This decrease was attributed to a special effort by the Department of State, which reduced its delegations from 2,560 to 999.

ISOO also noted several other positive developments:

  • Agencies reported a 10 percent reduction in original classification activity (new “secrets”).
  • Agencies also reported to ISOO that they assigned a duration of ten years or less in 67 percent of their original classification decisions, the highest percentage since FY1996.

ISOO placed renewed emphasis on its data collection efforts in FY 2009 to better reflect the way that classified information is used in the electronic environment and issued revised guidance instructing agencies to count all classification actions in whatever medium they might occur.

  • As a result, the derivative classification totals reported this year are significantly higher than in previous years.
  • This does not reflect an increase in classification activity during FY 2009, but rather improved reporting of classification activity.

However, ISOO raised a number of concerns.  In addition to noting several positive developments, in his transmittal letter to President Obama, ISOO Director William J. Bosanko informed the President that:

  • Oversight efforts continue to identify shortcomings in agency implementation of basic requirements.
  • Of particular concern are requirements related to implementing directives, security education and training, classification guides, and self-inspections.
  • However, ISOO noted that with the direction the President provided on December 29, 2009, there is renewed emphasis on each of these critical areas.
  • ISOO Director Bosanko stressed that sustained vigilance on the part of senior leadership within the agencies is critical to success.

Highlights of the data in the report include:

Classification

  • Executive branch agencies reported 2,557 original classification authorities.
    • The lowest number ever reported.
  • Agencies reported 183,224 original classification decisions.
    • A 10 percent decrease from FY 2008.
  • Agencies reported using the ten-year-or-less declassification instruction for 67 percent of original classification decisions.
    • The highest percentage reported since FY 1996.
  • Executive branch agencies reported 54,651,765 derivative classification decisions.
    • An increase largely attributed to more accurate data provided by agencies as a result of changes in guidance issued by ISOO.
  • Fifty-four percent of the classification guides reported as being currently in use have been updated within the past five years as required.
    • An improvement over the 33 percent compliance rate reported in FY 2008.

Declassification

  • Under automatic and systematic declassification review, agencies reviewed 51,983,587 pages and declassified 28,812,249 pages of historically valuable records.
    • The pages declassified represents a decrease of 8 percent from FY 2008, but is still significantly more than the FY 1980 through FY 1994 average of 12.6 million pages declassified annually prior to the establishment of automatic declassification.
  • Agencies received 7,843 initial mandatory declassification review (MDR) requests.
  • Agencies reviewed 293,064 pages under MDR, and declassified 203,142 pages in their entirety, declassified 68,722 pages in part, and retained classification of 21,200 pages in their entirety.
  • Agencies have been unable to keep pace with the continuing increase in initial MDR requests, carrying over 6,582 initial MDR requests into FY 2010.
    • This is compared to the average of 3,842 carried over annually during FY 1996 through FY 2008.
  • Agencies received 186 MDR appeals and processed 177 appeals.
  • Agencies declassified 1,350 pages in their entirety on appeal, declassified 3,329 pages in part, and retained classification of 1,654 pages in their entirety.

Hard copies of the Report will be available within the next two months. Write: ISOO, Room 100, National Archives and Records Administration, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20408-0001; telephone, 202-357-5250; fax, 202-357-5907; or e-mail, isoo@nara.gov.

Established in 1978, ISOO is responsible to the President for overseeing the Government-wide security classification program, and receives policy and program guidance from the National Security Council. ISOO has been a component of the National Archives and Records Administration since 1995. ISOO Reports to the President from prior years are available on its web site.

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For press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.

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