May 16, 2022

Gov Docs: NARA’s Information Security Oversight Office Releases Report on Classification Guidance Reviews

From a NARA Announcement:

The National Archives Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) today released the first Executive branch-wide Fundamental Classification Guidance Review covering 25 Federal agencies with significant classification programs. Agency summaries are online.

The review serves as a guide and benchmark for Federal agencies to ensure proper classification of information vital to national security, while expediting declassification by avoiding over-classification and unnecessary withholding of records. Accurate and current classification guides also ensure standardized classification within and across Federal agencies. Of the 3,103 classification guides reviewed, 869 were either cancelled or consolidated; numerous projects, programs, or categories were eliminated, revised, consolidated, or condensed.

Overall, the review shows that Federal agencies are streamlining classification guidance and more clearly identifying categories of what can be released and what needs to remain classified.

Review highlights include:

  • The Department of Energy overhauled its classification guidance by cancelling unnecessary guides, deleting redundancy, reducing the number of subjects exempted from automatic declassification, and replacing erratic declassification events with fixed declassification dates.
  • The National Reconnaissance Office created an Integrated Classification Guide to standardize classification requirements agency-wide and create improved, efficient, and timely declassification guidelines and processes.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency developed its first agency classification guide.
  • The Department of the Navy implemented a Security Classification Guide Management System to provide horizontal comparison across all their many classification guides, identify classification differences, and establish a classification baseline.
  • The Department of Justice created five classification guides to cover classified information in the Criminal and National Security Divisions.

Direct to Agency Summaries

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.