Yesterday, the President issued the Third Open Government National Action Plan (NAP 3.0) as part of the Open Government Partnership, a cornerstone of his administration. Included in the NAP 3.0 are new and extended commitments under the specific initiative, “Streamline the Declassification Process.” Under this initiative, the President pledges to identify processes and tools to help automate and streamline declassification. He also reiterates his position that “while national security requires that certain information be protected as classified, democratic principles require government to be transparent, wherever possible, about its activities.”
The four commitments specifically outlined in the NAP 3.0 are goals that will combat the “time-consuming and costly process often involves manual review of records.” The administration will:
- develop a plan to implement technological tools to help automate declassification review,
- pilot the use of a topic-based inter-agency declassification guide,
- establish a special systematic declassification review program and
- declassify historical intelligence records in the public interest.
Of particular interest to the PIDB is the first commitment, which concerns the implementation of technology the Central Intelligence Agency and National Archives developed in response to the NAP 2.0. These pilot projects yielded real results through the development of a technological capability to assist decision-making in declassification. The members are proud these efforts steamed from a recommendation made in our 2012 report on Transforming the Security Classification System and continue to support these efforts. The June 25, 2015 public meeting of the PIDB was an opportunity to showcase these pilot efforts and call for the implementation of these proven concepts.
When the President tasked the PIDB with studying the security classification system and recommending changes for transformation, he sought to modernize and reform the system to one that will function in today’s digital information sharing environment and in the future. The members share the President’s vision of a security classification system that limits secrecy and promotes transparency throughout government.
Again, the PIDB congratulates the President and stands ready to support the Classification Reform Committee in its work to meet the commitments of the NAP 3.0.
You can view and print a copy of the Third Open Government National Action Plan here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/final_us_open_government_national_action_plan_3_0.pdf