Air Force Base Adopts “100% Shred Policy”

04.02.09 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

Last month, Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana announced the adoption of what it calls a “100 percent shred policy for all paperwork and materials generated on base” as a way of eliminating unauthorized disclosures.

“Shredding is vital to the overall security of our base and our mission,” said Eileen Gallagher, 341st Communications Squadron Base Records Manager.  See “Getting into the habit: 100 percent shred policy begins March 17,” Malmstrom AFB, March 10, 2009.

As authority for the new shredding policy, the Air Force cited a March 2008 directive on Operations Security (pdf), which does indeed specify a “100% Shred Policy” (at section

“Whenever feasible, all unclassified paper products across AFSPC [Air Force Space Command], except for newspapers and magazines, will be shredded prior to disposal or removal from the workplace for recycling, preventing our adversaries from exploiting the enormous amounts of crucial information we generate while accomplishing our various mission areas.”

On close inspection, however, the words “prior to disposal” seem to be crucial.  The 100% shred policy apparently applies only to records that have been specifically approved for disposal, and not literally to “all paperwork and materials generated on base.”  Air Force Manual 33-363 on “Management of Records” (pdf) directs all Air Force employees to adhere to legal requirements on preservation of official records.

See all publications
Nuclear Weapons
New Voices on Nuclear Weapons Fellowship: Creative Perspectives on Rethinking Nuclear Deterrence 

To empower new voices to start their career in nuclear weapons studies, the Federation of American Scientists launched the New Voices on Nuclear Weapons Fellowship. Here’s what our inaugural cohort accomplished.

11.28.23 | 3 min read
read more
Science Policy
Expected Utility Forecasting for Science Funding

Common frameworks for evaluating proposals leave this utility function implicit, often evaluating aspects of risk, uncertainty, and potential value independently and qualitatively.

11.20.23 | 11 min read
read more
Nuclear Weapons
Nuclear Notebook: Nuclear Weapons Sharing, 2023

The FAS Nuclear Notebook is one of the most widely sourced reference materials worldwide for reliable information about the status of nuclear weapons and has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987. The Nuclear Notebook is researched and written by the staff of the Federation of American Scientists’ Nuclear Information Project: Director Hans […]

11.17.23 | 1 min read
read more
Social Innovation
Community School Approach Reaches High of 60%, Reports Latest Pulse Panel

According to the National Center for Education Statistics’ August 2023 pulse panel, 60% of public schools were utilizing a “community school” or “wraparound services model” at the start of this school year—up from 45% last year.

11.17.23 | 4 min read
read more