In a move that can only strengthen and improve oversight of the national security classification system, the Department of Defense Inspector General has begun a far-reaching review of Pentagon classification policy.
Among other things, the Inspector General review will focus on “efforts by the Department to decrease over-classification.”
In response to the “Reducing Over-classification Act” enacted by Congress in 2010, the IG will “evaluate the policies, procedures, rules, regulations, or management practices that may be contributing to persistent misclassification of material.” The Act was originally sponsored by Rep. Jane Harman and Sen. Joe Lieberman.
For years, critics of secrecy policy including the Federation of American Scientists have called for a greater role for inspectors general in classification oversight, to augment the work of the Information Security Oversight Office. IGs typically offer several advantages: Since they are part of the executive branch, their involvement in classification policy does not raise thorny separation of powers issues. Moreover, as resident agency employees, IG investigators are already in place, they already hold all needed security clearances, and they should already be familiar with their agencies’ programs and policies.
Best of all, they are poised to identify defective practices when they discover them.
The FAS Project on Government Secrecy commenced two decades ago with a complaint we submitted to the DoD Inspector General regarding the classification of the Timber Wind nuclear rocket program as an “unacknowledged special access program.” In its December 16, 1992 response, the IG determined that “the decision to protect the program using special program measures was not adequately justified.” The IG further found that certain program information was safeguarded “for reasons that were not related to national security.” The Timber Wind program did not survive.
Detonating a nuclear weapon in space would not only damage U.S. assets but those of all countries, including Russia. It would set back the use of space for multiple purposes – peaceful and otherwise – by decades.
These policy proposals will simplify the affordable housing qualification process for all federal housing programs, primarily focusing on PBV and LIHTC, to move eligible households into vacant units more quickly.
A uniform software tool for inputting building permit data would make the U.S. Census Bureau’s Building Permit Survey (BPS) more reliable, and it would also facilitate more fine-grained geographical analysis of new housing development.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) should prioritize funding water projects for local governments that would expand the production of new housing in their service areas if given the water resources to do so.