File Under: Sensitive But Unclassified

03.03.06 | 2 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

Lists of radio frequencies assigned to the U.S. Air Force’s Civil Air Patrol (CAP) will henceforth be withheld from public disclosure, according to a January 2006 memorandum (pdf) from the CAP National Commander.

“It has come to our attention that the radio frequency assignments provided us by the USAF are considered sensitive information and require protection from unauthorized release,” wrote Maj. General Antonio J. Pineda.

“Such [information] must be removed from public access, such as on the Web, and may not be released to outside agencies without coordination,” he wrote.

“As we prepare for an increased role in Homeland Security, it is very likely we will encounter additional information requiring our protection.”

“A rigid stance on information security shows that we continue to be a professional partner in the defense of our nation,” he wrote.

“A rigid stance on information security,” of course, is the source and the driver of a whole set of other problems. But that is beyond the scope of this memo.

See “Protection of Radio Frequency Information,” US Air Force Civil Air Patrol, January 20, 2006.

Also in the sensitive but unclassified (SBU) category is the Department of Energy’s venerable “Unclassified Controlled Nuclear Information” (UCNI) marking.

Unlike most other SBU designations, UCNI has been defined with some specificity. Official guidelines (pdf) spell out exactly what is and what is not within its proper boundaries.

UCNI is also authorized by statute, not invented out of whole cloth, and it carries enormous financial penalties for those who disclose it without authorization. For these reasons, it will be a particular challenge to integrate UCNI policy into a uniform, government-wide policy on sensitive but unclassified information.

For official guidance on UCNI, see “Unclassified Controlled Nuclear Information, General Guideline GG-5,” Department of Energy, February 2004.