GAO Examines DoD, DoE Classification Practices

07.02.06 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

One reason why classification is an unreliable guide as to what should or should not be published by the press is that classification policy is implemented erratically by the government.

In a new report for Congress, the Government Accountability Office found numerous problems in classification activity at the Department of Defense.

“Our review of a … sample of 111 classified DOD documents from five OSD offices shows that, within these offices, DOD personnel are not uniformly following established procedures for classifying information, to include correctly marking classified information,” the GAO report said.

“In our review of the OSD documents, we questioned DOD officials’ classification decisions for 29 documents–that is, 26 percent of the sample.”

“The majority of our questions centered around two problems: the inconsistent treatment of similar information within the same document, and whether all of the information marked as classified met established criteria for classification.”

See “Managing Sensitive Information: DOD Can More Effectively Reduce the Risk of Classification Errors” (pdf), June 30, 2006.

A companion report reviewed classification activity at the Department of Energy.

See “Managing Sensitive Information: Actions Needed to Ensure Recent Changes in DOE Oversight Do Not Weaken an Effective Classification System” (pdf), June 30, 2006.

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