Nuclear Weapons

Further Declassification of Reagan-Era Directives

06.10.09 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

One of the minor offenses of the Obama White House is its inexplicable failure to publish presidential directives — now dubbed Presidential Policy Directives — even when they are unclassified.  But presidential directives from prior administrations continue to enter the public domain following repeated declassification reviews.

Several National Security Decision Directives (NSDDs) issued by President Reagan were released in full or with fewer redactions last April at the Reagan Library (all pdf):

NSDD 12 on “Strategic Forces Modernization Program” was released in its entirety.  A section on submarine launched missiles that was censored in a prior declassification review was restored, along with other redactions (thanks to

NSDD 35 on “The M-X Program” was also released in full, including two previously censored paragraphs.

NSDD 21 on “Responding to Floggers in Cuba” was released with one paragraph still redacted but several previous redactions now disclosed (Floggers are Soviet MiG-23 fighter aircraft).

Other NSDDs that have undergone declassification review in recent years leading to significant additional disclosures include the following:

NSDD 135, “Los Angeles Olympic Games Counterintelligence and Security Precautions,” March 27, 1984 (reviewed in 2004).

NSDD 139, “Measures to Improve U.S. Posture and Readiness to Respond to Developments in the Iran-Iraq War,” April 5, 1984, including previously withheld passages concerning Saudi Arabia and Egypt (2007).

NSDD 141, “Responding to Escalation in the Iran-Iraq War,” May 25, 1984 (2007).

NSDD 147, “U.S. Policy Towards India and Pakistan,” October 11, 1984 (2007).

These directives and other NSDDs may be found here.

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