Security Classified and Controlled Information: History, Status, and Emerging Management Issues [Updated March 8, 2007]   [open pdf - 204KB]

"The security classification regime in use within the federal executive branch traces its origins to armed forces information protection practices of the World War I era. The classification system - designating information, according to prescribed criteria and procedures, protected in accordance with one of three levels of sensitivity, based on the amount of harm to the national security that would result from its disclosure - attained a presidential character in 1940 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued the initial executive order prescribing these information security arrangements. […] In the current environment, still affected by the long shadow of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, several issues have arisen regarding security classified and controlled information. Volume is a concern: 8 million new classification actions in 2001 jumped to 14 million new actions in 2005, while the quantity of declassified pages dropped from 100 million in 2001 to 29 million in 2005. Expense is vexing: $4.5 billion spent on classification in 2001 increased to $7.1 billion in 2004, while declassification costs fell from $232 million in 2001 to $48.3 million in 2004, according to annual reports by the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). […] The force of, and authority for, information control markings, other than security classification labels, have come under congressional scrutiny, prompting concerns about their number, variety, lack of underlying managerial regimes, and effects. Among those effects, contend the Government Accountability Office and the manager of the Information Sharing Environment for the intelligence community, is the obstruction of information sharing across the federal government and with state and local governments."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33494
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