Inspector General evaluations of classification program due in September

Under the Reducing Over-classification Act of 2010, the executive branch agency Inspector Generals that classify national security information will be required to evaluate their classification programs to identify potential causes of misclassification by September.

The Reducing Over-classification Act of 2010 was formed to decrease the incidents of misclassification or over-classification of material. It is not uncommon for the Department of Defense to find materials misclassified when reviewing the books of executive branch agencies. The process evaluations will be one step of many to attempt to streamline the classification process.

"Classifying and controlling the dissemination of information is an inherently subjective process," the DoD Office of Inspector General said, according to Secrecy News. "Key terminology, such as 'over-classification' and 'damage to national security' has not been defined, causing those determinations to be made by personnel in the Departments and Agencies."

The Inspector General Office writes the DoD IG guidance, a document released annually that gives all Inspector Generals from each executive branch agency guidelines to follow the requirements of the December 2009 executive order 13526 on the national classification policy. This year, the Intelligence Community Directive 710 was the closest version of the guidelines yet to reflect the national rulebook, Secrecy News reports.

Experts at Secrecy News believe that the aforementioned reports are one step of many to correcting the underlying root of the problem: ensuring Inspector Generals know how to properly classify information. Although it is believed that a peer review panel among all Inspector Generals regarding how to properly classify information is recommended, there has not yet been any such meeting scheduled, according to Secrecy News.