The Manhattan Project Resources

U.S. Department of Energy

Office of Environment, Health, Safety and Security

Office of History and Heritage Resources

Development of Automation To Assist Declassification

U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the Press Secretary, Washington, DC 20585


Development of Automation To Assist Declassification

Table of Contents

Specifically
Background
Benefits
Who Are the Key Stakeholders?
Contact
Questions and Answers

The Department of Energy, in response to the Secretary's Openness Initiative, is seeking ways to reduce the volume of classified information, while at the same time, protecting that information which would be of advantage to would-be proliferants, terrorists, and potential adversaries. An essential element of this process is to use technology to speed up the document review process without degrading the quality of the review. The Department is seeking possible Cooperative Research and Development Agreement partners to develop and commercialize this technology.

Specifically

Background

Benefits

Who Are the Key Stakeholders?

Contact

U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Public Affairs
Contact: Sam Grizzle
(202) 586-5806


U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the Press Secretary, Washington, DC 20585


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Q. When will this system be operational?

A. At the present we are evaluating expertise and existing work in our national laboratories, and the state of the art in corporate and academic circles, and plans to issue a Critical Program Review report in December 1994. This report will indicate if the program's objectives are feasible, and how we should proceed. As work on the program goes forward, critical reviews will be held about every year to assess program progress and direction.

Q. What is the project's schedule for development?

A. A critical design review is targeted for completion in December 1994 to assess progress. A research and development schedule will be part of that document.

Q. What is meant by, "understand natural language text?"

A. The ability of the system to understand text in the Department of Energy documents to the degree necessary to identify when they convey classified information.

Q. How will this system work?

A. We are only at the beginning of this project and cannot say whether it will actually work or not. Our vision is that the hard copy files containing classified information would be converted to computer readable files. Those files would processed by the system, with appropriate software (not yet developed) separating files which are most likely to contain unclassified information. If a human reviewer concurs, those unclassified documents could then be approved for release. Our vision continues in that the system would then identify the classified information in the documents with a high degree of accuracy and in conjunction with a human classification expert, permit the rapid declassification of the content of the document itself, or accurate and fast delineation of the classified portions. Again, this is not a description of what exists today. It is hoped for benefits of a program based in part upon a Cooperative Research Development Agreement that hopes to push the state of the art to ultimately benefit the stakeholders in terms of more rapid, more accurate and less costly reviews of documents prior to their release.

Q. This seems like a very difficult system to build. Do you really think this is possible?

A. It is a very difficult objective. However, the manual way we are declassifying documents is time consuming and expensive. The Department wants to do everything possible to speed up this process. This program is high risk, but its potential benefits are tremendous. In addition, it is anticipated that a series of spinoffs from this effort will significantly increase the speed with which documents are reviewed prior to development of the full system.


Click to return to the table of contents for this fact sheet.
Click here to return to the list of fact sheets.
Click here to go to the previous fact sheet.
Click here to go to the next fact sheet.