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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY FUNDAMENTAL CLASSIFICATION POLICY REVIEW

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY FUNDAMENTAL CLASSIFICATION POLICY REVIEW

Secretary Hazel O'Leary has emphasized the importance of improved public accountability and trust to the accomplishment of the Department of Energy's (DOE) missions. The Secretary's Openness Initiative directly addresses this overriding objective. The Fundamental Classification Policy Review is a major component of the Secretary's Openness Initiative.

Scope

The Fundamental Classification Policy Review is a basic, systematic and comprehensive review of the Department of Energy's classification policy related to information concerning defense applications of nuclear technology. The Review is tasked to determine which of this information requires continued protection, with the objective of promptly declassifying and releasing all information no longer warranting such protection. The review will impact overall DOE classification policy and thousands of specific topics in about 50 Headquarters guides and about 800 local classification guides.

Background

The Department of Energy is custodian of the Nation's technology for defense uses of nuclear energy, including nuclear weapons and nuclear materials production. National security requires this technology to be properly protected from potential adversaries, proliferants, and terrorists. The Fundamental Classification Policy Review is the first comprehensive study of Department of Energy classification policy since the Tolman Report of 1946.

The Fundamental Classification Policy Review was recommended by the Classification Policy Study in July 1992. Secretary O'Leary, on December 7 1993, committed the Department of Energy to review all classification policies and related technical guidance, and then to revise classification guidance to reflect changes in policy. The requirement for a fundamental review of classification policy is also contained in the National Performance Review ? Reinventing Government. Congress endorsed such a review in its conference report accompanying the Fiscal 1994 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill.

Fundamental Classification Policy Review Group

Dr. Albert Narath, President of the Lockheed-Martin Energy and Environmental Sector, serves as Chair of the review group. About 50 recognized experts in the relevant areas of technology and policy comprise the review group, which is divided into seven working groups in various subject areas (Weapons Science, Weapons Design, Materials Production, Weapons Productions and Military Use, Weaponization, Military Reactors, and Safeguards and Security). Members come from the Department of Energy complex, the Department of Energy, and other Government agencies.

Conduct of the Fundamental Classification Policy Review

The Fundamental Classification Policy Review is currently in the final of three stages:

  • Organization: Formation and organization of working groups; selection of working group members; policy research and deliberations.

  • Consistency Resolution: Deliberation and formulation of draft working group policy statements and recommendations.

  • Coordination: Preparation off the draft report of the Fundamental Classification Policy Review Group; informal and formal coordination of the final draft report. The final draft of the report is being coordinated with the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Additionally, the final report is being reviewed at Department of Energy Headquarters and field offices and at the national laboratories associated with nuclear weapons.

The Office of Classification has provided technical and classification policy support to the Fundamental Classification Policy Review throughout all three phases.

Highlights of the Fundamental Classification Policy Review

Secretary O'Leary officiated at the public Kickoff Meeting which took place in Washington, D.C. on March 16, 1995. Dr. Edward Teller, Dr. Wolfgang Panofski, and representatives from Government and non-government offices addressed the meeting.

The Fundamental Classification Policy Review Group conducted the first plenary meeting on May 3, 1995. Working groups conducted formal and informal meetings throughout the Summer and early Fall 1995.

On July 19, 1995, the Director and staff of the Office of Classification briefed members of the Moynihan Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy on the Fundamental Classification Policy Review and other DOE Openness initiatives. The Office of Classification has continued to keep the Commission informed of progress and issues.

The National Academy of Sciences' Committee on Declassification of Information released its review of the Department of Energy classification policy and practice on July 26, 1995. This study had been commissioned earlier as part of DOE's Openness Initiative, and provided valuable inputs to the Fundamental Classification Policy Review. The Office of Classification has worked closely with the National Academy of Sciences to keep them advised of current policy issues.

At the second public Fundamental Classification Policy Review stakeholder meeting, which took place on July 28, 1995 at the DOE Oakland Operations Office, Dr. Narath made the first public presentation of the draft principles of the Fundamental Classification Policy Review. Sixteen speakers and distinguished guests addressed classification issues important to the public and non-governmental organizations.

The Fundamental Classification Policy Review Group met in a second plenary session on October 18, 1996 to complete the consistency resolution phase of the review. Dr. Narath presented the final draft of the draft principles of the Fundamental Classification Policy Review. Working Group Chairs presented the findings of their working groups.

Secretary O'Leary conducted the third Openness press conference on February 6, 1996. At thispress conference, Dr. Narath presented a 50-page, unclassified Draft Report for Public Comment. The Office of Classification made widespread distribution of the draft report, including placing it on the DOE OpenNet. Releasing the report in draft form provided the Review Group an opportunity to receive and give full consideration of stakeholder comments before the final report was submitted to the Secretary.

Dr. Al Narath presented the Final Draft of the Report of the Fundamental Classification Policy Review Group to Secretary O'Leary on March 7, 1996. The final draft consists of the main body of the report and 11 appendices, and is over 400 pages long. The main body of the report and five of the appendices are unclassified.

Formal coordination of the Final Draft of the Fundamental Classification Policy Review began on July 18, 1996.

The Secretary has requested that the National Security Council chair an interagency review meeting in mid-September to resolve any issues arising from the formal coordination process. Once formal coordination is completed, and implementation decisions are made, the Secretary will release the unclassified portions of the report and announce new Department of Energy classification policies and resulting declassifications.

OUTREACH TO STAKEHOLDERS

Responsible openness requires a careful balance between national security requirements and the public's right to know. Secretary O'Leary considers the input of outside experts and non-government organizations very important to this process. The Secretary's determination to involve the public has been fulfilled throughout the Fundamental Classification Policy Review process by means of Federal Register Notices, newsletters, public surveys and public meetings.

At the public Kickoff Meeting on March 16, 1995, stakeholders requested an opportunity to provide comments and recommendations throughout the deliberative process. Additionally, the Office of Classification surveyed approximately 400 stakeholders from the private sector and non-government organizations and asked them for comments or questions concerning DOE classification policy.

Between March 1995 and October 1995, DOE has received correspondence from 39 respondents raising 124 separate issues, the majority of which concerned accessibility issues, such as access to information, or access to Fundamental Classification Policy Review proceedings. These responses were made available to the working groups. Stakeholder inputs were briefed at the second public meeting on July 28, 1995 and at Review Group plenary sessions in May and October 1995.

Thirty-two responses from the public, government and non-government organizations were received following release of the Draft Report for Public Comment in February 1996. These comments were made available to the Fundamental Classification Policy Review Group for consideration while preparing the final draft report for presentation to Secretary O'Leary.

The Department of Energy (DOE) is grateful to stakeholders from the private sector and from within government for their participation and contributions to date. Once approved by the Secretary, unclassified portions of the Report of the Fundamental Classification Policy Review Group will be released to the public and will be placed on the DOE OpenNet.


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