Your Right to DoD Classified Records
In addition to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the public may also request access to classified records under the Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR) provisions of Executive Order 13526 (Section 3.5) as amended.
Note: Some Federal records may be restricted by statute or Executive Order but all DoD-specified restrictions must comply with the exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Even if the records are not national-security classified, some records contain information exempt from release under the FOIA. Presidential records are governed by separate access laws, for more information please visit the website for the Office of Presidential Libraries.
While these laws require DoD to review their records, they do not require DoD to disclose all sensitive information. Information that falls within the categories allowed by the law can be exempted from public release.
Immediate Implementation Provisions of Executive Order 13526
As required by Executive Order 13526, “Classified National Security Information”, DoD is required to send a copy of their implementation plan to the director of the Information Security Oversight Office (“ISOO”), the executive oversight body for the classification and declassification processes, within 180 days of implementation of the EO.
Click here to view the DoD Implementation Provisions of Executive Order 13526
Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR)
The DoD Declassification Program operates under a decentralized approach. Each DoD Component responds to MDR requests for its own records.
Like a FOIA request, MDR requests (less than 25 years old) should be addressed to the applicable DoD Component that has custody of the requested record.
For maximum efficiency in understanding the MDR Process, we recommend that you spend a few moments reviewing the DoD Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR) Program and the applicable references associated with the program.
Status of DoD Declassification Efforts
EO 13526 requires the National Declassification Center (NDC) to eliminate the Declassification backlog by December 31, 2013 and make public a report on agency declassification status of the backlog every 6 months.
To view DoD’s participation in the Bi-Annual Report on Operations, click on: http://www.archives.gov/isoo/reports/
To view DoD’s participation in the NDC Prioritization Plan, click on: http://www.archives.gov/declassification/ndc/
To view DoD newly declassified records, click on: www.archives.gov/declassification.
DoDI 5200.1, “DoD Information Security Program And Protection Of Sensitive Compartmented Information,” June 13, 2011
DoD Directive 5105.53, “Director of Administration and Management (DA&M),” February 26, 2008”
Executive Order 13526, “Classified National Security Information”
32 CFR Parts 2001 and 2003, “Classified National Security Information Final Rule”
Presidential Memorandum, Implementation of the Executive Order, “Classified National Security Information"
Administrative Order, “Original Classification Authority"