The public can now initiate a Defense Department declassification review according to new procedures published by the Department of Defense, under a program called the Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR).
The procedures require that public requesters specify the documents they want to declassify. Requesters are required to provide document information such as the as the originator, date, title, subject, National Archives and Records Administration accession number, "or other applicable unique document identifying number," the procedures state. “Broad or topical” requests, such as a request for “any and all” documents pertaining to a particular subject will not qualify.
The procedures also state requestors must chose the authority they want to act under. Simultaneous requests under the Freedom of Information Act and declassification review procedures aren’t permissible. Requests should also be sent to the specific DoD component that has custody of the records, since the DoD does not have a central repository for records.
All elements within DoD – including the Joint Chiefs, Combatant Commands and Defense Agencies, are required to comply with the declassification review. The components will perform line-by-line reviews of documents responsive to an MDR request to determine if the information contained within the documents continues to adhere to the standards for classification.