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.

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Chandler Harris is a freelance business and technology writer located in Silicon Valley. He has written for numerous publications including Entrepreneur, InformationWeek, San Jose Magazine, Government Technology, Public CIO, AllBusiness.com, U.S. Banker, Digital Communities Magazine, Converge Magazine, Surfer's Journal, Adventure Sports Magazine, ClearanceJobs.com, and the San Jose Business Journal. Chandler is also engaged in helping companies further their content marketing needs through content strategy, optimization and creation, as well as blogging and social media platforms. When he's not writing, Chandler enjoys his beach haunt of Santa Cruz where he rides roller coasters with his son, surfs and bikes across mountain ranges.
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