Continuing Problems in DOD's Classification of National Security Information

LCD-80-16: Published: Oct 26, 1979. Publicly Released: Oct 26, 1979.

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GAO reviewed documents at 23 Department of Defense (DOD) installations in Hawaii, Europe, and the Canal Zone to evaluate the DOD security information classification program. Continuing problems with this program include: improper use of classification authority, improper classification of information, and deficiencies in marking classified information.

Improved training and inspections are needed to reduce deficiencies in the DOD classification program. Training of most classifiers generally consisted of orientation briefings for new staff members, periodic security briefings, and security- awareness type publications. Training focused on physical safeguards and proper marking of information, rather than proper classification. Inspections seldom included an evaluation of whether information had been properly classified. The focus in this area was also on physical safeguards and proper marking of information. Neither the Executive Order governing classification nor the implementing instructions contain requirements or guidance concerning the frequency or the types of inspections that are to be made.

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