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STATEMENT OF
J. WILLIAM LEONARD
DIRECTOR, SECURITY PROGRAMS
OFFICE OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
FOR COMMAND, CONTROL, COMMUNICATIONS, AND INTELLIGENCE

BEFORE

THE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

U.S. SENATE

MARCH 25, 1998

MR. CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE, I APPRECIATE THE OPPORTUNITY TO APPEAR BEFORE YOU TODAY.

THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR COMMAND, CONTROL, COMMUNICATIONS, AND INTELLIGENCE (ASD (C3I)) IS THE "SENIOR AGENCY OFFICIAL" FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE UNDER EXECUTIVE ORDER 12958, "CLASSIFIED NATIONAL SECURITY INFORMATION." IN THIS CAPACITY, ASD(C3I)) HAS THE LEAD IN IMPLEMENTING THE PROVISIONS OF THE CURRENT ORDER. AS A STAFF ELEMENT OF THE ASD(C3I), MY OFFICE HAS BEEN ASSIGNED RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE FORMULATION, DEVELOPMENT, AND OVERSIGHT OF THE DOD IMPLEMENTATION TO INCLUDE INFORMATION SECURITY OVERSIGHT OFFICE IMPLEMENTING DOCUMENTS.

THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE SUPPORTS THE EFFORTS UNDERTAKEN BY THE COMMISSION ON PROTECTING AND REDUCING GOVERNMENT SECRECY, TO IDENTIFY ACTIONS THAT CAN AND SHOULD BE TAKEN TO IMPROVE THE SECURITY OF INFORMATION THAT IS VITAL TO THE INTERESTS OF OUR NATIONAL DEFENSE, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME REDUCING THE VOLUME AND DURATION OF CLASSIFIED INFORMATION. MANY OF THE COMMISSION'S RECOMMENDATIONS HAVE BEEN INCORPORATED INTO OUR EFFORTS IN SUPPORT OF PRESIDENT CLINTON'S COMMITMENT, AS REFLECTED IN E.O. 12958, TO CLASSIFY ONLY THAT INFORMATION THAT TRULY REQUIRES PROTECTION AND TO DECLASSIFY INFORMATION AT THE EARLIEST POSSIBLE OPPORTUNITY.

OVERALL, THE DEPARTMENT HAS MOVED RAPIDLY TO ACCOMMODATE MANY OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS MADE BY THE COMMISSION, AND HAS ISSUED APPROPRIATE IMPLEMENTATION OF E.O. 12958. WE ARE CONFIDENT THAT THESE ACTIONS WILL RESULT IN SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENTS. UNDER THE E.O., WE CAN ALREADY SEE SOME DRAMATIC CHANGES. FOR EXAMPLE, THE NUMBER OF ORIGINAL CLASSIFICATION AUTHORITIES HAS BEEN REDUCED FROM 1,438 IN FY 1995, TO 1,300 IN FY 1997, A DECREASE OF ABOUT 10%. SIMILARLY, THE NUMBER OF ORIGINAL CLASSIFICATION DECISIONS HAS DECLINED WHICH EQUATES TO SIGNIFICANTLY LESS DOCUMENTS CLASSIFIED OVERALL. THIS, IN TURN, REDUCES THE OVERALL COSTS FOR PROTECTING CLASSIFIED INFORMATION AND AVOIDS EVENTUAL COSTS TO DECLASSIFY THE MATERIAL.

IN ADDITION, WE HAVE A NUMBER OF INITIATIVES UNDERWAY TO ENHANCE CLASSIFIER PROFICIENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY. FOCUSED EFFORTS TO IMPROVE CLASSIFICATION GUIDES, A DERIVATIVE DECISIONS AND CLASSIFIER TRAINING, AND INCLUSION OF PERFORMANCE IN THESE AREAS AS A CRITICAL ELEMENT IN PERFORMANCE EVALUATIONS ARE JUST A FEW EXAMPLES.

ONE OF THE NOTABLE PROVISIONS OF THE PRESIDENT'S EXECUTIVE ORDER WAS TO STATE THAT IF THERE IS SIGNIFICANT DOUBT ABOUT THE NEED TO CLASSIFY INFORMATION, IT SHALL NOT BE CLASSIFIED. IN CONSONANCE WITH THIS PROVISION, WE HAVE MADE SIGNIFICANT IN-ROADS TO ENSURE THAT CLASSIFIERS RECOGNIZE THAT JUST BECAUSE SOMETHING CAN BE CLASSIFIED, THAT DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN IT SHOULD BE CLASSIFIED. FOR EXAMPLE, EVENTS IN THE RECENT PAST HAVE HIGHLIGHTED THAT DOD INFORMATION SYSTEMS, AS ARE OTHER SYSTEMS IN THE GOVERNMENT AND PRIVATE SECTOR ARE VULNERABLE TO ATTACKS BY BOTH FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS AND HACKERS. THIS HAS HIGHLIGHTED CONCERN ABOUT PROTECTING CERTAIN SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED DATA RESIDENT IN COMPUTER SYSTEMS. WHILE SOME OF THIS INFORMATION MIGHT WARRANT, ON A CASE-BY-CASE BASIS, CLASSIFICATION, WE HAVE REJECTED RESORTING TO THE CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM AS THE ONLY SOLUTION TO THIS CHALLENGE.

IMPROVING INFORMATION SYSTEMS SECURITY IS PREFERABLE AND LESS COSTLY THAN THE VERY EXPENSIVE PROCESS OF CLASSIFYING HERETOFORE UNCLASSIFIED INFORMATION. IN ADDITION, SUCH A PRACTICE WOULD SIPHON OFF SCARCE RESOURCES WHICH COULD OTHERWISE BE DEVOTED TO ADDRESSING A BROADER PROBLEM -- THE VULNERABILITY OF INFORMATION SYSTEMS IN GENERAL.

UNCLASSIFIED INFORMATION, HOWEVER, IS OFTEN VERY SENSITIVE AND IN MANY CASES "MISSION CRITICAL" FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. FOR EXAMPLE, WE CANNOT EXPECT THE PRIVATE SECTOR TO SHARE INFORMATION REGARDING CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE VULNERABILITIES, UNLESS WE CAN DEMONSTRATE AN ABILITY TO ADEQUATELY PROTECT SUCH INFORMATION. LIKEWISE, SENSITIVE INFORMATION WITHIN DOD, SUCH AS MEDICAL INFORMATION OR CRITICAL LOGISTICS DATA, MUST BE PROPERLY SAFEGUARDED. FINALLY, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ENABLES US TO AMALGAMATE LARGE AMOUNTS OF DATA WHICH, AT TIMES, MAY REQUIRE CLASSIFICATION DUE TO THE EXTRAORDINARY INSIGHTS SUCH LARGE REPOSITORIES OF DATA MAY REVEAL. IN SHORT, SAFEGUARDING CRITICAL BUT UNCLASSIFIED DATA AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS CONSTITUTES A MORE IMMEDIATE AND DIFFICULT CHALLENGE FOR THE DEPARTMENT THAN THE ISSUE OF DECLASSIFYING ARCHIVED DATA.

WITH RESPECT TO DECLASSIFICATION, ONE OF THE VERY FIRST STEPS TAKEN BY THE DEPARTMENT WAS TO ESTABLISH A HISTORICAL RECORDS DECLASSIFICATION ADVISORY PANEL (HRDAP). THIS PANEL IS COMPOSED OF HISTORICAL RESEARCHERS FROM DOD AS WELL AS THE PRIVATE SECTOR AND IS USED TO ASSIST IN PRIORITIZING RECORDS TO BE REVIEWED FOR DECLASSIFICATION. THE PANEL MEETS ON A RECURRING BASIS, MEETINGS ARE ANNOUNCED IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER AND MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC ARE FREE TO ATTEND. IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC FUNDING, WE ALSO ESTABLISHED A DEFENSE DECLASSIFICATION MANAGEMENT PANEL TO ASSIST IN IDENTIFYING RESOURCES TO BE APPLIED TO THE DECLASSIFICATION EFFORT.

IN TERMS OF TRENDS, IN 1995, DOD COLLECTIVELY DECLASSIFIED OVER 8.6 MILLION PAGES OF INFORMATION, IN FY 1996 OVER 68 MILLION PAGES WERE DECLASSIFIED AND IN FY 1997, OVER 57 MILLION PAGES. WHILE MUCH OF THE FIRST YEAR FOLLOWING ISSUANCE OF THE EXECUTIVE ORDER WAS SPENT CONDUCTING SURVEYS TO IDENTIFY THE TOTAL HOLDINGS SUBJECT TO AUTOMATIC DECLASSIFICATION, THE SECOND YEAR HAS BEEN SPENT IN ISSUING CONTRACTS FOR SUPPORT AND REVIEWING FOR DECLASSIFICATION THE MOST SENSITIVE MATERIAL IN OUR HOLDINGS. WE ARE ACTIVELY PURSUING A RECOMMENDATION MADE BY OUR PANEL OF HISTORIANS CONCERNING THE CENTRALIZATION OF DECLASSIFICATION REFERRALS TO IMPROVE EFFICIENCY.

THE MOST POSITIVE TREND HAS BEEN WITH REGARD TO RESOURCES APPLIED TO DECLASSIFICATION. FOR INSTANCE: THE OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE IS HIRING CONTRACTORS TO ASSIST IN DECLASSIFICATION FOR FY 98 AND 99. ARMY HAS THE MAKING OF A FIRST CLASS OPERATION WITH RESOURCING IN PLACE FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS (BOTH PERSONNEL AND CONTRACTS). NAVY HAS QUIETLY BEEN DOING THE TOUGH WORK OF DECLASSIFYING NAVY MATERIAL THROUGHOUT THE FLEET AND AUTHORING AN EXTENSIVE DECLASSIFICATION GUIDE PENDING REVIEW BY THE INTERAGENCY SECURITY CLASSIFICATION APPEALS PANEL. THE AIR FORCE HAS LED THE WAY IN INNOVATION RECEIVING THE VICE PRESIDENT'S HAMMER AWARD. THEIR DECLASSIFICATION DATA BASE SERVES AS THE MODEL FOR A GOVERNMENT-WIDE DATABASE UNDER THE SPONSORSHIP OF THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION. THE DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY CONSOLIDATED ALL DECLASSIFICATION ACTIVITIES UNDER ONE OFFICE THIS PAST YEAR. THE NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY HAS TWO MAJOR CONTRACTS FOR DECLASSIFICATION SUPPORT AND IS IN THE TEST PHASE FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF STATE-OF-THE-ART ON-LINE REDACTION TOOLS.

THE DEPARTMENT FACES SEVERAL CHALLENGES AND HAS A NUMBER OF "WORKS IN PROGRESS" WITH REGARD TO DECLASSIFICATION. THE DOD COMPONENTS WENT THROUGH AN ARDUOUS PROCESS OF IDENTIFYING FILE SERIES OF RECORDS FOR FORMAL EXEMPTION TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE AUTOMATIC DECLASSIFICATION PROGRAM. THIS CHALLENGED STAFFS TO IDENTIFY ALL RECORDS REPOSITORIES, ARCHIVES, AND OTHER SOURCES MAINTAINING THESE HISTORICAL FILES. WHEN DEALING WITH OVER 1 BILLION PAGES OF INFORMATION AND MINIMAL STAFFING, THE ACTION OF DOCUMENTING THE FILE SERIES WAS A SIGNIFICANT STEP TOWARD ORGANIZING THE DECLASSIFICATION WORK EFFORT FOR SEVERAL AGENCIES. THIS REMAINS AN OPEN ACTION. SIMILARLY, THE COMBATANT COMMANDS ARE SHOWING ENCOURAGING PROGRESS EVEN IN THE PRESS OF EVERYDAY BUSINESS.

FOLLOWING ISSUANCE OF THE E.O., THERE WAS SOME CONCERN REGARDING THE POSSIBILITY OF INAPPROPRIATE DISCLOSURES DUE TO OUR HASTE TO COMPLY WITH E.O. MANDATED DECLASSIFICATION MILESTONES. DOD HAS EVALUATED AND REJECTED BULK DECLASSIFICATION BECAUSE OF THE RISK. LIKEWISE, REDACTION, I.E., SANITIZING DOCUMENTS TO REMOVE CLASSIFIED INFORMATION, IS NOT PREFERRED SINCE IT IS VERY COSTLY AND REQUIRES LINE BY LINE REVIEW. ACCORDINGLY, DOD PREFERS TO REVIEW FILES AND DECLASSIFY ON A PASS-FAIL BASIS. THIS IS A TRADE-OFF WHICH IS DRIVEN BY OUR DESIRE TO REDUCE THE POTENTIAL FOR INAPPROPRIATE DISCLOSURES OF CLASSIFIED INFORMATION. THERE IS PARTICULAR CONCERN WITH INFORMATION RELATING TO THE EXEMPTION CATEGORIES SUCH AS CONFIDENTIAL HUMAN INTELLIGENCE SOURCES THE LOSS OF WHICH WOULD THREATEN EXISTING SOURCES AND OUR ABILITY TO RECRUIT FUTURE SOURCES. IN ADDITION, TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION AND FUTURE U.S. WEAPONS SYSTEMS DEMAND PROTECTION. PREMATURE DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION CAN ASSIST OTHER NATIONS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF SIMILAR WEAPONS, FIELDING OF COUNTERMEASURES, OR THE PROLIFERATION OF WEAPONS IN UNSTABLE REGIONS. THESE ACTIVITIES SIGNIFICANTLY DECREASE THE WEAPON SYSTEMS' OPERATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS. INTERNATIONAL AND DIPLOMATIC ACTIVITIES AND AGREEMENTS AS WELL AS U.S. MILITARY WAR AND CONTINGENCY PLANS ARE TWO ADDITIONAL CATEGORIES OF EXEMPTIONS CRITICAL TO THE DEPARTMENT.

REGARDING S. 712, THE ADMINISTRATION HAS SERIOUS OBJECTIONS TO CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF THE LEGISLATION, PARTICULARLY AS THEY COULD IMPINGE UPON THE PRESIDENT'S AUTHORITY AND FLEXIBILITY TO MANAGE THE CLASSIFICATION AND DECLASSIFICATION PROGRAMS. LEGISLATING IN THIS AREA CAN BE PERILOUS, GIVEN THE GREAT DEFERENCE TRADITIONALLY GIVEN THE PRESIDENT IN THE AREAS OF NATIONAL DEFENSE AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS. HOWEVER, THE ADMINISTRATION IS PREPARED TO WORK WITH THE CONGRESS TO ADDRESS THESE CONCERNS AND TO ESTABLISH AN EFFECTIVE NATIONAL DECLASSIFICATION CENTER. THE ADMINISTRATION WILL IDENTIFY THE REVISIONS THAT WOULD BE REQUIRED TO ENABLE THE ADMINISTRATION TO SUPPORT S. 712.

IN CONCLUSION, WHILE THERE IS WORK YET TO BE DONE, THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE LOOKS UPON BOTH THE SECRECY COMMISSION REPORT AND E.O. 12958 AS INSTRUMENTS OF CHANGE. WE ARE OPTIMISTIC THAT IMPLEMENTATION OF THESE DOCUMENTS WILL RESULT IN AN IMPROVED INFORMATION SECURITY PROGRAM THAT IS MORE EFFECTIVE AND COST EFFICIENT AND BETTER ABLE TO PROVIDE THE PROTECTION REQUIRED FOR OUR MOST SENSITIVE NATIONAL SECURITY ASSETS, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME MAINTAINING AN UNPRECEDENTED DEGREE OF OPENNESS WITH THE AMERICAN PUBLIC.

AGAIN, THANK YOU FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO PRESENT THE VIEWPOINT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE.




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