On to Appendix A.
To downgrade* classified information is to reduce its classification level. Thus, Top Secret information can be downgraded to the Secret or Confidential classification levels. Secret information can be downgraded to the Confidential level. Confidential information cannot be downgraded—it can only be declassified (or upgraded, if circumstances require such an action).
DOWNGRADING CLASSIFIED INFORMATION
* The term "downgrade" probably originated in the British classification of information system. The British use a "grading guide" to "grade" information, rather than using a classification guide to classify information [E. Hill, "Defence Procurement and Classification in the U.K.," J. Natl. Class. Mgmt. Soc., 16, 20–27, (1980) p. 22]. The term "downgrading" was probably adopted by the United States during World War I, when the U.S. Army established a classification system largely based on the classification systems of the British and French armies [See A. S. Quist, Security Classification of Information, Volume 1., Introduction, History, and Adverse Impacts, K/CG-1077/V1, Martin Marietta Energy Systems, Inc., Oak Ridge, Tennessee, September 1989].NSI can be downgraded, within federal agencies, by the person originally classifying that information, that person's successor, supervisors of either, or other officials delegated such authority in writing by the agency head or other designated senior agency official.1 Within DOE and its contractors, authority to downgrade NSI is limited to the Original Classifier of such information (or the successor to that person), the Director of the Office of Classification, or the Director of Security Affairs.2
As mentioned in Chapter 8, some executive orders prior to EO 12356 required that certain types of NSI be downgraded at specified times after the date of issuance of that NSI. Such requirements for automatic downgrading were not included in EO 12356.
RD or FRD may be downgraded only by the DOE Director of Security Affairs or the Director of the Office of Classification.+, 3
+ Within DOE or its contractors, documents or materials containing NSI, RD, or FRD may be downgraded by the Director of the Office of Classification, Original Classifiers, and Derivative Declassifiers (not the same as Derivative Classifiers) [U.S. Department of Energy, DOE Order 5650.2B, "Identification of Classified Information," Chap. V, Part A, §4(g)(2)(b); Chap. VI, Part A, §§2(a) and 2(b)(5); Chap. VI, Part C, §3 (Dec. 31, 1991)].The principles discussed in Chapter 7 with respect to initially determining the specific level of classified information also apply to downgrading decisions. Consequently, there is no need to further discuss these same principles with respect to downgrading classified information.
1. Executive Order 12356, Fed. Reg., 47 14874 (Apr. 6, 1982), §3.1(b).
2. U.S. Department of Energy, DOE Order 5650.2B, "Identification of Classified Information," Chap. VI, Part A, §1(b), Dec. 31, 1991. Hereafter cited as "DOE Order 5650.2B."
3. DOE Order 5650.2B, Chap. VI, Part A, §1(a).