Information Security Oversight Office Issues Annual Report

The Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) recently released its annual Report to the President profiling data about the Government-wide security classification for fiscal year (FY) 2007. The Report is accessible on the ISOO website by clicking here.

Established in 1978, ISOO is responsible to the President for overseeing the Government-wide security classification program, and receives policy and program guidance from the National Security Council. ISOO has been a component of the National Archives and Records Administration since 1995. ISOO Reports to the President from prior years are also accessible on its web site.

Highlights include:


  • In FY 2007, the number of authorized original classifiers throughout the Executive branch was 4,128, an increase of 2 percent, from FY 2006. However, this is a decrease of more than 3,000 since FY 1980, when ISOO first reported these numbers, and it is considerably lower than the average number of original classifiers from FY 1980 through FY 2006, which was 5,352.
  • The Executive branch agencies reported a 1 percent increase in the number of original classification actions to 233,639.
  • The agencies reported a 12.5 percent increase in the number of derivative classification actions to 22,868,618.
  • In FY 2008, ISOO will initiate a special effort to assess the content, currency, and use of classification guides.


  • Under the automatic and systematic review declassification programs, agencies declassified 37,249,390 pages of historically valuable records which was a decrease of 1 percent as compared to FY 2006. However, the FY 2007 figure remains significantly higher than the average of 12.6 million pages per year from FY 1980 through FY 1994, which was prior to the implementation of the automatic declassification program in 1995.

In FY 2008, ISOO will evaluate and assess agency automatic declassification reviews. These assessments will focus on three potential problem areas within the automatic declassification review process:

  • missed equities, where the reviewing agency responsible for conducting the automatic declassification review failed to properly refer classified information belonging to other agencies;
  • inappropriate referrals, where the reviewing agency responsible for conducting the automatic declassification review referred information to other agencies that either should never have been referred in the first place as the information was clearly not sensitive, or should not have been referred to a particular agency as that agency had no equity or interest in the information; and
  • inappropriate exemptions from declassification.

Cost Estimates for Security Classification Activities

  • The total FY 2007 cost estimate for Government and industry is $9.91 billion, which is $439 million or 4.6 percent more than the total FY 2006 cost estimate for Government and industry.
  • The largest increase came from the Physical Security category which experienced a $310 million, or 22.7 percent increase. Classification Management, Information Systems Security for Classified Information, and Information Security all showed an increase in FY 2007 with the cost increases in these categories ranging from 3.3 to 3.8 percent. The amount spent on declassification remained steady at 44 million.
  • After an extensive surge to bolster Government-wide security measures in the post-9/11 era, the annual rate of growth for total security costs is declining. The annual rate of growth of total security costs for FY 2006 (3.3 percent) and FY 2007 (4.6 percent) are lower than those reported for any other year since FY 2001.