ISOO Issues Annual Report on Federal Government Classification

The Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) this week issued its Fiscal Year 2009 Report to the President providing data about the Government-wide security classification. It is accessible at .

Highlights of the data in the report include:


  • Executive branch agencies reported 2,557 original classification authorities. The lowest number ever reported.
  • Agencies reported 183,224 original classification decisions (new “secrets). A 10 percent decrease from FY 2008.
  • Agencies reported using the ten-year-or-less declassification instruction for 67 percent of original classification decisions. The highest percentage reported since FY 1996.
  • Executive branch agencies reported 54,651,765 derivative classification decisions. An increase largely attributed to more accurate data provided by agencies as a result of changes in guidance issued by ISOO.
  • Fifty-four percent of the classification guides reported as being currently in use have been updated within the past five years as required. An improvement over the 33 percent compliance rate reported in FY 2008.


  • Under automatic and systematic declassification review, agencies reviewed 51,983,587 pages and declassified 28,812,249 pages of historically valuable records. The pages declassified represents a decrease of 8 percent from FY 2008, but is still significantly more than the FY 1980 through FY 1994 average of 12.6 million pages declassified annually prior to the establishment of automatic declassification.
  • Agencies received 7,843 initial mandatory declassification review (MDR) requests. The MDR process requires a review of specific classified national security information in response to a request seeking its declassification.
  • Agencies reviewed 293,064 pages under MDR, and declassified 203,142 pages in their entirety, declassified 68,722 pages in part, and retained classification of 21,200 pages in their entirety.