NCH Endorses SHAFR Statement on Federal Records Declassification Reform

Recently the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) developed a detailed set of recommendations suggesting much-needed reforms of the federal government rules and regulations controlling the declassification of federal and presidential records. The National Security Archive was also involved in the development of the proposal.

The National Coalition for History (NCH) has endorsed the SHAFR statement. We submitted it to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in April. In addition, NCH sent the recommendations to White House Chief of Staff Jeffrey Zients and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. The White House is in the process of rewriting Executive Order (E.O.) 13526 which currently sets declassification policy for the entire federal government. It has not been updated since it was issued by President Obama in 2009.

As SHAFR states, the E.O, “is long out of date, and its language gives undue scope to the agencies to over-classify and even block declassification of historical records.” NCH urges the White House to act expeditiously in updating federal declassification policy.