NDC Indexing Update

In August 2015 we announced a new program called “Indexing on Demand” which allows researchers to request records that have completed quality assurance review and are available for indexing and final withhold processing.  We provided pdf files that listed the acronym or name and number of the original record group; NARA HMS identification numbers; the record entry name for the series; dates of the records within the series (not always immediately available); and the size (possibly estimated) of the series itself.

Since the roll out, we have processed 268 requests totaling almost nine million pages with a release rate of 81%.  We have updated our lists to remove the series that have been processed and add newly available series for request.   The lists are divided into three groups: military records, civilian records, and records currently in process.

As before, you can correspond with us via our ndc@nara.gov email box or by replying to this blog post. You can also visit with our representative in the Archives II reference area, Stephanie Coon, who would be happy to address your questions and requests. She can offer you an estimate on the complexity of the final processing needed as well as a tentative timeline to completion.

iod_military                        iod_civilian                              iod_in process

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New Releases from the National Declassification Center

The NDC has released a listing of 228 entries that have completed declassification processing between January 2 and August 31, 2016 and are now available for researcher request. This release consists of records from both military and civilian agencies.

Highlights include:

  • Department of State, Program and Subject Files for North Vietnam,
  • Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State, U.S. Consulate General, Hong Kong: Classified Central Subject Files,
  • Joint Chiefs Of Staff, Office Of The Secretariat, Central Files,
  • Army Staff, Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2 (Intelligence); Project Decimal Files, 1964,
  • Atomic Energy Commission, Classified Official Correspondence,
  • Office of the Secretary of Defense, Advanced Research Projects Agency; Orders, and
  • Bureau of Naval Weapons, Proposal Files For Aircraft, Helicopters, and Missiles(When making a request, please cite the HMS Entry and Series Title.)
  • Requests to access the newly released records or to order copies should be directed to Archives 2 Reference at 301-837-3510 or archives2reference@nara.gov. Please note that some series may contain other restrictions such as privacy or law enforcement and may require screening or a FOIA request prior to access.
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New Formerly Restricted Data Declassification Determination

 

Effective immediately, the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy jointly approved the recommendation of the DoD/DOE FRD Declassification Working Group (DWG) :

“The fact that any specified retired weapon was at a former (now closed) nuclear weapon storage location or former (now closed) operational location (e.g. Nike site, bomber bases, etc.) within the United States, its possessions and territories.”

The NDC made the case to the FRD DWG that this information should be declassified due to the repeated discoveries of this kind of FRD in numerous records that impeded the prompt declassification of many documents in the NDC declassification workflow.  We are grateful to both DoD and DOE to allow NDC participation in the FRD declassification process, and we look forward to work with these agencies again as we continue to work for the declassification of other types of FRD as found in our records.

mk7_mark-90-pic1

Mark 90 nuclear depth charge shape being tested on an F7F-3 Tigercat at a naval air station

 

 

 

 

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New Special Project Released by the NDC

The latest NDC special project “Treasures from World War II US Navy Command Files,” is now available on NARA’s website. All of the records, approximately 192,500 pages, were released in full. The records deal with Navy intelligence, combat operations, operational planning, mine warfare and submarine warfare during WWII, as well as the investigation into the Pearl Harbor attack. The lead archivist on this project, Steven Shafer, worked with other NDC staff and other NARA offices, including the Offices of Innovation and Research Services, to accomplish this. The series is available on NARA’s National Archives Catalog. The website to read the introduction to the special project and to find out more about it, can be viewed at:

http://www.archives.gov/research/military/navy/treasures-ww2.html

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Share Your Ideas for NARA’s Next Open Government Plan

Cropped Open GovThis week, we are kicking off the development of our next Open Government Plan for 2016-2018. We need your ideas, suggestions, and feedback to make it happen!

Submit your ideas by April 15, 2016:

How do you think we should increase the three pillars of open government —Transparency, Participation, and Collaboration — in the way we do our work at the National Archives in general and the National Declassification Center in particular?

We are looking for your ideas on how we can improve:

  • Communicating what the NDC can and cannot do
  • Transparency in the work processes of the NDC
  • Records or topics you would like to see processed for declassification
  • The mandatory declassification review (MDR) process
  • The availability of public access to declassified records
  • Explaining the difference between classification and other restrictions such as privacy or law enforcement

Take a look at our last Open Government Plan and Archives.gov/open for more information.  Is there something that you think we could be doing better?  Let us know!

We will carefully consider all ideas. In the past, we’ve received more than 100 suggestions and we report on these and respond in an appendix to the Plan. Even if you’ve shared an idea before, please share it again. We need your ideas on how we can better serve the public.

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New Entries Released by the National Declassification Center

The NDC has released a listing of 149 entries that have completed declassification processing between June 29, and December 31, 2015 and are now available for researcher request. This release consists of records from both military and civilian agencies.

Highlights include:

  • Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Naval Intelligence Reports,
  • Department of State, Human Rights Country and Subject Files,
  • Department of State, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Reports,
  • Department of State, Executive Secretariat, Records Relating to the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962-1963,
  • Office Surgeon General (Army), Central Decimal File,
  • Army Staff, Korean Conflict POW, MIA and Detainee Intelligence Files, and
  • Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Director’s Classified Subject Files

Requests to access the newly released records or to order copies should be directed to Archives 2 Reference at 301-837-3510 or archives2reference@nara.gov. Please note that some series may contain other restrictions such as privacy or law enforcement and may require screening or a FOIA request prior to access.

(When making a request, please cite the HMS Entry and Series Title.)

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NDC Indexing Update

Today’s post comes from NDC Director Sheryl Shenberger and is an update on prioritized NDC projects and final processing.

In my March blog post, I offered you a listing of projects that have been completed for quality assurance review and are available for indexing and final withhold processing. As The Department of Energy has completed more of its own QA on the backlog, more series are available for on-demand processing, so we have broken the listings into two unique pdfs of the currently available series you can request. Some of these are small, and some contain 1000s of boxes. Some projects can be turned around quickly as they won’t require much in the way of segregation of still-sensitive information. Some contain privacy or personal identifying information that could affect their availability. The spreadsheets have the following categories: the acronym or name and number of the original record group; NARA HMS identification numbers; the record entry name for the series; dates of the records within the series (not always immediately available); and the size (possibly estimated) of the series itself.

Indexing On Demand Part One         Indexing On Demand Part Two

Since we stood up this “Indexing on Demand” option, we have completed 58 projects totaling 3.5M pages; 3.1 M of those pages were declassified and released in full for an 89% release rate.

As before, you can correspond with us via our ndc@nara.gov email box or by replying to this blog post. You can also visit with our representative in the Archives II reference area, Stephanie Coon, who would be happy to address your questions and requests. She can offer you an estimate on the complexity of the final processing needed as well as a tentative timeline to completion.

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New Releases from the National Declassification Center

The NDC has released a listing of 102 entries that have completed declassification processing between February 9, and June 26, 2015 and are now available for researcher request. This release consists of records from both military and civilian agencies. Highlights include:

  • Department of the Navy, Naval History and Heritage Command, War Diaries, 1946 – 1953,
  • Department of State, Records Relating to Cuba,
  • Department of State, Brazil, U.S. Consulate General, Rio de Janeiro: Classified Central Subject Files,
  • Department of State, Treaty Background Subject Files,
  • Office of the Secretary of Defense, Strategic Planning Files of the Deputy of Special Operations, Edward G. Landsdale,
  • Office of the Secretary of Defense, Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA); Records Concerning Research on Silent Aircraft, and
  • Records of the Naval Air Systems Command, PHOENIX Missile System Program Review Records, and

Requests to access the newly released records or to order copies should be directed to Archives 2 Reference at 301-837-3510 or archives2reference@nara.gov.

(When making a request, please cite the HMS Entry and Series Title.)

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Contribute your ideas to the US National Action Plan on Open Government

The United States plans to publish the third Open Government National Action Plan (NAP) later this year as part of our commitment to the Open Government Partnership. The NAP will include new and expanded open government commitments that will be fulfilled in the next two years. In the first and second US NAPs, previous commitments related to classification and declassification have included:

  • Developing standard declassification processes and training
  • Creating a Security Classification Reform Committee
  • Implementing monitoring and tracking for declassification reviews

 This year the US is developing the NAP in consultation with the public through Hackpad, a collaborative platform. Learn more about this process on the White House Blog and visit the Hackpad to learn how to participate in the process.

 Visit the page “Classification Modernization” page to contribute your ideas related to classification and declassification. NAP commitments need to be:

  • Ambitious: pushing government beyond current practice by strengthening transparency, accountability, and public participation
  • Relevant: advancing one of the four open government principles of (1) transparency, (2) accountability, (3) participation, and/or (4) technology and innovation
  • Specific: describing the problem to be solved and expected outcomes
  • Measurable: allowing independent observers to gauge whether the commitment has been completed

 Check out other topic pages on FOIA, records management, fiscal transparency, and whistleblowers, etc. Please submit your ideas for possible commitments and help us strengthen open government.

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Public Interest Declassification Board to Host a Public Meeting on June 25

The Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) will host a public meeting to discuss the recommendations included in its Report to the President on Transforming the Security Classification System, and its recommendation to employ existing technologies and develop and pilot new methods to modernize classification and declassification.

The meeting will include a discussion of the technology study the PIDB is conducting in collaboration with Executive Branch agencies.  There will be a briefing on the results of technology pilot projects completed at the Center for Content Understanding at the Applied Research Laboratories (UT: Austin), co-sponsored by the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Archives.  In his Second Open Government National Action Plan, the President directed the CIA and the National Archives to pilot new tools to provide classification reviewers with search capability for unstructured data and automate initial document analysis, beginning with the Presidential Records from the Reagan Administration’s classified email system.

The Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero will offer opening remarks, a senior official from the White House will give comments on Open Government Initiatives and a research scientist from the Center for Content Understanding will provide a briefing on the pilot projects.

WHEN: Thursday, June 25, 2015, 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

WHERE:  National Archives and Records Administration
Room 105 – Archivist’s Reception Room
700 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20408

This meeting is open to the public. However, due to space limitations and access procedures, we require individuals planning to attend the meeting to register on Eventbrite. Please note that one form of Government-issued photo identification (e.g. driver’s license) is required to gain admittance.

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