Aiming for a More Efficient Process
Although the Bi-annual Report provides the high points for the NDC, particularly in relation to the efforts to address the back log, I want to offer a few more descriptive details just to further your understanding of what we are doing. I welcome your questions and comments. Declassification can be a complex process, but the NDC wants to make the best effort at explaining the ins and outs.
First, we have developed and fine tuned a host of new processes in order to speed records to our customers. You can read about those from the other NDC bloggers. Basically, it currently takes 50% of our classified records three months to go through our review and release process. When compared to the seven years we once measured, we feel pretty good about that statistic. We do put certain Federal records ahead in the process that have been specifically requested by the public or are of high historical value. But, for the most part, we have become a kind of a well-run factory, where we move documents consistently and efficiently from one stage to another until they are available to the public or individually exempted for national security or privacy sensitivities.
Second, the NDC effort involves NARA careerists as well as professionals from other government agencies. We are all doing our best to follow a center concept: good news for one of us is good news for all of us. When we process for referral quality, a number of agencies are involved, including the originating agency for the document as well as the various information (equity) owners within the document. In the past six months, that included Army, DOE, CIA, NSA, OSD, DIA, JCS, State, USAF, and NGA. Since our stand up in January 2010, Treasury, Commerce, Navy, Justice, FBI, DNI, and MDA have all also played a part. Over at the DOD Joint Referral Center, the armed services, OSD, JCS, DIA, NSA, MDA, NRO and State are addressing selected DOD records series. I am probably inadvertently overlooking an acronym, but you get the idea of the involvement and support here. The bottom line is with this much support, we are already seeing the fruits of our collective labors as we whittle down the back log, segregate the still-sensitive from the now declassified, and then make the declassified records available to the public.