AF team earns Hammer Award

Directed by a presidential order to streamline the declassification process for secret documents the Air Force realized it first had to bring some order to its classification system which involved more than 600 paper-classification guides ranging from 30 to more than 100 pages each.

An Air Force team composed of active reserve and National Guard personnel developed a database for the guides and has accelerated the declassification process tenfold compared with manual methods said Col. John Haynes deputy chief of the declassification review team in the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force.

In recognition Vice President Al Gore last month presented the team with a Hammer Award for making a "significant contribution" to the principles of the National Performance Review.

William Davidson administrative assistant to Secretary of the Air Force Sheila Widnall explained that the service needed to automate its declassification efforts due to the sheer bulk of the documents which involved 6 million to 8 million Vietnam-era documents and another 70 million post-Vietnam documents the classification of which was evaluated under the presidential order.

The team decided to use the programs in Microsoft Corp.'s Office to make the task manageable and to make it easier to distribute the final database to commands throughout the Air Force.

Haynes said this new system means "people don't have to flip through hundreds of pages in hundreds of guides to find the information they need." Instead they just point and click to find the right guide.

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