NARA plans declassification review for 400 million pages

New plan released to clear backlog by December 2013

The National Archives and Records Administration intends to use social media, blog postings, public comments and other public input to determine which group of historic national security and presidential records should be be declassified and first made available to the public, according to a new implementation plan.

NARA’s National Declassification Center released the Prioritization Plan on Nov. 23 outlining how it intends to work through a backlog of more than 400 million pages of historic records that are to be reviewed for declassification, archiving and release to the public.

The declassification center “will use a variety of sources, including public input through a variety of social media technologies … to determine the level of public interest,” the plan states.


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The plan describes a process to declassify and process for release federal records and presidential materials, including records from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

The goal is to eliminate the backlog by December 2013, according to a news release from NARA.

The strategy is to focus first on materials deemed of high public interest and on materials with a high likelihood of being declassified.

NARA’s own research shows that the greatest volume of requests is for records from the State Department, Navy ship and deck logs, Army units and Prisoner of War/Missing in Action information.

“We agree that certain series should be targeted first. Often these records will be older, policy-level records that will shed significant light on how the United States conducted its defense and foreign policy as far back as the 1940s,” the plan states.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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