12 Days of Open Government Resolutions – Day 8: White House-Led Classification Reform Steering Committee

Each post in the series of posts we plan to publish between now and December 25 focuses on a resolution the Obama Administration realistically can use to make the federal government more open and accountable in the coming year. See below for links to previous resolutions.

Open Government Resolution 8 for the Obama Administration – Set up the White House-led classification Steering Committee recommended in the PIDB report

A critical factor in changing the entrenched culture of secrecy in the intelligence and law-enforcement agencies, and finally reining in overclassification, is continued leadership and oversight from the White House. As our Steering Committee member Steve Aftergood wrote recently in Secrecy News, "Future progress in secrecy reform will require agencies to surrender some of the discretion in classification and declassification activity that they have long enjoyed.  But this is unlikely to happen without presidential intervention and direction."

The first recommendation of the recently-released Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) report on Transforming Classification is to the White House: the President should appoint a White House-led Classification Reform Steering Committee. The creation of the Steering Committee will help ensure there is coordinated interagency development and implementation, and oversight of any policy changes to transform the security classification system. We recommend that the President quickly establish this Steering Committee and that it use the model of public engagement set by the PIDB.

12 Days of Open Government Resolutions for the Obama Administration:

Resolution 1: Begin gathering public input for Version 2 of the US National Action Plan

Resolution 2: Make it easier for the public to track agencies’ open government work

Resolution 3: Encourage Agencies to Join FOIAOnline

Resolution 4: Direct Agencies to Update their FOIA Regulations

Resolution 5: Direct agencies to make all Reports to Congress and Communications with Members of Congress available in a central location on the agency website

Resolution 6: Direct all agencies that collect electronic visitor records to make them available to the public in an easy-to-search and downloadable format

Resolution 7: Direct agencies to make enough information available so that the public can have an informed opinion of what is "high-value" data

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