Press/Journalists

Press Release
December 30, 2009

Archivist of the United States Announces Establishment of the National Declassification Center

Washington, DC…Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero announced today the establishment of the National Declassification Center (NDC) within the National Archives and Records Administration.

The creation of the NDC is specified in the new Executive Order on Classified National Security Information signed by President Obama on December 29, 2009. Specifically, the NDC is charged with streamlining declassification processes, facilitating quality assurance measures, and implementing standard training for declassification reviewers.

In making the announcement, Mr. Ferriero said “The Federal government has reached a watershed moment in records declassification. The current backlog is so huge that Americans are being denied the ability to hold government officials accountable for their actions. By streamlining the declassification process, the NDC will usher in a new day in the world of access, allowing the National Archives to make more records available for public scrutiny much more quickly.”

Initially, the NDC will be located at the National Archives College Park, MD facility and focus on clearing the backlog of referrals in reviewed documents both in Federal records and in Presidential materials. Dr. Michael Kurtz, Assistant Archivist for the Office of Records Services, Washington will serve as Acting Director of the NDC pending the selection of a permanent director. The NDC will be advised by an inter-agency Policy Planning Group made up of senior managers from the Departments of State, Defense, and Energy as well as the Central Intelligence Agency, Director of National Intelligence, the Information Security Oversight Office, and the National Archives.

"The establishment of the NDC provides a unique opportunity for the National Archives and its agency colleagues to create new strategies to protect essential national security and release hundreds of millions of pages to researchers and the public," said Dr. Kurtz

In anticipation of the establishment of the NDC, an inter-agency Program Management Team that has begun examining current declassification review processes throughout the government. The National Archives is working with the Defense Change Management Organization to conduct a study to determine how processes can be improved by reducing process cycle time, defects and costs. The recommendations from this effort will be incorporated into the new NDC processes.

Public input, questions and comments may be sent to NDC@nara.gov. Information about upcoming forums and NDC initiatives may be found at the NDC web site [http://www.archives.gov/declassification].

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For Press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.

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