Today, ISOO published its FY 2021 Annual Report to the President. Each year, ISOO reports to the President on the implementation of the Classified National Security Information (CNSI) and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) programs, following requirements in Executive Orders 13526 and 13556. These Reports summarize ISOO’s oversight activities and make key recommendations that seek to improve the effectiveness of how our Government manages and protects this information.
This year’s report highlights significant changes needed to update the CNSI and CUI systems in order to bring them into the modern—and largely digital—age. As the Director of ISOO, Mark A. Bradley, stated in his letter to the President: “I believe one of the most effective ways to shore up Americans’ belief in their government is to modernize its outdated systems for classifying and declassifying national security information. This is why I was so pleased to receive a copy of the White House’s June 2, 2022, Memorandum for Initiating a Process to Review Information Management and Classification Policies, which directs the relevant directorates of the National Security Council to do just that.”
The data gathered from agencies for this year’s ISOO report was obtained through ISOO’s multi-year project to modernize CNSI data collection methods. This process was intended to develop a more effective way to measure and assess the health of agency CNSI programs in a way that was less burdensome and yielded accurate data. The collection is now completed electronically and we only gather information that is (1) valuable for oversight, (2) mandated to be collected, or (3) helpful to agencies to improve their own CNSI programs. We have already identified a number of ways to improve this collection format for the FY 2022 reporting cycle.
Other areas of focus in the FY 2021 report include the impacts and adaptations made by agencies in the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, CNSI and CUI program oversight and compliance, technology investments needed to transform the CNSI system, declassification modernization, National Industrial Security Program (NISP) oversight for cleared industry, and the work of the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP).