Main Text of Review Group Report

Appendix A to the
Report of the
Fundamental Classification
Policy Review Group




January 15, 1997



The Under Secretary of Energy

Washington, DC 20585


February 13, 1995


Dr. Albert Narath
Sandia National Laboratories
P. O. Box 5800
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185

Dear Dr. Narath:

The Secretary and I deeply appreciate your agreeing to serve as Chair of the Fundamental Review Group to carry out a comprehensive Fundamental Review of the Department of Energy's Classification Policy.

This will be the first comprehensive top-to-bottom review since the high-level Tolman Committee (Richard Tolman, A. H. Compton, Robert Oppenheimer, Ernest Lawrence, Robert Bacher, Frank Spedding, and Harold Urey) reviewed all war-time nuclear weapons-related technology for declassification in 1946.

The Fundamental Review is critically important in determining what information must continue to be protected. It is also important to determine which information no longer requires protection and should be made available to the public in the interest of public accountability. Indeed, I am sure you agree, that in order for the review to have maximum credibility, the views of our citizens must be actively solicited.

The plan is to carry out a 12-month Fundamental Review by a Review Group of some 50 technical and policy experts, mostly from the Department of Energy's nuclear weapons complex, but also including expertise from the Department of Defense and other Government agencies, as appropriate.

The Review Group will be headed by you as overall Chair and divided into about seven Working Groups, each with a Chair and approximately six members. The role of overall Chair is absolutely crucial to arriving at credible, responsible recommendations for the Department and the Nation. We consider you an ideal person to carry out this important task. You have the knowledge, experience, and management capability required. We recognize that you are already heavily committed to important national security efforts for the Department and for Sandia. However, this Fundamental Review is an important element of our overall national security objectives, and we consider it one of the Department's priority efforts. We will help you arrange for full support from other Departmental elements and provide a strong executive secretariat to support you in carrying out the Fundamental Review.

Charles B. Curtis


Department of Energy

Washington, DC 20585


February 28, 1995




I am extremely pleased to announce that Dr. Albert Narath, President, Sandia National Laboratories, has agreed to serve as Chair of the comprehensive Fundamental Review of the Department of Energy's classification policy.

Dr. Glen Otey, Director of Sandia National Laboratories' Strategic Studies, has been named as Deputy Chair. A brief description of the Fundamental Review as now planned is given below. Regular monthly reports will be provided to the Under Secretary and to other interested parties.

At the direction of the Secretary, the Under Secretary ordered a comprehensive Fundamental Classification Review of all Department of Energy defense-related nuclear information, under the direction of the Office of Nonproliferation and National Security. The Office of Declassification has been designated as executive agent for the Department to organize and implement this sweeping review .

PURPOSE: Secretary Hazel O'Leary and Under Secretary Charles Curtis have emphasized the importance to the Department's missions of improving its public accountability and earning public trust. The Secretary's Openness Initiative directly addresses that overriding objective. This comprehensive Fundamental Classification Review is a major component of the Secretary's Openness Initiative.

The purpose of the Fundamental Classification Review is to review the Department of Energy's classification policy with respect to information concerning defense applications of nuclear technology in order to determine which information requires continued protection, with the objective of promptly declassifying and releasing all information no longer warranting such protection.

BACKGROUND: The Department of Energy is custodian of the Nation's technology for defense uses of nuclear energy, including nuclear weapons and nuclear materials production. National security requires this technology to be properly protected from potential adversaries, proliferants, and terrorists. However, with the end of the Cold War, a review of classification policy to reflect current world conditions is in order. There has not been such a comprehensive Fundamental Review of classification policy for nearly 50 years. During that time, and especially in the past 6 years, there have been many post-Cold War era changes involving international, political, military, and economic matters, as well as dramatic changes in science and technology. There have been many requests from citizens and professional groups for information in areas such as environment, safety, and health, and historic data. It is probable that much of this information may now be declassified with no harm to the common defense and security of the United States or its friends around the world.

The Fundamental Review was recommended by the Classification Policy Study in July 1992. Secretary O'Leary, on December 7, 1993, announced the plan for a Fundamental Review as part of her Openness Initiative. The Secretary committed the Department to review all classification policies and related technical guidance, and then to revise classification guides to reflect changes in policy. The requirement for a Fundamental Classification Review is also contained in the National Performance Review - Reinventing Government. Congress, in its Conference Report accompanying the Fiscal 1994 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill, endorsed such a review and called for an early completion.

On June 27, 1994, Under Secretary Charles Curtis directed the implementation of the Fundamental Review, requesting all elements of the Department to cooperate fully to carry out a responsible, effective, credible, and timely comprehensive Fundamental Review of the Department's classification policy (see attached). The Office of Declassification has been assigned as executive agent for the review.

SCOPE: The Fundamental Review is a basic, systematic and comprehensive review of the Department of Energy's classification policy to establish that information which must be protected, with the intent that all other information can be declassified and made available to the public. All information within the Department of Energy's responsibility will be included. The review will impact the overall Classification Policy Guide and thousands of specific topics in about 50 Headquarters guides and about 800 local classification guides.
PRODUCT: The Fundamental Review will be completed within 12 months of establishment of the review group. Completion will result in a report to the Secretary which reviews all categories of information, and makes clear concise recommendations for changes, along with the supporting rationales. The report will be unclassified (with a classified annex) and will be available to the public for comment.

It should be noted that a major multiyear effort will still be required to develop specific classification guidance to implement those recommendations approved by the Secretary.

PROCESS: The Fundamental Classification Review will be carried out by a review group of about 50 recognized experts in the relevant areas of technology and policy. Dr. Narath will be overall Chair of the review group, which will be made up of seven working groups in various subject areas (Weapons Science, Weapons Design, Materials Production, Weaponization, Weapons Production and Military Utilization, Military Reactors, and Safeguards and Security). Each working group will have a chair and about six members chosen for their expertise and judgment from the Department of Energy complex, the Department of Defense, other Government agencies, universities, and industry. One of the members of each working group will be a senior classification expert in the subject area.

The choice of people to participate in the Fundamental Classification Review is absolutely crucial. Nominations have been requested from the Office of Nonproliferation and National Security, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Defense Programs, the Office of Nuclear Energy, the weapons laboratories, classification officers throughout the Department of Energy complex, and from the Department of Defense. Selections are expected to be made soon for the seven working group chairs and then for the other members of the review group.

Extensive support will be provided by the Office of Declassification through weapons laboratory classification offices and a support contractor. Support by laboratory classification offices will include support for outside participants from universities and industry. The support contractor will provide help in planning and implementing the review, including organizing meetings, providing draft materials, and assisting in developing the final report.

The Secretary considers the input of outside experts and public interest groups very important and to be strongly encouraged. The completed report and any resultant policy changes adopted by the Secretary will be coordinated with the Department of Defense and other relevant agencies of the U.S. Government, the Nuclear Weapons Council, and the National Security Council, as required. Public comments will also be actively encouraged.


cc w/attachment:
A. Narath, President, SNL

Report of the Fundamental Classification Policy Review Group