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Security Classification of Information: Table of Contents

Chapter 12.

To downgrade* classified information is to reduce its classification level. Thus, Top Secret information can be downgraded to the Secret or Confidential classification levels. Secret information can be downgraded to the Confidential level. Confidential information cannot be downgraded—it can only be declassified (or upgraded, if circumstances require such an action).

NSI can be downgraded, within federal agencies, by the person originally classifying that information, that person's successor, supervisors of either, or other officials delegated such authority in writing by the agency head or other designated senior agency official.1 Within DOE and its contractors, authority to downgrade NSI is limited to the Original Classifier of such information (or the successor to that person), the Director of the Office of Classification, or the Director of Security Affairs.2

As mentioned in Chapter 8, some executive orders prior to EO 12356 required that certain types of NSI be downgraded at specified times after the date of issuance of that NSI. Such requirements for automatic downgrading were not included in EO 12356.

RD or FRD may be downgraded only by the DOE Director of Security Affairs or the Director of the Office of Classification.+, 3

The principles discussed in Chapter 7 with respect to initially determining the specific level of classified information also apply to downgrading decisions. Consequently, there is no need to further discuss these same principles with respect to downgrading classified information.


1. Executive Order 12356, Fed. Reg., 47 14874 (Apr. 6, 1982), §3.1(b).

2. U.S. Department of Energy, DOE Order 5650.2B, "Identification of Classified Information," Chap. VI, Part A, §1(b), Dec. 31, 1991. Hereafter cited as "DOE Order 5650.2B."

3. DOE Order 5650.2B, Chap. VI, Part A, §1(a).

On to Appendix A.

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