from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2015, Issue No. 32
May 6, 2015

Secrecy News Blog:


The House Armed Services Committee is asking the Secretary of Defense to identify "specific inefficiencies with regard to the process for the declassification of documents" pertaining to prisoners of war and missing in action personnel, and ways to expedite the release of such documents. The directive was included in the new Committee report on the FY 2016 defense authorization act.

Declassification of POW/MIA records is a niche issue of intense personal interest to some, and of no particular interest to others. But because such niche issues embody systemic problems, they have the potential to drive changes in policy that can have ripple effects throughout the national security classification process, as disputes over release of JFK assassination records have done in the past.

Thus, the Committee asked the Secretary to report on "challenges in current declassification procedures; recommendations to expedite procedures for interagency declassification; recommendations for procedures to declassify redacted portions of previously released documents;..." and so forth.

In a separate provision, the House Committee responded to a Department of Energy Inspector General finding this year that information had sometimes been misclassified and/or improperly disclosed at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The Committee instructed the National Nuclear Security Administration to report on "the measures taken to improve the effectiveness of the classification process and related oversight."


The Department of Defense spends more money on contractors than all other federal agencies combined, a new report from the Congressional Research Service explains.

"This report examines (1) how much money DOD obligates on contracts, (2) what DOD is buying, and (3) where that money is being spent." See Defense Acquisitions: How and Where DOD Spends Its Contracting Dollars, April 30, 2015:

Relatedly, a provision in the pending FY2016 defense authorization bill would require the Government Accountability Office to "carry out a comprehensive review of the processes and procedures for the integration of intelligence into the Department of Defense acquisition process." (HR 1735, section 1630).

Other noteworthy new reports from CRS that Congress has withheld from regular public disclosure include the following.

Corporate Tax Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS): An Examination of the Data, April 30, 2015:

Tax Expenditures: Overview and Analysis, April 30, 2015:

An Introduction to Health Insurance: What Should a Consumer Know?, April 30, 2015:

International Investment Agreements (IIAs): Frequently Asked Questions, April 30, 2015:

International Air Service Controversies: Frequently Asked Questions, May 4, 2015:

Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations, April 29, 2015:

What's the Difference? -- Comparing U.S. and Chinese Trade Data, May 4, 2015:

Major U.S. Arms Sales and Grants to Pakistan Since 2001, May 4, 2015:


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

The Secrecy News blog is at:

To SUBSCRIBE to Secrecy News, go to:


OR email your request to

Secrecy News is archived at:

SUPPORT the FAS Project on Government Secrecy with a donation here: