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FAS Note: The following memorandum of understanding between the Energy and Defense Departments builds on prior, largely fruitless discussions concerning "higher security fences" for certain sensitive nuclear weapons information, as reflected in this December 1999 letter.



August 28, 2000

PURPOSE: The protection of nuclear weapon-related information is crucial to maintaining the security of the United States. Since both the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Defense (DoD) are responsible for the security of such information, corresponding programs are needed at both agencies to ensure continuity and standardization where practical. Such continuity and standardization enhance the protection of nuclear weapon-related information across the Government and benefit the American taxpayer by establishing a more efficient and effective program. To that end, the Joint Policy Group for the Protection of Nuclear Weapons Design and Use Control Information (Joint Policy Group) has been established to determine how best to enhance the protection of Restricted Data (RD) constituting the most sensitive nuclear weapon-related information. Such information is a subset of all nuclear weapon design and use control information. To accomplish this task, the Joint Policy Group will (1) study current DoD and DOE policies for the classification and protection of nuclear weapon design and use control information, (2) evaluate the effectiveness of these policies, and (3) recommend whether and how these policies may be improved.

BACKGROUND: Under the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (the Act), the DOE establishes the Government-wide identification, protection, and personnel security programs for RD. Also under the Act, the DoD, which possesses the bulk of all RD outside the DOE, establishes its own internal personnel security program for RD under its control. Since both Departments have policy roles with respect to RD, and also have the overwhelming majority of all RD in the government, cooperation in this study is imperative.

Formation of the Joint Policy Group to study the protection of nuclear weapons design and use control information is not without precedent. In 1995, the DOE and DoD embarked on the Fundamental Classification Policy Review (FCPR), a joint effort to comprehensively review nuclear weapons-related classification policy to determine which information no longer warranted protection in the post-Cold War era. The FCPR also identified a number of specific nuclear weapons-related subject areas as being particularly sensitive. This aspect of the FCPR is a starting point for the Joint Policy Group to identify what, if any, information warrants enhanced protection.

OBJECTIVE: The objectives of the Joint Policy Group are to identify (1) any nuclear weapon design and use control information requiring enhanced protection, (2) possible methods to provide such protection, and (3) recommendations based on the threat, cost and operational impact of those methods.

PROCESS: The Joint Policy Group may form and task subgroups, if needed. These subgroups will be staffed by both DoD and DOE employees and contractors.

PRODUCT: The Joint Policy Group will provide a report containing the results of its study and recommendations concerning the protection of nuclear weapons design and use control information to the Director, Security and Emergency Operations, DOE and to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Intelligence), DoD.

Ultimately, although not a direct product of the Joint Policy Group, agency and national publications may require changes to incorporate the accepted Joint Policy Group recommendations.

DURATION: The Joint Policy Group will produce its final report and disband by December 1, 2000.


Department of Energy

National Nuclear Security Administration Department of Defense

[signed]						[signed]
General Eugene E. Habiger, USAF (Retired)		Arthur L. Money
Director, Office of Security and 			Assistant Secretary of Defense
     Emergency Operations				Command, Control, Communications 
U.S. Department of Energy				     and Intelligence
							U.S. Department of Defense

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