Monday, December 5, 2011

Why the US Government Assigns Classification Levels and the DoD Contractor Responsibilities

The US Government has designed policy to ensure that classified material is protected at the level designated to prevent unauthorized disclosure. Classified information is marked by an original classification authority (OCA) with CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET or TOP SECRET and cleared contractors should protectect it at the appropriate level. TOP SECRET has more restrictions than SECRET and SECRET has more restrictions than CONFIDENTIAL. Each must be protected according to the classification markings. For example, unauthorized disclosure of CONFIDENTIAL information could reasonably be expected cause damage; SECRET could reasonably be expected to cause serious damage; and TOP SECRET could reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to national security.

The OCA provides classification level information through the DD Form 254, security classification guide and through classification markings.

When the classification level is determined, all related classified information should be properly identified with the classification markings. The markings indicate the level of classification, identify the exact information to be protected, provide guidance on downgrading and declassification, give reasons for classification and sources of classification, and warn of special access, control or safeguarding requirements.

Though defense contractors don't assign classification levels, it helps to understand why information gets classified and how the government identifies the classified information. The cleared contractor works with the classified information and protects it according to the markings.

Jeffrey W. Bennett, ISP is the owner of Red Bike Publishing Red Bike Publishing . Jeff is an accomplished writer of non-fiction books, novels and periodicals. He also owns Red bike Publishing. Published books include: "Get Rich in a Niche-Insider's Guide to Self Publishing in a Specialized Industry" and "Commitment-A Novel". Jeff is an expert in security and has written many security books including: "Insider's Guide to Security Clearances" and "DoD Security Clearances and Contracts Guidebook", "ISP Certification-The Industrial Security Professional Exam Manual", and NISPOM/FSO Training" See Red Bike Publishing for print copies of: Army Leadership, The Ranger Handbook, The Army Physical Readiness Manual, Drill and Ceremonies, The ITAR,and The NISPOM

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