On November 4, 2011, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) released the first-ever registry for Controlled Unclassified Information(CUI) for records that are not classified as top secret or secret, but require some protection. The release of this registry meets one of the first targets of President Obama’s Executive Order on Controlled Unclassified Information.
The order stated that “Within 1 year of the date of this order, the Executive Agent shall establish and maintain a public CUI registry reflecting authorized CUI categories and subcategories”. Although much work remains, the new registry “is certainly an important milestone,” according to John Fitzpatrick, the office’s director. Looking back at the origin of this registry, one of the key reasons to move forward with this initiative was that executive branch performance “suffers immensely from interagency inconsistency” in the CUI arena. And no wonder– there were 117 different markings. The results were inconsistent marking and safeguarding of documents, which led to unclear or unnecessarily restrictive dissemination policies, and created impediments to authorized information sharing.
The new CUI registry provides a common definition, standardizes processes and procedures and breaks CUI down into 15 subject categories, such as law enforcement, immigration and privacy, followed by 85 subcategories (“privacy-contract use,” privacy-financial,” and so on.) It also justifies each with a reference to a specific law, regulation or government-wide policy. The next major steps (more…)