The National Declassification Center (NDC) at the National Archives and Records Administration was directed by the President to streamline the declassification of approximately 400 million pages of accessioned Federal records. In addition, the NDC must facilitate quality-assurance measures and implement standardized equity identification training regarding the declassification of records determined to have permanent historical value). All of this must be done in a way that will permit public access to all declassified records in that backlog. The NDC is a success story.
Since the NDC’s stand up, it has dramatically expanded its output: from less than 600,000 pages/month in 2010 and earlier to slightly over 1 million pages/month in 2011 to its current 5 million pages per month in 2012. Of the 5 million pages per month, the NDC is currently releasing at least 3.5 million pages per month, and its release rate has wavered from a low of 56% in June 2012 to 95% in the first two weeks of August 2012. 90% of the backlog has been analyzed (assessed) or been remanded to either the primary reviewing agency or an inter-agency team. More than 53% of the backlog has successfully completed quality assurance and will have no further review for national security equities. The NDC has focused agency review and expedited processing on several special historical collections in order to prioritize within the backlog. Via the NDC blog and yearly public forums, the NDC has solicited public input in regard to its processes and priorities. Thus far, special review efforts have included but are not limited to records associated with the Pentagon Papers, the Berlin Wall, and the Katyn Forest Massacre.
The NDC has issued five status reports so far, all available to the public on the NDC website: www.archives.gov/declassification. The NDC established an audit team that performs monthly quality assurance sampling against records that have completed all processing in order to validate its streamlined processing, including the quality of other government agency equity identification and referral.