06
December 2022
Past Event
Reforming the Classification System: Challenges, Approaches, and Priorities

Cosponsored with the Federalist Society and the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Law and National Security

Reforming the Classification System: Challenges, Approaches, and Priorities

Past Event
Hudson Institute
December 06, 2022
files classification
Caption
(Stock Image)
06
December 2022
Past Event

Cosponsored with the Federalist Society and the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Law and National Security

Speakers:
Ezra Cohen

Adjunct Fellow

Alissa Starzak

Vice Chair, Public Interest Declassification Board

David Burns

Partner, Gibson Dunn

John Eisenberg

Former Deputy Counsel to the President of the United States; Legal Advisor, National Security Counsel

Elizabeth Goitein

Senior Director, Liberty & National Security Program, Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School

Alex Joel

Professor, American University Washington School of Law

Moderator:
Carter Burwell

Counsel, Debevoise & Plimpton

Our national security relies on the careful and deliberate creation, dissemination, and protection of classified information. But some contend that the current system for classifying and declassifying US government records is outdated and imposes significant economic and public policy costs, directly and indirectly harming national security. Storage and maintenance costs increase as classification levels rise, and these costs will increase with newly classified electronic records growing exponentially, and with numerous records approaching mandatory declassification review. In addition, the problems with decreased efficiency, coordination, and trust and confidence in our national security agencies undermine our nation’s security and public confidence in the intelligence community. 

For more than a decade, the Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) has called for reform of our classification system. More recently, leaders across the political spectrum, throughout the intelligence community, and in civil society and academia have also called for change. The National Security Council’s ongoing review and planned update of Executive Order 13526, which governs the declassification process, provide an opportunity for a thoughtful discussion on the challenges, approaches, and priorities for reforming the classification system.

Please join Hudson Institute for an event that will consider the following questions:

•    What are some of the greatest challenges and opportunities for reforming the classification system?
•    How can programmatic measures incentivize appropriate classification levels at the earliest feasible stage?
•    To what extent can technological measures, such as artificial intelligence applications in classification review, increase efficiency and accuracy in (de)classification procedures? 
•    What administrative or organizational changes might help reform the classification system? 

The event will consist of an initial 30-minute fireside chat with PIDB Chair and Hudson Adjunct Fellow Ezra Cohen and Vice Chair Alissa Starzak, who will set the stage with a discussion of current challenges, potential approaches, and priorities for reforming the existing classification system. Following that overview, a panel of legal scholars and intelligence community veterans will discuss specific proposals for reform in light of the ongoing review of Executive Order 13526.
 

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