The Pentagon Wants to Automate Some Classification Decisions

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The proposed software would help defense officials make classification decisions and automatically enforce them.

The Pentagon is in the market for an automated tool that can help determine what level documents should be classified at and who should be able to access them, according to contracting documents.

The system should also be able to automatically redact information from a document when the document is shared with users who should be allowed to see some, but not all, of it, according to the request for information.

The system will integrate with standard sharing tools, such as Microsoft Office products, and prevent people from sharing documents that they shouldn’t, the contracting document states. That decision might be based on the classification level of the document or the recipient’s clearance level, among other factors.

The tool might also suggest a classification level for new documents, such as memos and reports, based on particular keywords or on interior classification markings, according to a question and answer sheet.  

The document, which was first published in May, is only a request for information, which means it doesn’t obligate the government to purchase anything.

The tool “should be primarily automated,” the document states, but privileged users should be able to override the automated commands.

The tool should also keep an auditable trail of who accesses information, where they access it from and any changes they make, the document states.  

The system should be able to handle up to 25,000 concurrent users, the document states. It should be based on open technology standards that are used throughout the tech sector, but should also be able to comply with special standards developed by the Defense Department, the National Security Agency and the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology.

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