October 07, 2022

Following Senator Warren’s NDAA Amendment, DOD Independent Watchdog Initiates Audit on Pentagon’s Use of Controlled Unclassified Information

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), released a statement regarding the Department of Defense (DoD) Inspector General’s announcement that they will begin an audit to determine whether DoD improperly withheld information from the public. The review would specifically look at how DoD applies “controlled unclassified information” (CUI):

“The federal government has a responsibility to be transparent to the American people and guarantee that their taxpayer dollars are being utilized efficiently and appropriately,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren.  "My amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act instructs the Inspector General to review how the Department of Defense controls unclassified information and I'm glad that the DoD IG has initiated this review."

According to the project announcement, the objective of the audit is to “determine the extent to which the DoD developed guidance, conducted training, and oversaw the implementation of the DoD Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) Program.” The review will also assess the mechanisms to remediate misapplications of CUI designations. 

As a member of SASC, Senator Warren has been fighting for increased transparency of information provided by the Pentagon. On February 1, 2022, Senator Warren sent letters to the DoD and Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin, III raising concerns about the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation’s (DOT&E) moving information that had been previously released to the public in its annual report on the performance of U.S. weapons to a CUI version. Senator Warren expressed concern that the lack of public transparency about weapons systems would not serve to protect national security information, but would avoid public scrutiny necessary to address major deficiencies that could endanger service members’ lives. Senator Warren urged DoD to reverse the decision to restrict key information from the public.