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This Executive Order prescribes a uniform system for classifying, safeguarding, and declassifying national security information, including information relating to defense against transnational terrorism. It requires agency heads to
- promulgate procedures to ensure that the policies established by the order are properly implemented,
- ensure that classified material is properly safeguarded, and
- establish and maintain a security self-inspection program of their classified activities.
The order also gives the Director, Information Security Oversight Office (an organization under the National Archives and Records Administration), the authority to conduct on-site security inspections of the Executive Office of the President's and other executive branch agencies' classified programs.
This Order also established the concept of automatic declassification, in which all classified records shall be automatically declassified on December 31 of the year that is 25 years from the date of their original creation, unless properly exempted from declassification.