80 years of nuclear secrets

Classification of information has been essential since the Manhattan Project.

July 19, 2023

80 Years Nss Feature Image
Diana Hollis (center) and members of the Laboratory's Classification Office. Los Alamos National Laboratory

During the Manhattan Project, J. Robert Oppenheimer wrote and distributed a memo (pictured) that stressed the importance of guarding classified information. “The success of the Manhattan Project is owed to the fact that there was a true classification culture,” explains Diana Hollis, head of the Classification Office at Los Alamos National Laboratory. “People were aware of their roles in protecting government secrets; it was in their DNA.” 

Today, expert classification analysts, whose cumulative technical expertise can address the full spectrum of classification matters across the Lab’s broad mission space, and a large contingent of derivative classifiers embedded across the Laboratory, all work together to protect government secrets in service of national security. 

Hollis explains that this work is more important than ever. “If it was true back then when the threat to national security was defined and singular and there was some friction in accessing information, it is even more true today when threats to national security are evolving and multidomain, and information is available at the touch of a keyboard.” ★

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