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OUO Review Requirement

Who can decide whether a document contains OUO information?

In certain cases, the Office of Classification or your program office has already made the OUO decision for you. These decisions are found in classification guides, Unclassified Controlled Nuclear Information (UCNI) guidelines, or in program-issued OUO guidance. If a topic in such guidance indicates that information in your document is OUO, then the document contains OUO information.

Some OUO documents might also contain classified information or UCNI. If a document is in a classified subject area, a Derivative Classifier may need to review the document first to ensure that the document is not classified. Similarly, an UCNI Reviewing Official may also need to review the document.

If a document is not in a classified or UCNI subject area or no guidance exists, you may have to make a determination that is not based on guidance as to whether a document contains OUO. DOE M 471.3-1, Admin Chg 1, Chapter I, Paragraph 2 contains information as to who may make that determination.

No specific designation or training is required in order to make a determination, although training is strongly recommended. A briefing on making OUO determinations is available under the Resources section of this webpage. If you would like additional information, contact the DOE Office of Classification's Outreach Program at (301) 903-7567 or

How do I decide whether a document contains OUO information?

  1. If the information in a document falls under the scope of an OUO topic in classification guide, UCNI guideline, or in program-issued OUO guidance, the document is OUO.
  2. For information not falling under the scope of such guidance, you must consider whether the information:
    1. could damage Governmental, commercial, or private interests if disseminated to persons who do not need the information to perform their jobs or other DOE-authorized activities and
    2. reasonably falls under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) exemption.
  3. Information cannot be controlled as OUO unless (a) OUO guidance applies or (b) both of the criteria in paragraph 2 are met.

For more information about OUO and the FOIA exemptions, see the section on making OUO determinations