The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) conducts cutting edge
scientific research. ORNL utilizes removable electronic media, such as computer hard drives,
compact disks, data tapes, etc., to store vast amounts of classified information. Incidents
involving breakdowns in controls over classified removable electronic media have been a
continuous challenge for the Department. The loss of even one piece of such media can have
serious national security implications.
In 2004, the Department had a complex-wide “stand-down” of all activities using classified
removable electronic media, and such media containing Secret/Restricted Data or higher classified
data was designated “Accountable Classified Removable Electronic Media” (ACREM). As part of
the stand-down, sites were required to conduct a 100 percent physical inventory of all ACREM;
enter it all into accountability; and conduct security procedure reviews and training. Further, the
Department implemented a series of controls, including conducting periodic inventories, utilizing
tamper proof devices on ACREM safes, and appointing trained custodians to be responsible for the
material. After performance testing and validation that the required accountability systems were in
place, ACREM operations at ORNL were approved for restart on August 10, 2004.