Intelligence & Security

Delegation of Disclosure Authority Letter

Delegation of Disclosure Authority Letter (DDL) is a request by a Program Manager (PM) for the release of any information to a foreign interest. It can request/recommend foreign involvement on a program, disclosure of the program to foreign interests, request for authority to conclude an international agreement, or a decision to authorize foreign sales. The Technology Assessment/Control Plan forms the basis of the DDL. An approved DDL describes Classification Levels, scope, authority, limitations, and jurisdiction of information.

Definition: A Delegation of Disclosure Authority Letter (DDL) is used to delegate disclosure authority to subordinate disclosure authorities. It is a document issued by the appropriate designated disclosure authority (DDA) explaining classification levels, categories, scope, information authorized and not authorized, under a DoD Component’s disclosure jurisdiction, that may be disclosed to a foreign government or international organization as well as procedures and redelegation, if applicable.

Delegation of Disclosure Authority Letter (DDL) is required for:

  • International Agreements
  • Foreign Liaison Officers
  • Military Personnel Exchange Programs
  • Weapons Systems
  • Organizational (Commands & Agencies)
  • Cooperative R&D

The DDL should provide detailed guidance on releasability of all elements of the system, including its technology, Critical Program Information (CPI), and associated information. The Security Classification Guide (SCG) will be consulted during the preparation of the DDL to establish its classification.

Delegation of Disclosure Authority Letter (DDL) Development

The PM develops the DDL in accordance with DoD Directive 5230.11 Enclosure 4 . The applicable designated disclosure authority should agree with its content. The DDL is provided to the Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Policy) (USD(P)) for approval at each milestone. Until the DDL has been approved by the originating activity’s designated disclosure authority, the MDA, and the Office of the USD(P), there should be no promise to release, nor should there be actual release of, sensitive information or technology.

Delegation of Disclosure Authority Letter (DDL) Format

The DoD Component should use the following DDL format: While all elements identified should be provided in the general order shown, information should be presented in the clearest and easiest-to-use manner. For example, the usefulness of the DDL for complex systems will be enhanced if items 5 and 6 are broken out by major subsystems and software and disclosures are discussed separately. [1]

  • TITLE:
  • DATE:
  • CLASSIFICATION: Identify highest classification of information to be disclosed.
  • DISCLOSURE METHODS: E.g., oral, visual, or documentary.
  • CATEGORIES PERMITTED: Specify National Disclosure Policy categories to be disclosed.
  • SCOPE: Specify who is authorized to release material or information, and to whom disclosure is authorized.
  • AUTHORIZED FOR RELEASE AND/OR DISCLOSURE: Describe materiel and/or information that can be released or disclosed.
  • NOT AUTHORIZED FOR RELEASE AND/OR DISCLOSURE: Describe materiel and/or information that cannot be released or disclosed. (In addition to providing specific descriptions of releasable and restricted materiel and information, items 5 and 6 will also specify any conditions or limitations to be imposed; e.g., timephasing of release, allowable forms for software, identification of items releasable only as finished, tested assemblies, etc.)
  • PROCEDURES: Specify review and release procedures, special security procedures, or protective measures to be imposed.
  • REDELEGATION: Specify the extent of redelegation of authority (if any) permitted to subordinate activities.

Delegation of Disclosure Authority Letter (DDL) Basic Disclosure Criteria

  • Disclosure is consistent with U.S. foreign policy and National Security Objectives
  • Disclosure is contingent upon security assurances provided by the foreign government
  • Benefit to the U.S. is at least equivalent to the value of the information disclosed
  • Disclosure will be limited to information necessary to meet desired purpose


AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 9/18/2023

Rank: G1

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