Distribution Limitations and Distribution Statements

Distribution Limitations
Distribution Statements

Distribution Limitations

The information DTIC collects, stores and distributes carries security classifications up to the Secret level. The information should be marked by the controlling organization to show how it may be distributed. DTIC's registration process and access to DTIC data differs for users based on the distribution limitations set by the controlling organizations.

Much of the information in DTIC's databases can be released to the public. This information is referred to as UNCLASSIFIED, UNLIMITED (U2) PUBLIC RELEASE.

The databases also contain information that, although not classified, is sensitive. Such documents are considered UNCLASSIFIED, but their distribution is controlled, i.e., LIMITED. This information is referred to as UNCLASSIFIED, LIMITED (UL).

Many of the limits on distribution have to do with whether or not the user is:

  • an authorized employee of the Department of Defense;
  • an authorized employee of another U.S. Government agency;
  • an authorized contractor for either the Department of Defense or another U.S. Government organization.
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Distribution Statements

Beyond the provisions of security classifications, all documents must carry distribution statements that describe conditions for their distribution, release, or disclosure.

DoD Instruction (DoDI) 5230.24, Distribution Statements on Technical Documents, states that all documents sent to DTIC must be assigned a distribution statement by the contributor. It was revised effective 28 April 2016 and modifies the procedures for the use of Distribution Statement F:

Distribution Statement F may be applied under rare and exceptional circumstances when specific authority exists or when need-to-know must be verified.

    (1) To promote the free flow of information within DoD, Distribution Statement F will not be used on classified or unclassified scientific and technical documents governed by the DoD Scientific and Technical Information Program described in Reference (e).

    (2) Other technical documents (e.g., technical manuals and orders or weapons and munitions documents) may be assigned Distribution Statement F under the condition that the documents will be reviewed on a 5-year cycle to consider a wider secondary distribution audience.

    (3) The controlling DoD office must respond within 30 days to a request for release of documents marked with Distribution Statement F. If there is no response, or if the controlling DoD office agrees, the document may be released to any DoD Component as Distribution Statement E.

In addition, paragraph 1.b. of Enclosure 4 authorizes the use of optional text that may be added to a distribution statement at the discretion of the controlling DoD office for purposes of clarification. DoD Components may now use the word 'Secondary' as a prefix to any distribution statement, and/or an optional annotation that reads:

    "The [Controlling DoD Office] authorizes secondary distribution, release, and dissemination to the extent permitted by this distribution statement without additional approvals or authorizations."

Note that these distribution statements and notices are authorized for use on DoD technical documents. Additional information for each distribution statement can be found by clicking the statement title below:

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a. This statement may be used only on unclassified technical documents that have been cleared for public release by competent authority in accordance with DoD Directive 5230.9. Technical documents resulting from contracted fundamental research efforts will normally be assigned Distribution Statement A, except for those rare and exceptional circumstances where there is a high likelihood of disclosing performance characteristics of military systems, or of manufaturing technologies that are unique and critical to Defense, and agreement on this situation has been recorded in the contract or grant.

b. Technical documents with this statement may be made available or sold to the public and foreign nationals, companies, and governments, including adversary governments, and may be exported.

c. This statement may not be used on technical documents that formerly were classified unless such documents are cleared for public release in accordance with DoD Directive 5230.9.

d. This statement shall not be used on classified technical documents or documents containing export-controlled technical data as provided in DoD Directive 5230.25.

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a. This statement may be used on unclassified and classified technical documents.

b. Reasons for assigning distribution statement B include:

  • Foreign Government Information - To protect and limit distribution in accordance with the desires of the foreign government that furnished the technical information. Information of this type normally is classified at the CONFIDENTIAL level or higher in accordance with DoD 5200.1-R.
  • Proprietary Information - To protect information not owned by the U.S. Government and protected by a contractors "limited rights" statement, or received with the understanding that it not be routinely transmitted outside the U.S. Government.
  • Critical Technology - To protect information and technical data that advance current technology or describe new technology in an area of significant or potentially significant military application or that relate to a specific military deficiency of a potential adversary. Information of this type may be classified or unclassified; when unclassified, it is export-controlled and subject to the provisions of DoD Directive 5230.25.
  • Test and Evaluation - To protect results of test and evaluation of commercial products or military hardware when such disclosure may cause unfair advantage or disadvantage to the manufacturer of the product.
  • Export Controlled - To protect information subject to the provisions of DoD Directive 5230.25, Withholding of Unclassified Technical Data from Public Disclosure. [PDF]
  • Contractor Performance Evaluation - To protect information in management reviews, records of contract performance evaluation, or other advisory documents evaluating programs of contractors.
  • Premature Dissemination - To protect patentable information on systems or processes in the developmental or conceptual stage from premature dissemination.
  • Administrative or Operational Use - To protect technical or operational data or information from automatic dissemination under the International Exchange Program or by other means. This protection covers publications required solely for official use or strictly for administrative or operational purposes. This statement may be applied to manuals, pamphlets, technical orders, technical reports, and other publications containing valuable technical or operational data.
  • Software Documentation - Releasable only in accordance with software license.
  • Specific Authority - To protect information not specifically included in the above reasons and discussions, but which requires protection in accordance with valid documented authority such as Executive Orders, classification guidelines, DoD or DoD Component regulatory documents. When filling in the reason, cite "Specific Authority (identification of valid documented authority)."
  • Operations Security - To protect information and technical data that may be observed by adversary intelligence systems and determining what indicators hostile intelligence systems may obtain that could be interpreted or pieced together to derive critical information in time to be useful to adversaries.
  • Vulnerability Information - To protect information and technical data that provides insight into vulnerabilities of U.S. critical infrastructure, including DoD warfighting infrastructure, vital to National Security that are otherwise not publicly available.
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a. Distribution statement C may be used on unclassified and classified technical documents

b. Reasons for assigning distribution statement C include:

  • Foreign Government Information - Same as distribution statement B.
  • Critical Technology - Same as distribution statement B.
  • Software Documentation - Same as distribution statement B.
  • Administrative or Operational Use - Same as distribution statement B.
  • Specific Authority - Same as distribution statement B.
  • Vulnerability Information - Same as distribution statement B.
  • Export Controlled - Same as distribution statement B.
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a. Distribution statement D may be used on unclassified and classified technical documents.

b. Reasons for assigning distribution statement D include:

  • Foreign Government Information - Same as distribution statement B.
  • Administrative or Operational Use - Same as distribution statement B.
  • Software Documentation - Same as distribution statement B.
  • Critical Technology - Same as distribution statement B.
  • Specific Authority - Same as distribution statement B.
  • Vulnerability Information - Same as distribution statement B.
  • Export Controlled - Same as distribution statement B.
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a. Distribution statement E may be used on unclassified and classified technical documents.

b. Reasons for assigning distribution statement E include: Direct Military Support - The document contains export-controlled technical data of such military significance that release for purposes other than direct support of DoD approved activities may jeopardize an important technological or operational military advantage of the United States. Designation of such data is made by competent authority in accordance with DoD Directive 5230.25.

  • Foreign Government Information - Same as distribution statement B.
  • Proprietary Information - Same as distribution statement B.
  • Premature Dissemination - Same as distribution statement B.
  • Test and Evaluation - Same as distribution statement B.
  • Software Documentation - Same as distribution statement B.
  • Contractor Performance Evaluation - Same as distribution statement B.
  • Critical Technology - Same as distribution statement B.
  • Administrative/Operational Use - Same as distribution statement B.
  • Specific Authority - Same as distribution statement B.
  • Operations Security - Same as distribution statement B.
  • Vulnerability Information - Same as distribution statement B.
  • Export Controlled - Same as distribution statement B.

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Distribution Statement F may be applied under rare and exceptional circumstances when specific authority exists or when need-to-know must be verified.

To promote the free flow of information within DoD, Distribution Statement F will not be used on classified or unclassified scientific and technical documents governed by the DoD Scientific and Technical Information Program.

Other technical documents (e.g., technical manuals and orders or weapons and munitions documents) may be assigned Distribution Statement F under the condition that the documents will be reviewed on a 5-year cycle to consider a wider secondary distribution audience.

NOTE: The controlling DoD office must respond within 30 days to a request for release of documents marked with Distribution Statement F. If there is no response, or if the controlling DoD office agrees, the document may be released to any DoD Component as Distribution Statement E.

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All technical documents that are determined to contain export-controlled technical data shall be marked "WARNING - This document contains technical data whose export is restricted by the Arms Export Control Act (Title 22, U.S.C., Sec 2751, et seq.) or the Export Administration Act of 1979 (Title 50, U.S.C., App. 2401 et seq), as amended. Violations of these export laws are subject to severe criminal penalties. Disseminate in accordance with provisions of DoD Directive 5230.25." When it is technically not feasible to use the entire statement, an abbreviated marking may be used, and a copy of the full statement added to the "Notice To Accompany Release of Export Controlled Data" required by DoD Directive 5230.25.

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Unclassified/Limited Distribution documents shall be handled using the same standard as "For Official Use Only (FOUO)" material, and will be destroyed by any method that will prevent disclosure of contents or reconstruction of the document. When local circumstances or experience indicates that this destruction method is not sufficiently protective of unclassified limited information, local authorities may prescribe other methods but must give due consideration to the additional expense balanced against the degree of sensitivity.

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