Timely and accurate information will be made available so that the public, Congress, and the news media may assess and understand the facts about national security, defense strategy, and on-going joint and unilateral operations.
Requests for information from organizations and private citizens will be answered in a timely manner. In carrying out this policy, the following principles of information apply:
• Information will be made fully available, consistent with statutory requirements, unless its release is precluded by current and valid security classification. The provisions of the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act will be complied with in both letter and spirit.
• A free flow of general and military information will be made available, without censorship or propaganda, to the men and women of the Armed Forces and their family members.
• Information will not be classified or otherwise withheld to protect the government from criticism or embarrassment.
• Information will be withheld only when disclosure would adversely affect national and operations security or threaten the safety or privacy of the men and women of the Armed Forces.
• The Department's obligation to provide the public with information on its major programs and operations may require detailed public affairs planning and coordination within the Department and with other government agencies. The sole purpose of such activity is to expedite the flow of information to the public; propaganda or publicity designed to sway or direct public opinion will not be included in Department of Defense public affairs programs.