Executive Order 10501: Safeguarding Official Information in the Interests of the Defense of the United States

The Executive Order (EO) 10501 was signed on November 5, 1953 by President Eisenhower and was nicknamed the bible of security stamping (Schlesinger, 1972). I believe this EO was in response to the disclosure of sensitive material and information, where the author of the archived article referenced how both the Republican and Democrats were guilty of releasing information to the press which shouldn’t have been, where you cannot run a government if every secret is being published while being unable to run a press due to criminalizing the press for publishing government stamped documents (Schlesinger, 1972).

The EO itself outlines the classification categories in which we are familiar with today. They are as follows:

  1. Top Secret, requires the highest degree of protection,
  2. Secret which if disclosed could result in damage to the nation,
  3. Confidential which could be prejudicial to the defense of interest of the nation

It also goes on to describe the limitations of authority in which people are allowed to classify such information, where it should be limited in departments and agencies of the Executive branch. It describes how changes should be made in regard to declassifying, downgrading and upgrading highly sensitive documents. I believe that this EO aimed to establish confidentiality in protecting our homeland through classifying our documents appropriately, where the free press was most likely running rapid with propaganda and the distribution of information. Its impact is still with us. I remember as a military wife and even as a cybersecurity student- we still follow these classifications to secure and maintain national defense. Confidential information must remain safeguarded and only accessed by those who have authority in order to protect our information from being edited or misused. It is our intellectual property and remains pertinent to keep in the eyes and hands of only those authorized to access in order to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of all data.


Eisenhower, D. D. (Nov 5, 1953). Executive order 10501. The White House. Retrieved from

Schlesinger, R. Jr. (Feb. 6, 2972). The secrecy dilemma. The New York Times Archives. Retrieved from

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