September 27, 2022


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Derivative Classification – Important Concepts and Rules to Follow

Derivative Classification

Information holds great importance. This is because it is a general claim. You can apply it to any field, and any scenario. A student needs to hold information in order to pass the exams. In the same manner, governments hold the key information about several things. This is called classification. You might have heard the word “classified information.” Spy networks of countries mostly use this term. The classification can be of two types namely original classification, and derivative classification.

Today’s article by Affordable Dissertation UK is all about derivative classification and its importance. Later on, it will discuss the key concepts and rules of derivative classification as well. Before moving on further, let’s discuss what derivative classification is.

What is Derivative Classification?

Derivative classification is the secondary classification, or editing of the original classification. It is the process of using existing classified information to make new documents. It also includes marking newly developed documents that apply to the source information.

Points to Remember

  • One must remember that copying, or duplicating is not derivative classification. Many people think that photocopying classified information becomes derivative classification. In reality, it is restating, or paraphrasing the existing classification.
  • Also, the government appoints special people and authorities to create classified information. Theere is no special requirement of people for derivative classification. All the department of defence authorised personnel can be derivative classifiers.
  • The effects of derivative classification are also far-reaching, like original classification. Classifying information derivatively helps protect the national security of a country.
  • We provide access to this information only to authorised people. No ordinary people can read, and understand this information. The individuals with proper eligibility and a legitimate need to know the information can access this information.  

Important Concepts

There are some concepts that one needs to remember while derivating the information. The level of information is also very important within this context. Some information is more important than others and marking of it extremely important. Learning the key concepts first is necessary to do the correct marking of information. A brief description of the three concepts is as follows;

Contained In

The first concept is the “contained in” concept. It includes incorporating information from an authorised source. The data from an authorised source is then classified into a new document. The derivative classifiers don’t need any additional interpretation and analysis for classifying the information. For derivative documents, the drills are mandatory. These drills are conducted on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the US department of defence.

When the classified information in a document is contained in the authorised source, new classification of derivated document is derived directly from the source. The “contained in” concept can only be applied when information is extracted word for word. This concept also applies when the information is paraphrased, or restated from the existing document.


Source information: The length of CIA’s operation in Iran was two hours.

Derivative classification: The length of CIA’s operation in Iran was two hours.

In the example above, you can see that the information is extracted word for word. It is the “contained in” concept of derivative classification.

Revealed By

The concept “revealed by” is the second concept of derivative classification. In this concept, the derivative classifier incorporates information from an authorised source. But the difference here is that the new document looks not like a source document. The reader requires some level of additional interpretation and analysis for deducing the information. Unlike “contained in”, not every person can read the information contained within this document. Because the drills for derivative classifiers of this document are mandatory. We conduct these drills on business days except Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

The information, in this case, is “revealed by” the analysis of its contents. It is not word for word translation, or paraphrasing of the source’s classified information. For example;

Source information: The length of CIA’s operation in Iran was 2 hours.

Derivative classification: In first hour of the operation, the top officials of CIA held a planning meeting. They focused on how to execute the plan of finding the hidden nuclear powerplant of Iran. In the second hour, the operation took place on the ground. The teams landed, and searched the land upside down. This is how CIA’s operation in Iran went on.

From the example above, have you observed how to derivate the information? One must interpret, and analyse the information thoroughly for deducing the required information. Here source information is just one sentence long. Whereas derivative classification is up to several sentences long.

Classification by Compilation

The 3rd concept regarding derivative classification is the one that we manage through compilation. The compilation means combining two, or more pieces of information to make one. The language of derivative classification combines two or more unclassified pieces of information to make one classified information. To be a good compiler, drills are mandatory. This is because drills will last for two hours and enhance skills of the classifier.

We use a Security Classification Guide (SCG) chart through big data for classifying this information. The chat tells us whether the information is classified, or not. It measures this based on investigation of the reports.

Rules of Derivative Classification

Besides the concepts, there are some rules that one needs to follow as well. We have listed these rules below;


Training is a necessary part of the derivative classification. Every person who is a derivative classifier has to receive training once every two years. The training shall consist of the following elements;

  • Identification, and markings.
  • Classification prohibitions, and limitations.
  • Sanctions.
  • Classification of challenges.


In conclusion, every person cannot perform derivative classification. This is because it’s a matter of national defence, and security. For this, the governments have to appoint the most responsible, and top-secret personnel. Protecting classified information disclosure is also a core responsibility of every individual working on it. Proper training is another mandatory factor to ensure the security of information. The derivative classifiers are responsible for information pertaining to this domain. Therefore, they have to show the utmost care, and a sense of responsibility.

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