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NSA Classified Materiel Conversion (CMC)

The CMC is responsible for the secure collection, processing, destruction and conversion of classified materiel.

Who can Submit:

Note: The CMC service is only available to NSA elements, government agencies, U.S. military entities and qualified government contractors.* This is not a service for the public.

As of March 31, 2018, the Classified Materiel Conversion (CMC) facility will no longer accept the following device types intact in their manufactured form: Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), Portable Computing Devices/s (PCDs), and Mobile Communication Device/s (MCDs). Examples of a device would include, but are not limited to, a Blackberry, smartphone/s, and/or tablets. Moving forward, authorized CMC account holders who possess these items, now marked for disposition, would have to dissemble the device to extract the internal components and batteries prior to shipping them to the CMC facility. Review your site's procedures for disposing the remaining chassis/casing, wires, and hazardous waste (batteries). Updated versions of CMC documentation and the webpage content are in progress to adhere with this new preparation requirement. The target date to have new documentation available is on or prior to March 31, 2018. Select each hyperlink to retrieve updated documentation.

* Acceptance of classified materiel from contractor entities is contingent on having a current contract with U.S. Government Agencies or U.S. Military entities where Government Furnished Equipment (GFE) is provided. Subcontractors are not eligible. Additionally, once a Customer ID is issued the contractor needs to submit a Contractor Approval Form (CAF). This form is updated annually with the CMC records, and might be subjected to a resubmittal in the occurrence of a procedure update. After submitting the CAF, copies of the approved form must accompany each shipment. CAFs are verification that the materiel is Government Furnished Equipment (GFE).

NSA accomplishes the destruction by using standard industrial conversion or approved destruction processes through numerous recycling and reclamation procedures in strict accordance with environmental, safety, and security standards.

What is Accepted:

There are two categories of classified materiel destruction: paper and special burn.

  1. Paper Items: NSA destroys and declassifies by mixing paper products with water to convert into pulp for recycling. No incineration is involved in the declassification process.

    Paper items are referred to as water-soluble, it will break down and dissolve when mixed with water. Materiel items not meeting this criterion are defined as "Special Burn" items.
  2. Special Burn Items: Following are examples of materiel items defined as "Special Burn." Instructions on how to submit to CMC are below.
    1. Aluminum Products: Hard Drives Disks, Reels, etc.
    2. Blackberry Devices, other PDAs: Remove the batteries prior to sending
    3. Cell Phones including Smart Phones: Remove the batteries prior to sending. Some disassembly might require the use of pentalobe.
    4. Circuit Boards: remove frames, plus all batteries: button and lithium. This category includes: Printed Circuit Boards (PCB), integrated circuit boards, memory (SD cards or Solid State), chips, RAM, and Fortezza cards. Any Key Storage Device (KSD 21, 64, etc.) will need to be disassembled. CMC can only accept the components i.e. integrated circuit cards or chips.
    5. CD ROM's: CD Storage cases are not accepted unless they contain classification stickers and markings that are ingrained in the case.
    6. Computer and COMSEC Chips: To avoid mixture or loss place computer chips in a bag, mark them, and seal in the same or separate box for shipment
    7. Disk Packs: Before sending to CMC, please disassemble per the manufacturer guidelines: unscrew the plastic enclosure and remove all platters.
    8. Hard Drives: To be accepted by NSA, they must be in the original form similar to owner received from the manufacturer. Moreover, remove all mounting bracketing, framing, protruding screws, backing plates, and circuit boards (required as of 2016). Scrape or mark off all classification markings. For more information, read the Illustrations of Properly Prepared Hard Drives.
    9. Common Access Cards
    10. Miscellaneous Items: Are considered special burn. Please provide a general description on the CMC receipt to categorize the proper sanitization. Other items accepted include floppy disks, film products, tapes (minus the aluminum casing and backing plates), data tapes, microfiche, Mylar tape, viewgraphs, magnetic cards, memory chips, RAM, and Fortezza cards. Any Key Storage Device (KSD 21, 64, etc.) will need to be disassembled. CMC can only accept the integrated circuit cards or chips.

For additional information about what is accepted, reference the listings of Accepted and Unaccepted Materiel Items from the CMC Required Procedures document.

If the item are not listed on the accepted materiel list. Please have your Customer ID Number (CIN) available to contact the customer service office for an approval prior to sending shipments.

How to Submit:

Materiel can be shipped to NSA or personally hand delivered (address is listed in CMC Required Procedures document). Wrap all packages per the unit's security office procedures.

Submit a Visit Request to complete a hand delivery. Hand deliveries require two copies of a completed CMC receipt. Contractors will need to supply a current copy of an approved CAF accompany the item for destruction.

The address and suggested mode of transportation can be obtained the CMC Required Procedures.


Customers should complete the Receipt for Destruction of Classified Materiel, attach a self-addressed envelope and package items for shipment. Military does not need to supply a stamp on the return envelope. One Envelope per receipt and no additional paperwork is required.

Contractors: In addition, to the guidelines above companies operating under contract will need to supply a current copy of an approved CAF accompany the materiel you send or deliver. Please place a stamp on the return envelope.

Keep in mind that the CMC accepts only classified materiel for destruction. Unclassified materiel is not accepted unless they contain Personnel Identifiable Information (PII) or connected and only direct NSA information.

Customers should have the company's Customer ID to reference an active account. Direct any concerns or questions to the CMC Customer Service Office 301-688-6672 or via our online form.