NSA/CSS Approved Paper Shredders

8 December 2020 Shares

Home Paper Shredders NSA/CSS Approved Paper Shredders

By Recycling.com/ 8 December 2020 Shares

NSA/CSS Approved Paper Shredders

High security shredders evaluated under NSA/CSS specifications

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American government agencies need to adhere to minimum requirements determined by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Defense (DOD) regarding paper shredders.

High-security paper shredders under NSA/CSS need to reduce paper documents to particles measuring 1/32 by 7/32 inch, or less, which corresponds to security level 6 or DIN P-7.

What are the criteria for an NSA/CSS shredder?

Paper shredders bought by an American Government agency have higher regulatory standards. These rules were introduced to ensure that governments use handled data confidentially. Rules are determined by the Department Of Defence (DOD) and the National Security Agency (NSA).

  • DOD guidelines for government paper shredders are applicable for the military, which use the highest security level available. Confidential destruction of the paper data is the primary goal of the DOD.
  • NSA guidelines for government shredders apply to all government agencies. The NSA compiles an Evaluated product list of shredders who meet specific data protection criteria.

More info? Read our Paper Shredder Buying Guide.

When is a shredder NSA or DOD approved?


The National Security Agency has divided government data into various security levels, ranging from 1 to security level 6, depending on the snippet size.

Many government agencies fall into security level 3 and deal with Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). Government institutions that work with Classified Information (CI) fall into the highest security level 6. A DOD compliant paper shredder is always security level 6.

  • Security Level 3, Minimal DIN P-4
  • Security Level 6, Minimal DIN P-7 (smallest shred size possible)

These security levels correspond to minimal DIN levels for the government paper shredder, and documents used in a DOD agency have to be shredded by a paper shredder of DIN level 7. An agency can always buy a paper shredder with a higher security level. Read more about security levels in our paper shredder guide.

Strip-Cut, Cross-Cut and Micro-Cut

national security agency nsa united states of americaIn addition to these rules for the safe destruction of government data, government agencies in the United States of America (USA) need to buy paper shredders under the Trade Agreement Act (TAA).

This includes paper shredders bought from suppliers. Here is where the General Service Administration (GSA) Schedule comes into play.

  • The TAA is an international agreement to make global trade more “fair”. Government agencies cannot buy paper shredders from countries that are not included in the TAA.
  • GSA Schedule suppliers are certified to sell to government agencies.

What does TAA stand for?

The TAA stands for Trade Agreements Act. The central government created this act to ensure a fair international trade playing field between countries. This includes paper shredders for the government market.

The act requires suppliers and manufacturers to make sure that government paper shredders are ‘substantially’ made within a country under the TAA, read more.


Which countries are not part of the TAA?

Below is a list of countries that are not under the TAA, we did this because most countries in the world are under the TAA. Note that the list mainly consists out of big Asian manufacturing countries.

  • China
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Malaysia
  • Pakistan
  • Russia
  • Sri Lanka

Because the list could have changed over time we recommend to check the most recent list of countries that are not TAA Compliant.

Shredder guide

What to look for when buying a secure paper shredder? Read our Paper Shredder Guide.