should not feel the criticism is an attack on you
personally. If you do, your capacity to learn from
experience and to improve will be diminished.
SMOOTH VERSION. Someone must check
the smooth, or final, version of the corre-
spondence before it is presented for signature.
This task normally falls to the supervisor of the
originating office. The supervisor should check
the smooth correspondence for the following:
Use of correct standard subject identifi-
cation code (SSIC), if used
Inclusion of all required informa-
tion or the exact transcription of the
Use of correct titles of all addressees
(action, via, and information)
Observance of proper chain of command
Proper labeling and attachment of en-
closures, if any
Inclusion of proper number of enclosures
Use of approved format
If the supervisor finds typographical or
spelling errors, correct them in the manner
approved by your command. If your command
permits, you may make up to two ink corrections
if they are neatly made.
SECURITY CLASSIFICATION. Proper
security classification of correspondence is a
serious problem in the Navy, largely because
people overclassify it. When you write cor-
respondence, be sure you show the classifica-
tion on the rough draft and handle the draft as
required by that classification.
No simple rules for security exist. You must
follow various policy directives, and, when in
doubt, apply common sense. Overclassified
correspondence results in too few people being
informed too slowly.
Assign each piece of correspondence the
lowest classification possible consistent with the
proper protection of the information contained
in it. You do not have to classify correspondence
according to the classification of its references
unless the correspondence is actually classified.
Classify correspondence and documents according
to their content, not according to their rela-
tionship to other documents. That procedure is
particularly important when documents are part
of a series. Various paragraphs or sections of a
single document may contain different classifi-
cations. The document must bear the highest
overall classification of its contents. The assigned
security manager will assist you in determining the
correct security classification for outgoing
Department of the Navy Information and
Personnel Security Program Regulation,
OPNAVINST 5510.1H, contains regulations and
guidance for classifying and safeguarding
Types of Correspondence
Official correspondence in its true sense covers
all recorded communications, including messages.
Since the preceding section covered naval mes-
sages, we have confined our discussion of types
of correspondence in this section to letters and
endorsements, memoranda, and NAVGRAMS.
STANDARD NAVAL LETTER. Although
you always double space rough text to allow space
for reviewing officers to make corrections or
insertions, always single space the smooth final
copy. Figure 2-15 illustrates a one-page standard
naval letter in finished form.
Before you begin the letter, you should
determine the addressee(s) to enter in the To Block
and the addressee(s), if any, to enter in the Via
Block. Then follow the procedures shown in the
Department of the Navy Correspondence Manual,
SECNAVINST 5216.5C to prepare the letter.
ENDORSEMENT. An endorsement is a
brief form of a naval letter on which an official
recommends action or makes comments, forwards
a letter, redirects a misaddressed letter, or
endorses a letter back to the originator for further
information. You will frequently use endorse-
ments to transmit correspondence through the
chain of command. An endorsement becomes part
of the basic letter; therefore, it is not routinely
used to reply to a letter.
Place an endorsement on the signature
page of the basic letter if space and length
of endorsement permit (see fig. 2-16). The