you will have to determine the type of correspondence to
be drafted. To meet that requirement, you must
understand the basic policies and procedures for
preparing various types of correspondence.
A rough draft of official outgoing correspondence
is prepared. Then higher authority within the
department chop or edit the rough draft before it is
sent to the executive officer or the administrative
assistant for approval.
When preparing correspondence, bear in mind that
the usual purpose of Navy correspondence is to
provide the reader with concisely stated information. If
you turn out a confused, rambling, lengthy
masterpiece, you only create an editing chore for the
chop chain or you may wind up doing the whole thing
over. Some of the usual causes of confusion and
rambling in a letter are as follows:
Failure to follow a basic pattern of presenting the
purpose, circumstances, and action required or
Failure to keep to a single idea in a sentence, one
central thought in a paragraph, or a single subject
in a letter.
Failure to consider the reader (Can your wording
You should follow certain rules to ensure good
organization and continuity in your writing. First,
understand what the letter is to accomplish. Then
arrange the information in a logical order. Complete
each unit of information before moving on to the next.
Then maintain continuity by providing transition from
one unit of information to another.
In the first paragraph, state the purpose of the letter.
In the following paragraphs, explain the circumstances
and the actions to be taken (give orders, make requests,
give consent, or refuse permission). Be sure you follow
a logical order; for example, first explain the problem
(or circumstance); then give each step the reader should
take to resolve the problem. Maintain continuity by
showing the connection between one point of
information and the next. For example, you might tell
the reader certain information involves several methods
and then immediately name those methods.
When the letter is in answer to or closely related to
another letter, the first sentence should refer to that
letter. For example: Reference (a) requested
information about the allowance lists for the next 3
fiscal years. or Reference (b) pointed out that such
information is available only for 2 years in advance.
No rule exists about the number of paragraphs one
unit of information should contain. In letters of average
length, each significant unit of information may be one
paragraph. However, some units of information may
require more than one paragraph to explain. Other
explanations may be so simple that a single paragraph
makes up the entire body of the correspondence. No
matter how many paragraphs you write, be sure to
follow the rules for good organization and continuity.
TYPES OF CORRESPONDENCE.Official
correspondence in its true sense covers all recorded
communications, including messages. The
Department of the Navy Correspondence Manual
covers naval messages, official letters and
endorsements, memoranda, and even electronic
correspondence. When composing and writing any
type of correspondence, you should consult the manual
to get the proper format and any special instructions
that may apply.
SIGNATURE AUTHORITY.The commanding
officer (CO), officer in charge (OIC), or person acting
in either position must personally sign the following
Those which establish policy
Those which center on changes to the commands
mission and are addressed to higher authority
Those which deal with certain aspects of military
justice (The acting CO or acting OIC may sign
these documents only if a staff legal officer finds
that the commanding officers signature is
Those required by law or regulation (e.g., ships
Only the original, which goes to the action
addressee, must be signed. All other copies must have
typed or stamped signature-block information below
the signature area. The name of the signer appears in all
capital letters on the fourth line below the text. Unless
the signer has a certain preference, the initial(s) and
last name are used. Do not include the signers
rank/rate or a complimentary close. Each line of the
signature block starts at the center of the page. When
you are typing a letter, add the signature block only
when you are sure who will sign the correspondence. If
you use a stamp, remember to mark all copies and
avoid smeared or crooked impressions.
DELEGATING SIGNATURE AUTHORITY.
The CO may delegate signature authority to military and
civilian subordinates and may authorize those