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TYPES OF CORRESPONDENCE

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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 taken    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 be misinterpreted?) 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 documents:    Those which establish policy    Those which center on changes to the command’s 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   officer’s   signature   is unnecessary.)    Those required by law or regulation (e.g., ship’s deck log) 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   signer’s 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 8-2



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