when writing on a personal matter affecting
the command. Examples include requests for
retirement or resignations. Send the letter via
your commanding officer. The commanding
officer prepares an endorsement on letterhead
paper and forwards the correspondence to the
next via addressee, if any, or to the higher
b. Marine Corps Personnel. Use NAVMC
10274, Administrative Action (AA) Form, as
prescribed in MCO 5210.2.
4. Sex-Neutral Language Required. Avoid
stereotyping men and women on the basis of
gender. Whenever possible, use pronouns and
titles that include either sex. Write directives
as if you were talking to one typical reader or
group of readers. Prefer plural pronouns they,
their, them. Rewrite to avoid unnecessary pro-
nouns. Substitute articles for singular possessive
pronouns. Instead of Each division head should
turn in his draft by Friday, say Each division
head should turn in a draft by Friday.
5. Handling Congressional Inquiries
a. Send a final reply or an interim
one within 5 workdays from the time a con-
gressional inquiry reaches the action officers
desk. Interim replies take several forms:
(1) If the interim reply gives an esti-
mated date for the final reply, only unusual
developments require further interim replies.
(2) If the interim reply does not give
an estimated date for the final reply, send
more interim replies every 10 workdays until a
date for the final reply can be set. Send an
interim reply in less than 10 workdays when
significant information develops.
(3) If you cannot meet a date for the
final reply, send an interim reply that explains
the added delay and sets a new date for the
b. Send a blind copy of your final
reply and substantive interim replies to the
Office of Legislative Affairs, Washington, DC
20350. Also send blind copies to other
Washington headquarters as good judgment
c. Always send a courtesy copy when
responding to a congressional inquiry. A courtesy
copy is an extra copy that accompanies the
1. Use Mail Controls Effectively. Assign
mail controls only to mail that needs a response
or has long-term reference value. Route incoming
action correspondence directly from the mail
room to the action office. If necessary, send
duplicate copies to intermediate offices.
2. Dont Write Unless You Must. Preparing
correspondence is time-consuming and expensive.
A conversation in person or by phone often
saves two letters and is more effective for
working out details that require give and take.
You can always confirm a conversation by a
memo to the other person or a memo for your
records. Include return phone numbers when your
correspondence might prompt a reply or inquiry.
Dont send cover letters with forms, reports,
and publications that are self-explanatory.
3. Use More Window Envelopes. Window
envelopes eliminate the cost of addressing
envelopes and the risk of putting letters in the
wrong envelopes. They are encouraged for
4. Use More Form and Guide Letters. Review
outgoing correspondence periodically for recur-
ring topics that lend themselves to form and guide
5. Coordinate Efficiently
a. Obtain agreement among offices that
have a substantial interest in a proposed action.
b. Coordinate by phone or in person
rather than by writing. Coordinate revisions of
documents during the drafting stage.
c. If many offices must coordinate and
time is short, fan out copies to all coordinators
simultaneously. Then summarize their responses
on a briefing sheet that accompanies the letter
when it goes for signature.
d. The originator is responsible for decid-
ing who should coordinate, for working to
resolve major differences, for any retyping
that may be needed, and for providing copies of
the signed correspondence to coordinators who
6. Submit Correspondence for Signature in
Final Form. Use double-spaced drafts only when
changes are likely, perhaps because a subject is
controversial or a policy statement needs precise
7. Make Minor Changes in Ink. Rarely
retype correspondence already in final form
merely to correct typographical errors, word
omissions, or other minor mistakes. Make these