United States Army  

HQDA Staff Officer's Guidebook

Headquarters, Department of the Army

| Preface | Contents | Foreword | I: Helpful Hints | II: Staff Procedures | III: Professional Services | IV: Personal Services |



Your servicing Civilian Personnel Advisory Center (CPAC) provides civilian personnel management advice and assistance. Headquarters, Department of the Army (ARSTAF and Army Secretariat) activities are supported by Personnel and Employment ServiceWashington (P&ESW) in the Pentagon.

The following services and assistance are provided:

  1. position management and classification;
  2. fill of vacant positions;
  3. employee performance evaluation;
  4. training and leader development;
  5. incentive awards;
  6. management/employee relations;
  7. employee benefits;
  8. injury compensation;
  9. leave administration;
  10. labor relations and
  11. career management.

For further information on these functions and additional civilian personnel topics, log in to the Army's Civilian Personnel on line web site through the Army Home Page.

In addition to the above, the Civilian Personnel Operations Center (OPOC) at Ft. Belvoir, VA, administers the legal, regulatory, and procedural contracts established within the Federal personnel system. Staff officers are encouraged to seek assistance on individual personnel actions and problems, as well as matters of broader scope from the OPOC.


The Congress has established three major classification systems intended to help provide equal pay for equal work in the Federal Government:


Generally, employees are on an 8-hour day, 40-hour week, 80-hour pay period for 26 pay periods per year. Work in excess of these hours for Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) employees may be compensated by paid overtime or by compensatory time off in accordance with OPM and Army Regulations.

Uncompensated overtime work cannot be required of workers at certain grades (normally GS 1-9 and most wage grade workers).Leave for civilian personnel is precisely prescribed for both annual leave and sick leave. For guidance on authorizing, controlling, and reporting the hours worked and leave of employees, check with your administrative office on ground rules or with your CPAC or financial management office.


Before you can fill a position or select an employee, the nature of the work to be performed must be determined, documented, and classified for pay purposes.

If you have responsibility for establishing or supervising an organization, you will want to contact your CPAC for aid in developing job descriptions, sources of assistance for TDA structure and organizational alignment.

Position classification specialists will work with you and are responsible for classifying and grading your civilian jobs.

Always check with the Resource Management Office, OSA, on organizational considerations. Also check with the servicing civilian personnel office on position structure before proceeding.


Official personnel files for civilian employees are maintained in their servicing CPOC. It is the responsibility of employees to insure that their files are updated.


Each civilian will receive an annual performance rating.

Rating dates are established by DA regulation for employees rated under the Senior System part of the Total Army Performance Evaluation System (TAPES).Rating due dates for TAPES Base System employees are locally established.

The supervisor for such recognition may recommend employees whose individual performance meets the criteria for cash awards, quality increases or other forms of recognition.

In those instances when employee performance is judged as fair or unsuccessful, contact the servicing Management Employee Relations Specialist for your agency prior to taking any action. There are a number of procedural steps that may be required in such cases.


Employees have the right to form, join, and assist any labor organization. A labor organization, which has been accorded exclusive recognition, is the representative of the employees in the unit it represents and is entitled to act for and negotiate collective bargaining agreements covering all employees in the unit.

For guidance and assistance on conducting business with labor organizations, contact the Employee Relations Specialist who services your organization.


The policy of the Department of the Army is to design and establish civilian position structures that provide the proper balance of skill levels necessary to support productive, economical work units to accomplish the assigned mission and function of the organization. The process used to accomplish this objective is position management.

Position management (PM) is a systematic series of actions taken by line management in reaching decisions regarding the identification and assignment of duties and responsibilities to a position or group of positions in support of a specific function or mission. The final results of this process are reflected in the position and grade structure shown on the TDA and in approved job descriptions covering the positions of the organization, together with their classification (titles, occupational series, and grade levels) as determined by Position Classification Specialists. The job descriptions, classification, and the number of positions established for each job constitute the position and grade structure.

PM is recognized throughout DOD as in internal function of line managers who are responsible for accomplishing the work and who have authority to approve the assignment of duties and responsibilities. PM is also an essential element in compensation management as it impacts on the budget process and in the development of manpower requirements.


There are many awards that civilian employees may receive ranging from a simple letter of commendation to the President's Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service. Certain awards are frequently associated with an annual Performance appraisal.

If you have occasion to recommend special recognition for an employee, you can get specific guidance by calling a Position Management Specialist in your servicing CPAC.


Each HQDA Agency will want to maintain a full complement of civilians all or most of the time and be sure that their talents are used effectively. To do this, you will need to anticipate vacancies as far in advance as possible; be aware of the skills, knowledge's, and abilities essential for successful performance in civilian positions; and consider the needs and desires of civilians when making work assignments.

Your administrative office can advise you on the paperwork needed to initiate civilian personnel actions such as promotions, reassignments, and resignations. The CPAC personnelist servicing your organization can give you technical guidance on completing such actions


The Army is committed to certain principles against which training, education and professional development programs are measured. These include training to mission oriented standards of competency-based requirements and maximizing the use of learning technology.

To assist managers and supervisors in discharging their personnel management responsibilities, to include training of civilians, the Personnel Management Information and Support System (PERMISS) was developed and implemented on the web at http://cpol.army.mil. PERMISS provides supervisors and managers (both military and civilian) the most recent and accurate guidance on civilian employment, such as staffing, classifying jobs, leadership common core mandatory training, annual training catalog, sources of training, etc. Although this system is geared for the management community, everyone is invited to use the system.


Many Army Staff actions ultimately impact on members of the Army family. At some point, Army members (soldier or civilian) need to be on commercial news sources, or even worse, by rumor. Because the Army must speak to its own, OCPA has a Command Information Division, which is tasked to keep Army internal audiences informed. You, the action officer, must keep OCPA informed if it is to do its job.

Professionally qualified public affairs officers will assist you in explaining Army decisions, policies, and programs to Army audiences. OCPA action officers try to stay aware of ongoing projects, but you must take the lead to ensure OCPA's assistance. Inform OCPA action officers early in the action. They will honor your agency's desire not to release information prematurely. But to serve you and the Army on a timely basis, they need planning time.


Working groups, task forces, study groups, panels, boards, and councils may be considered "committees" and, as such, require formal approval before being established. Directives in the 15 series (ARs and DA Memos) should prove useful in developing committee arrangements. Duration of the committee and membership determine the publication's media that will be used to announce establishment of the committee.


The Army communicates with six major congressional committees, as well as the personal staffs of 535 Members of Congress. A centralized procedure for the conduct of congressional activities within DA is required to assure timely and consistent responsiveness. To achieve the desired centralized control and support, the Chief of Legislative Liaison (CLL) is designated as DA proponent for overall congressional affairs policy, strategy, and Army positions.

The Assistant Secretary of the Army (CW) (ASA (CW)), the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Financial Management (ASA (FM&C)) through the Budget Liaison Office (SAFMBUL) in The Office of the Director of the Army Budget (ODAB), and The Judge Advocate General (TJAG) continue to enjoy those special relationships with Congress arising from specialized areas of interest and congressional desires. For example, the Budget Liaison Office provides direct coordination with the Congressional Appropriations Committees. These unique relationships, however, are not intended to contravene Army Staff centralization within OCLL for congressional activities. The accuracy and short turnaround time that characterizes most congressional activities demand precise definition and practice of Army internal coordination procedures and channels. In order to answer large numbers of congressional inquiries, OCLL relies upon the Army Staff for information. A routing slip is used to convey instructions for an appropriate response to the action agency. If you receive a "congressional" for action, remember these tips:

  1. The suspense date must be met. OCLL operates on a close time margin and establishes suspenses accordingly.
  2. Personal coordination with the OCLL and ODAB action officers is encouraged if questions or problems arise. Early coordination may prevent a lastminute crash.
  3. Handcarry your response to OCLL and ODAB at the same time whenever possible.
  4. Remember that civilians who are not accustomed to military jargon will read the response you prepare. Use a frank, direct approach expressed in a courteous tone in conveying the message. Civilianize terminology as much as possible. Be sure to address all issues raised in the inquiry, place technical terms in layman's language, and don't cite an AR alone as the basis for an action. If an AR must be mentioned, quote, paraphrase, enclose an extract copy, or explain the policy prescribed by the regulation.

Above all, provide all the facts. OCLL must have complete information in order to provide accurate and timely responses to Congress.


Almost every staff paper demands some form of coordination, whether internal to your agency or with other agencies.


Decentralization, characterized by delegation of authority and management by exception, typifies staff operations at HQDA.

Staff agency heads are delegated authority to take final action for the Secretary of the Army or Chief of Staff on appropriate subjects in their functional areas of responsibility. See COORDINATION.

AR 10-5 provides general information on functional responsibilities at HQDA. Basically, decentralization means giving managers maximum latitude, rather than requiring that all decisions be made at the highest levels. Application of this principle at HQDA goes beyond relationships between top decision-makers (e.g., SA, CSA, and agency heads) and extends to the lowest levels.

The purpose of decentralization is two-fold. First, it allows for efficient decision-making. Second, it ensures that staff members are given the greatest opportunity for professional growth through assignment of important responsibilities.


The action officer who researches and develops a staff paper is the person who customarily presents any related briefings. This includes briefings up to and including the Chief of Staff and Secretary of the Army.

As a related matter, action officers can expect to be called in for consultation. This may involve an impromptu briefing. Such meetings are sometimes referred to as "see me's."

There are several rules to remember on briefings. Whenever possible, rehearse the briefing in advance to fix time required and perfect delivery. If called by the decision-maker directly, report to him/her directly. Debrief your superiors after the meeting.

Prepare a memorandum for record immediately following a briefing while facts are fresh in your mind, covering any guidance or significant comments provided by the decision-maker.


The HQDA Operational/Administrative Duty Officer represents HQDA. This requirement is handled by the Army Operations Center (AOC).

Certain agencies have their own fulltime duty officers. All agencies are required to have an oncall duty officer during other than normal duty hours.


The Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) program is intended to assure that all agency heads, officials, and supervisors (military and civilian) select, develop, recognize, and utilize the capabilities of each employee without regard to race, color, religion, lawful political or other affiliation, marital status, sex, age, national origin, mental or physical handicap.

Individuals who believe that they have been subjected to discrimination in EEO matters may use, as a matter of right, the EEO complaint procedure.


The ECC is the single staff action control office for HQDA (with the exception of taskings generated by the Joint Chiefs of Staff through the DCSOPS JACO). The ECC functions as the focal point for the agencies they support within both the Secretariat and the ARSTAF. The ECC functions are to translate general guidance from Senior Army Leaders into definitive taskings; track taskings and suspenses of the Senior Army Leadership; coordinate appropriate calendar time of the Senior Leadership; review actions requiring signature of the Senior Leadership for correctness, accuracy, timeliness and coordination; and ensure that the Senior Army Leadership is kept informed of issues.


All documents originating from the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the other Services, outside agencies, The Congress, The White House and the general public requiring policy or program decisions, the signature of a principal Secretariat or ARSTAF official, or the formulation of an Army position for any entity worldwide, will be routed through the ECC. The ECC will establish the principal and support proponencies for all actions and, when appropriate, a suspense date for completion. All other appropriate HQDA contributions to the completion of any action will be determined and tasked by the ECC.


The ECC establishes all internal suspense requirements for HQDA.OSD and White House suspenses require special handling. The Army is given 15 workdays for OSD "Direct Reply" (DR) and "For Appropriate Action" (FAA). The OSD suspense for replies prepared for SECDEF or DEPSECDEF signature is 18 workdays. These actions must arrive in the ECC 14 workdays prior to the OSD suspense to allow OSA sufficient time to process. The Army is given 6 days to respond to White House inquiries.


Every HQDA staff action requires some form of coordination.


A Field Operating Agency (FOA) refers to those organizations that have the primary mission of executing policy. Such activities would be required even in the absence of the headquarters to which they report. They report to HQDA only because this is the most logical organizational relationship, e.g., PERSCOM, USMA or OPTEC.

A Staff Support Agency (SSA) exists primarily to assist HQDA. Such agencies assist in the formulation of policies and procedures or provide necessary administrative or logistical support. Such organizations would not exist in the absence of HQDA, e.g., US Army Command and Control Support Agency or US Army Test and Evaluation Management Agency.


It is important that you become familiar with the filing system in your office. The Modern Army Recordkeeping System (MARKS) provides for all papers to be filed according to the subject.

Each office should maintain a list of file numbers. If this list (usually only a few numbers and descriptions) accurately reflects the functions of the office, clerical personnel have no difficulty in placing papers in the proper file. However, you should assist in determining proper filing if the subject is complex.

File label captions suitable for your office's particular needs may be suffixed to a procedure and are recommended in order to make the files easier to use.

Never retain official file copies in your "reference" or "working paper" files. Also avoid, where possible, intermixing classified and unclassified papers by creating separate folders.

Do not store or e-mail sensitive material in or over unclassified computer networks. BE CAREFUL.

Your agency Records Manager can assist in making the distinction between records of continuing value and those of temporary value. Even files of temporary value may contain papers of historical significance to Army historians.

Once a year, usually in January, files that have served their purpose are destroyed. Those that have historical, legal or further administrative value are retained in current files or are retired to the Washington National Records Center (WNRC), GSA, 4205 Suitland Road, Suitland, Maryland 20746. Instructions for destruction or retirement are shown on file labels. Retired records are identified on Standard Form 135, maintained in your office, and may be recalled from WNRC if needed.


Although HQDA funding embraces a number of appropriations, most expenditures are covered by three basic appropriationsMilitary Personnel, Army (MPA); Operations and Maintenance, Army (OMA); and Other Procurement Army (OPA). Only OMA and OPA money is allocated to the Secretariat and/or the ARSTAF.

Financial management of HQDA is controlled by each "family" principal in the Secretariat and ARSTAF with resource management support provided by Resources Services - Washington (RS-W).RS-W is part of the Office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army and is financially referred to Army Operating Agency #22 (OA22).The OA22 OMA budget has historically been funded at approximately $2.5B.Support includes Army-wide Open Allotments (i.e., Army Claims, Foreign Currency Fluctuation Account [FCFA] and Disposition of Remains), Centrally Managed Accounts (i.e., Defense Finance and Accounting Service [DFAS], Second Destination Transportation [SDT], APO Mail and Unemployment Compensation) and Army High-Visibility Programs (i.e., Environmental, CPO Regionalization and JCS Exercises) in addition to sustainment operations (civilian pay, travel, contracts supplies and equipment) of HQDA activities as well as Joint and DOD activities for which the Army has administrative of executive agent responsibilities. The Open Allotments and Centrally Managed Accounts reflect almost half of the total OA22 budget and are funded and managed centrally at Army level to facilitate the uniqueness of mission requirements.

The "Family" Principal concept of management was implemented in OA22 in FY95 to promote flexibility in the budgetary process. The Resource Support Group (RSG) is co-chaired by the Deputy Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army and the Director of Management and the senior level Resource Board (RB) is chaired by the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army and the Director of the Army Staff. Additionally, the principals also participate in the Army level budget decision-making forums (i.e., council of colonels [CoC], Program Budget Committee [PBC] and the Army Resource Board [ARB]).These activities have potential impact on OA22 activities.

The RS-W homepage at www.hqda.army.mil/rsw/ provides additional information about the work and points of contact in OA22.


The handling of sensitive and classified information is part of a staff officer's daily routine. Sometimes there is a failure to distinguish properly among the various categories of information, which require protection. This has most often been true of information labeled FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY (FOUO).

Material may only be designated FOUO if it falls under one of exemptions two through nine of the Freedom of Information Act. Remember that FOUO material is unclassified information.

Current procedures encourage filing of FOUO material with unclassified papers. There is no longer a requirement that such information be kept under lock and key, or even in a locked room, as long as the material is kept in a building with controlled access (e.g., Pentagon).

There continues to be a requirement for more stringent safeguarding of certain categories of particularly sensitive FOUO information (e.g., Inspector General reports, and personnel tests).


The FORSCOM/TRADOC Liaison Office provides assistance to action officers in coordinating activities between the Army Staff and HQ FORSCOM/TRADOC activities and maintains a library of numbered FORSCOM and TRADOC publications. To provide a means for exchange of documents between the commands, a daily courier service operates between the Liaison Office and HQ TRADOC, and the Defense Post Office operates a daily command pouch between HQDA and HQ FORSCOM. Europe and Korea also have liaison offices. They are collocated with the aforementioned.


Some staff officers will deal with actions relating to International Standardization. These actions result from the United States being a signatory to International Agreement; E.g. NATO, SEATO, and CENTO.

In most cases, the action required is to provide Army comments or input. However, in other cases, selected staff officers are required to represent the United States at international meetings, either as the principal representative or as backup to the principal.

Because of the unique aspects of dealing in the International Standardization arena, you should become familiar with the basic procedures.


Most officers assigned to the Army Staff will deal with OJCS actions from time to time and in some cases frequently. Usually, it's a case of the Army being asked to comment on or provide input to a Joint Staff action.

HQDA Joint Actions Control Office (JACO) serves as the administrative focal point between the Joint Staff and the Department of the Army. The JACO provides direct administrative support to the Army CSA, OPSDEP (DCSOPS) and the DEPOPSDEP (ADCSOPS(JA)) in their capacity as members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

A Joint action is any interface between the Joint Staff and the Services. Joint actions take precedence over unilateral Army Staff actions. DA Memo 1-18, 1 June 1990, gives the OPSDEP (JACO) tasking authority across HQDA in order to accomplish Joint actions. JACO receives, documents, tasks, distributes and maintains record copies of Joint actions. The Army Planners (Colonels) are the lowest level that can approve a response to a Joint action.

The JACO also tasks the Army Secretariat and the ARSTAF to prepare material used to prebrief the CSA, the OPSDEP and the DEPOPSDEP prior to their attendance at JCS Tank meetings.

Your agency Joint Action Control Office POC should be able to answer any questions not covered by the Army Handbook for Joint Actions.


Some staff actions such as drafting a legislative proposal can be expected to have legislative implications. Because of the considerations associated with such actions, especially in the area of coordination, you should check out all procedural requirements before proceeding.

The Chief, Legislative Liaison, is responsible to the Secretary of the Army and is responsive to the Chief of Staff for the formulation, coordination, and supervision of policies and programs concerning the Army's relations with Congress. However, other agencies also have a prescribed role. The ASA (FM) Budget Liaison Office, for example, is responsible for liaison with the Appropriations Committees of the Congress.

In any action you are associated with, be alert to possible congressional interest.


Issues involved in actions assigned to the HQDA Staff are often the subjects of litigation brought by or against the Army and its officials in Federal courts. At any moment, more than 1300 such cases are pending challenging Army personnel, procurement, environmental, operational and other decisions and policies. The Judge Advocate General (TJAG) is responsible to defend the Army, its military and civilian officials and employees in civil litigation in Federal, state and foreign courts. Attorneys assigned to the Litigation Division, OTJAG, fulfill this responsibility in cooperation with attorneys of the Department of Justice. The Litigation Division is also responsible for handling subpoenas and requests for the appearance of Army witnesses and the release of Army documents in private litigation.

Even seemingly routine actions may seriously damage or embarrass Army interests in related litigation. When the subject matter of an action is in litigation, or there is reason to believe litigation is imminent, it is essential to coordinate the proposed action with the Army attorney in the Litigation Division responsible for the case. This is especially true in replying to inquiries from outside the Department of Defense, including members of Congress and the news media, or taking administrative actions which might serve to reverse or alter actions previously taken which have since become the subject of actual litigation. In the event you or your office are served with legal process (such as a summons, complaint, subpoena, etc.), the Litigation Division should be contacted immediately.

If unable to identify the Army counsel responsible for a particular case, contact the Litigation Division. In particular, do not comment on pending litigation without first obtaining the concurrence of the responsible Army litigation counsel. The Army Litigation Division's phone is (703) 696-1610.


Manpower Management can be viewed as a process. This process involves both manpower authorizations (or "spaces"), which represent human resources and workyears, which represent execution of budget dollars.

The process begins with the President's Budget and allocation of military (officer, warrant officer and enlisted) and civilian manpower authorizations to HQDA (OA22). Spaces are then suballocated to HQDA organizations. Next, tables of distribution and allowances (TDA) are developed or existing TDAs are adjusted.

HQDA departmental manpower authorization levels are fixed, in aggregate, by Public Law, Executive Orders, Secretary of Defense Directives and Secretary of the Army decisions.


Policies are contained in HQDA Memo 25-52.

The memorandum is the primary internal correspondence format for HQDA. There are two basic types of memorandum.

An official in OCSA or Army Secretariat uses action memorandums to submit recommendations and staff actions, which require decision/signature,.

An official of OCSA or Army Secretariat uses information memorandums to provide information not requiring a decision or signature.


Staff Communications Control Division (SOD), Pentagon Telecommunications Center (PTC), exercises command and control for the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff over messages originated by or addressed to HQDA, except those exempted by DA Memo 105-1.

Your agency's communications section will provide answers to specific questions regarding message preparation or message dispatch via the new Sarah Lite system. Problem areas encountered in the dispatch of messages or message processing should be referred to that section. The SCD Operations Officer can provide additional assistance.


These multipleaddress letters (normally sent to three or more addresses) bear the authority line BY ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY and are signed by the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. They are used to convey short-term guidance or informational material to major Army commands and/or HQDA agencies. Such letters are not used to change an official DA publication, issue long term policy, direct action of a continuing nature, forward information that requires dissemination by addressees to subordinate commands, or forward draft copies of official publications with instructions to use the draft, pending receipt of the printed publication.

A HQDA letter should be typed in final form on Department of the Army letterhead stationery. File reference, letter number, expiration date, and signature should be omitted. The letter should then be sent to the Plans and Projects Directorate (SAAAPP), Room 3E741, Pentagon, for final processing.


Correspondence procedures call for the use of office symbols in addressing correspondence and mail within HQDA. Additionally, all mail requires proper postage fees prior to posting.


The DA Official Mail Cost Control Program and sets forth policies and procedures for holding official mail costs to the minimum consistent with required delivery date, security, and accountability requirements. It also provides policy and guidance on official indicia mail, addresses the procurement and use of postage metering equipment, the selection of mail classes and special mail services, consolidated mailings, and permit mailings.


OPSEC is the protection of military operations and activities resulting from the identification and subsequent elimination or control of intelligence indicators which are susceptible to hostile exploitation. OPSEC coordinates physical security, information security, signal security, and deception/counter surveillance activities plus certain aspects of intelligence, counterintelligence, electronic warfare, and psychological operations. The Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans is responsible for the Army OPSEC program which is monitored through the DA OPSEC Steering Committee.

Unlike most security programs, OPSEC is concerned with both classified and unclassified information if such information can provide indicators to hostile intelligence revealing friendly sensitive operations or activities. In this context, while one piece of information may not be classified an aggregate often should be protected.

Particular attention should be given to this OPSEC consideration in the preparation of messages discussing operational and readiness matters. Often, the use of FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY and ENCRYPT FOR TRANSMISSION ONLY is appropriate.

OPSEC support can be obtained by contacting the Pentagon Resident Office.


Basic responsibilities of HQDA (OSA and the Army Staff) are approved by the Secretary of the Army and described in AR 105 and DA General Order 10.


The Planning, Programming, Budgeting and Execution System is the title for a series of processes and events that comprise DOD's resource management system. PPBES is a cyclic process where the resources to be spent are reviewed annually for several years in advance. In each of three phases, OSD issues guidance; the Services, defense agencies and the JCS request resources; and SECDEF issues a decision. As a particular year nears the budgeting phase, the issues become less planning oriented and more resource constrained.

Each phase is delineated by the documents that are exchanged. The cycle begins with the planning phase when the JCS issues the Joint Strategic Planning Document (JSPD) which proposes strategy and recommended force levels needed to attain national military objectives. Based on this document, OSD issues the Defense Guidance (DG) which provides general strategy for the mid-range-planning phase. It precedes and guides the draft DOD Consolidated Guidance (CG) memorandum that is published for formal review and comment by the Services.

Changes are recommended by Service chiefs and decided by the SECDEF. The resulting changes are published in the final CG that begins the formal programming phase. The CG provides programming guidance and sets resource levels. The Services respond with their Program Objective Memoranda (POM) stating requirements for resources and justifying programs. Combining many packages of required resources develops the Army POM. Each package is called a Management Decision Package (MDEP). New MDEPs and changes to old MDEPs enter the Army programming process from many sources. Major Army Commands (MACOMs) submit new MDEPs or changes to existing MDEPs in a document called Program Analysis and Resource Review (PARR). PARRs are reviewed by the DA Staff and are one of the inputs used in assembling MDEPs for use in preparing the Army POM. The JCS then submits to OSD a Joint Program Assessment Memorandum (JPAM) assessing the capabilities and risks associated with the POM force. A period of formal discussions (program review cycle) follows and concludes with the SECDEF decisions in the Program Decision Memorandum (PDM) on the acceptability of the proposed programs and resource levels. In the budget phase, PDM resource levels are translated into the upcoming Service budgets. These are reviewed by OSD and modified by Program Budge Decision. What survives is voluminously documented and submitted to Congress as the DOD portion of the President's Budget.


The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act (PA) impose certain limitations on Army personnel. In general, the FOIA responses to requests are required to be answered within 20 days. The Privacy Act requires that all systems of records be reported in the Federal Register, that no unnecessary personal information is collected from employees, and that all employees be allowed to see records maintained on them unless the information is exempt by court order.

If you receive an FOIA-PA request, check with your FOIA-PA officer for guidance on processing and answering requests. For extremely sensitive issues, The Judge Advocate General's Office can provide necessary assistance. Because criminal penalties can be levied against individuals who willfully violate selected sections of these Acts, employees should review both regulations carefully.


Almost everything the Army does, classified or unclassified, has an impact on the American public. Consequently, staff officers should consult with OCPA, Policy and Plans Division (SAPAPP), on every action that may have the slightest impact on the public or the Army's internal audience. Because the Army and DOD must speak with a single voice, all news releases and contacts must be coordinated with OCPA.

While you are assigned to the DA Staff, you may have an official or personal reason to have a manuscript cleared for open publication or delivery as a speech. These manuscripts should be sent to the Office of Security Review, (SAPAOSR). Allow 5 to 8 days for speeches and 30 days for clearance of magazine articles.

There are several basic ways information can reach the public: through a news release, direct contact with a news media representative, DA speakers before civilian groups, etc. If your message is for soldiers and their families or other elements of the Total Army's internal audience, you should contact OCPA, Command Information Division (SAPACI). That division provides information to the field in many forms such as "Soldiers" magazine, ARNEWS, Commander's Call, Sergeants Business, and Soldiers Radio and Television Service.


In the planning process, action officers must consider the time required to get the publication to the user. For example, processing, reproduction, and distribution of HQDA letters can be completed in 8 to 10 workdays plus mail time. A draft of a circular with up to 12 double spaced pages of manuscript requires approximately 17 workdays to print and distribute from the Publications Center. This includes 5 days for processing to the printer, 7 days for printing, and 5 days for distribution.


HQDA, like any Army organization, operates under two series of regulations: Armywide regulations and local publications.

  1. Army Regulations (AR). There are ARs that only apply to HQDA and Army activities in the National Capital Region (NCR). A good example is AR 1-21, Administrative Space Management.
  2. DA Memorandum (DA Memo). Such memorandums apply to HQDA (i.e., both OSA and the Army Staff) and sometimes the US Army Military District of Washington (MDW).
  3. HQDA Letter (formerly referred to as TAG letter). These multipleaddress letters are used to convey shortterm policy guidance or information in correspondence format to major Army commands (MACOM) or HQDA elements/agencies. Such letters carry a 2year expiration date (maximum) and are not used to disseminate information properly covered by DA Circulars or Army Regulations.
  4. DA Circulars. The DA Circular is used for instructions relating to onetime actions and information of a temporary nature having both Armywide and/or HQDA impact. Expiration date cannot exceed 1 year. As compared to the HQDA Letter, the DA Circular is a "shotgun" instrument; whereas, the former has only a few addresses.
  5. OSA Memorandum (OSA Memo). These memos apply only to the Army Secretariat and its SSAs and contain either original material or supplement ARs, CPRs, or other directives.
  6. Building Administrative Instructions, Manuals, and Circulars. The publications are issued by DOD Building Administrators in each of the major buildings in the NCR and normally apply to all building occupants. In some cases, such publications are addressed to specific agencies. Content may be either directive or informational in character. See Washington HQS Services Building Circulars.

In addition to the above, the heads of each Army Staff agency are authorized to issue basic administrative instructions pertaining to their agency or its field extensions.


The Army Secretariat is composed of the Secretary; the Under Secretary with two Deputies; five Assistant Secretaries; the General Counsel; the Administrative Assistant; the Director of Information Systems for Command Control, Communications and Computers; The Inspector General, The Auditor General; the Chief of Legislative Liaison; the Chief of Public Affairs; and the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization; and such staff as may be required. These elements are referred to as the "Army Secretariat."

The Secretary of the Army (SA) is responsible for the conduct of all affairs of the Department of the Army subject to laws and other acts of Congress and to the direction, authority, and control of the President and of the Secretary of Defense.

The Chief of Staff, in addition to other duties prescribed by law, is the principal Professional military assistant and advisor to the SA and is authorized by him to supervise the members and organizations of the Army.

Formalities related to the relationships between the Secretariat and the Army Staff are explained in DA Memo 10-7. Functional responsibilities of the Secretariat and the Army Staff are contained in AR 105.

An extensive network of informal information channels characterizes relationships between the two staffs. Daily coordination and exchange of information between members of the Secretariat and the Army Staff are essential in assuring well-integrated staff work. All memoranda prepared by the Army Staff must address coordination with the Secretariat.


When the DC Metropolitan News Media announce (before normal working hours begin) that the Federal Government will be closed because of weather or other emergency, government personnel (military and civilian) are not expected to report to their workplace. The only exceptions are those personnel who have been designated in writing " ESSENTIAL" by the heads of their respective agencies prior to the declared emergency. When emergencies occur before work begins but Federal Agencies do not close, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will use the local news media to announce an adjusted home departure time. Federal employees should follow the announced schedule. In the event that like emergencies occur during normal work hours, OPM will notify Federal Agency heads of an emergency release schedule for early departure from work. This schedule is normally adjusted for the areas that personnel live from the center of Washington. More information on this policy may be obtained at http://www.opm.gov (click on the PENGIUN).


The Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army is responsible for providing accident prevention leadership for and safety support to HQDA, its assigned staff support and field operating agencies in the NCR.

Commensurate with this responsibility, each agency has designated an official to ensure compliance with the Army Safety Program.


Executive Order 12356 (2 April 1982), National Security Information caused important changes to be made in security procedures throughout the Government. Some of the changes follow:

  1. k. Authority to exercise original classification is restricted to those who are designated in writing. The authority is personal and cannot be delegated.
  2. l. It eliminated the General Declassification System. Classified documents must now reflect a specific date or event (certain to occur) for declassification or, mark the document "OADR" (Originating Agency's Determination Required).
  3. m. It facilitates the promulgation of classification guides by permitting their issuance by an official who has program or supervisory responsibility over the information and is authorized to classify information originally at the highest level of classification prescribed in the guide.
  4. n. Information may be classified if its unauthorized disclosure "reasonably could be expected" to cause damage to national security.
  5. o. Unrestricted access to reproduction machines can save many hours of work. It can also cause serious security hazards unless the operator is familiar with the security aspects of reproduction. Classified material that is reproduced will be brought under the same control as the parent document. Classified material should be reproduced only in areas specifically designated for this purpose.

Individuals who work with classified material should become familiar with both DOD 5200.1-R and AR 380-5.


Studies on any subject which require either support by a civilian contractor, or support by other Staff agencies, major commands, or the U.S. Army Concepts Analysis Agency (such that tasking by a directive is indicated) come under the cognizance of the Office of the Secretary of the Army and, therefore, require certain special procedures.

The Office of the Secretary of the Army, Office of the Chief of Staff, and each Army Staff agency has a Study Coordinator who is an expert on these matters. When you are assigned a study project, consult with the Study Coordinator in your agency.

Another prime source of information is the Army Study Section in the Pentagon Library. This covers a large collection of Army studies. Also, the Study Section has a computer terminal for retrieval of study information from the Department of Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC).


A Trip book(either computerized or in hard copy) is a compilation of selected subjects requested by principal officials of OSA and OCSA in preparation for visits to commands, installations and activities within and outside the Continental United States. The Office of the Chief of Staff Army has the primary responsibility for preparation of trip books for the Secretary of the Army, the Chief of Staff Army, the Under Secretary of the Army, the Vice Chief of Staff Army and The Director of the Army Staff. Their respective offices prepare trip books for any other HQDA officials. All HQDA Staff Agencies are responsible for providing information for trips as required. Agencies may be requested to prepare complete trip books when the traveler's interest lies primarily within the Agency's area of responsibility. Trip book inputs are submitted in the Information Paper format prescribed in HQDA Memo 25-52.The preferred method of submission is via e-mail to the POC listed in the initial tasking memorandum. More specific detail on trip book preparation and submission is found in HQDA Memo1-22


The Washington Headquarters Services (WHS) Building Circular system is designed to provide timely information to occupants of the Pentagon and all other DOD occupied facilities in the National Capital Region. This system ensures that personnel are informed of important developments and changes in building administration and services (e.g., parking policies, food services, repair and maintenance projects, energy conservation initiatives, etc.)


| Preface | Contents | Foreword | I: Helpful Hints | II: Staff Procedures | III: Professional Services | IV: Personal Services |

For Comments, Changes, and Additions, please email hqdasog@hqda.army.mil

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