You may not use a DD Form 173 for submission of
messages anymore. Instead, you must use the message
text format (MTF) program. This program allows for
floppy diskette transmission and up to 50 messages may
be included on one diskette.
Knowing what to do with incoming correspondence
is important to the efficient operation of your office and
command. You must take care in the initial sorting and
routing of incoming correspondence. You must make
sure the proper individual receives the correspondence
so he or she may take any action that is required with a
particular piece of correspondence.
Constant changes in naval office personnel due to
transfers, leave, and discharges create a need for a single
subject classification system. The present standard
Navywide system fulfills that need because it makes
sure any person who knows the subject filing system of
one ship or station can operate that of another with little
decrease in efficiency. This does not mean that each
office has the same number or type of files. Instead, it
signifies that a standard system is used to (1) assign
subject codes (numbers), (2) guarantee that general files
have the same basic arrangement, and (3) make sure
certain sets of files are kept by all activities.
Details of file arrangement within any particular
naval office depend upon the mission or function of the
office and the volume of its official correspondence.
You will find that the general files in your office are
similar to those found in any other office in the Navy.
These general files contain such items as incoming
letters, copies of outgoing letters, and memorandums
that normally form the bulk of your office files. In
addition to the general files, you may decide to set up
separate files for such items as claims, court-martial
records, investigations, and nonjudicial punishments.
In a small SJA office where the volume of claims
business is not so heavy, you could probably file all your
claims correspondence in the general file (5890). How-
ever, if your office processes many claims, you should
file only general correspondence in the general files and
set up a special file in alphabetical order (by last name
of claimant) for claims processed.
In a decentralized filing system, files are normally
kept by the section responsible for the function being
performed; that is, the claims section would keep claims
files, the review section would keep review files, and
the legal assistance section would keep legal assistance
files. You may encounter the decentralized filing
system in NLSOs where the volume of files warrants
such a system. However, in a small SJA office where
the volume of business (and hence, the volume of files)
is not so heavy, such a system probably should not be
Court-martial records, while a part of your general
files, are normally kept in a separate drawer of the filing
cabinet. You should file summary court-martial (SCM),
special court-martial (SPCM), and general court-mar-
tial (GCM) records separately. They may, of course, be
filed in the same drawer of the filing cabinet, if
necessary, but group them together by the type of court
involved and file alphabetically according to the last
name of the accused.
Whether your office uses a centralized or decentral-
ized filing system is usually determined by the size of
your organization and the volume of business handled.
Whichever system you use, it is important that you
thoroughly understand the system in use.
Having the proper subject classification on a naval
letter or a directive will help you and the individual that
the correspondence is being sent to in filing and in
proper identification of the subject material. To make
sure a piece of correspondence has the proper subject
identification code, you should refer to the Department
of the Navy Standard Subject Identificaton Codes,
As a senior LN, you will compose letters from brief
notes or even from oral instructions. In preparing long
letters, you should be able to prepare a first draft that
will need only minor changes before the draft is ready
for smooth typing. You should master the preparation
of short, routine letters to the point where they rarely
need any change before signature. Refer to the Corre-
spondence Manual for instructions regarding naval
writing standards and sample letters.
PUBLICATIONS AND DIRECTIVES
Handling, correcting, and using publications and
directives are a big part of the daily routine of any Navy
office. The efficiency of the office depends on how
well this is done. This makes it important for you to