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Administrative Assistant
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Supervision of CO's Personal Correspondence
custody  of  officer  personnel  records,  and  the establishment  and  maintenance  of  a  forms  control  point are efficiently performed and maintained. The ship’s secretary also acts as the captain’s writer and supervises the preparation of his or her personal correspondence. ADMINISTRATION  OF CORRESPONDENCE The  Department  of  the  Navy  Correspondence Manual,    SECNAVINST 5216.5C, U.S.     Navy Regulations,  1990, and command directives are the guides for the preparation of correspondence. It has often been said that if you follow these guides, you will never  go  astray  when  preparing  correspondence.  One sign of a good ship’s secretary is compliance with the Navy  correspondence  manual. In  addition  to  reviewing  outgoing  correspondence, the ship’s secretary reads, or is at least aware of, each piece  of  incoming  mail  and  makes  sure  all  official correspondence  is  processed  and  routed  properly. A  very  small  percentage  of  official  mail  requires  a reply since most mail is informative in nature and need not  be  controlled.  It  may  be  possible  for  the  ship’s secretary  to  provide  a  recommended  answer  to  an inquiry  by  referring  to  previous  correspondence  in  the files. The time to provide this information is before the department  head  concerned  or  the  XO  receives  the letter, so a recommended action can be provided to the captain. This is done by means of a mail control slip or memorandum.  It  should  never  be  necessary  for  an officer to come to the ship’s secretary for information when the ship’s secretary has seen the inquiry and knows that  information  will  be  needed.  When  letter  inquiries concern personnel matters, the ship’s secretary often drafts a recommended reply in the rough. The CO may approve  or  disapprove  the  letter  for  signature. ACCOUNTABILITY FOR CORRESPONDENCE Accountability for correspondence would seem to apply only to the care and handling of classified matter. However,  in  its  broadest  sense,  accountability  applies  to all mail that is retained in the central files, classified or not. Maintaining the central files involves more than sticking  a  piece  of  paper  in  a  file  folder.  Mail  of importance should be routed by means of a mail control slip. You should review article 620.5 of the Standard Organization  and  Regulations  of  the  U.S.  Navy (SORM),   OPNAVINST   3120.32B,   for   more information  concerning  mail  control.  If  the  person taking  action  on  a  certain  piece  of  correspondence wishes to retain it, the control slip should be returned to central  files  indicating  that  the  correspondence  is  being retained.  If  a  reply  is  prepared  to  a  letter,  the identification  of  the  reply  should  be  shown  on  the control slip for future reference. Precautions must be taken to make sure classified matter is not reproduced without  the  permission  of  the  proper  authority.  Close control of mail must be kept while it is being routed and a time limit on how long any department may retain correspondence must be set before the letter is routed. The ship’s secretary must always keep alert for signs of improper filing. Few things are more irritating than waiting for a needed letter or document, then finding out the delay was caused by misfiling the needed material. The ship’s secretary is the one who “gets the blast,” but when material is misfiled, it reflects on the senior YN and  the  file  clerk  as  well.  Misfiling  of  material  is embarrassing  and  should  never  happen  if  the  office  is functioning  properly. The ship’s secretary makes sure that the file system is set up properly for both classified and unclassified matter, that a record of all persons who see Top Secret matter  is  kept,  that  obsolete  matter  is  disposed  of properly,  and  above  all,  that  all  correspondence  is maintained accurately. The  Department of the Navy File Maintenance   Procedures   and   Standard   Subject Identification  Codes  (SSIC),  SECNAVINST  5210.11D, provides   guidelines   for   the   filing   system   to accommodate  both  classified  and  unclassified  matter. Article 620.5 of the SORM and chapters 10 and 15 of the  Department  of  the  Navy  Information  Security Program  Regulation,  OPNAVINST  5510.1H,  set  forth the  requirements  for  control  and  transmission  of classified  material.  A  review  of  these  publications  will help you determine if your office is following the proper procedures. SUPERVISION  OF  CAPTAIN’S  YEOMAN The ship’s secretary usually details one of the best petty officers to be the CO’s personal Yeoman. The captain’s  Yeoman  types  the  captain’s  letters,  acts  as  the captain’s  receptionist,  and  notifies  other  officers  when the captain wants to see them. The Yeoman serves the captain much the same way that the flag lieutenant assists the admiral of a fleet staff. 1-3

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