012 FW 1
Supersedes 012 FW 1, 02/27/06
Date: June 15, 2018, as amended 6/4/2020
Series: Service Directives
Part 012: Director’s Orders
Originating Office: Division of Policy, Performance, and Management Programs
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.1 What is the purpose of this chapter?
1.2 What is the scope of this chapter?
1.3 Who is responsible for preparing, reviewing, and publishing Director’s Orders?
1.4 When does the Service issue Director’s Orders instead of Service Manual chapters?
1.5 Will the Service publish a Director’s Order to expedite policy issuance?
1.6 How soon should a division or office convert the content of a Director’s Order into a Service Manual chapter?
1.7 When do Director’s Orders become effective and when do they expire?
1.8 What format should an author use to develop a Director’s Order?
1.9 What are the steps for getting the proper review and clearance?
1.10 Who signs Director’s Orders?
What happens after the Director signs the Order?
1.13 Does the Service ever amend Director’s Orders to change content?
1.1 What is the purpose of this chapter? This chapter describes how and when to prepare a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) Director’s Order and the procedures for review and publication.
1.2 What is the scope of this chapter? This chapter applies to all employees who prepare Director’s Orders for the Director’s signature.
1.3 Who is responsible for preparing, reviewing, and publishing Director’s Orders? See Table 1-1.
Table 1-1: Responsibilities for Director’s Order Preparation
Are responsible for…
A. The Director
Approving or declining to approve Orders (also see section 1.10).
B. The Chief, Division of Policy, Economics, Risk Management, and Analytics (PERMA) through the Directives Officer in the Policy and Regulations Branch (PRB)
(1) Helping authors prepare Director’s Orders.
(2) Reviewing Orders to ensure they:
(a) Do not contradict other policy.
(b) Are in plain language.
(c) Follow the format standards (see Exhibit 1).
(3) Establishing a timeline for authors to incorporate the content of Orders into existing Service Manual chapters or into new chapters as soon as practical.
(4) Publishing Orders on the internet after the Director signs them.
(5) Reviewing justifications for extensions to termination dates to ensure they are adequate (see section 1.).
C. The manager of the division or office with a primary interest in or responsibility for the subject matter
(1) Preparing the Director’s Order, and
(2) Coordinating with PRB and other affected offices to get input and ensure adequate review.
A. We limit the use of Director's Orders to:
(1) Temporary policy and procedures,
(2) Delegations of authority,
(3) Emergency policy,
(4) Special assignments or functions, and
(5) Initial statements establishing new organizational units or transferring functions until they can be documented in the Departmental Manual and Service Manual, as required.
B. We use the Service Manual to establish long-lasting policy and procedures and to describe organizations and their functions.
1.5 Will the Service publish a Director’s Order to expedite policy issuance? No, unless the policy meets one of the criteria for Orders described in section 1. (for example, it is emergency or temporary policy), we do not use Orders to expedite policy issuance. In most situations, you should prepare a Service Manual chapter (see 011 FW 2 and 011 FW 3) and not an Order.
1.6 How soon should a division or office convert the content of a Director’s Order into a Service Manual chapter? Convert all Orders to the appropriate parts of the Service Manual as soon as possible and before they expire, unless you want them to expire or you want to revoke them (see section 1. for more information).
A. Orders issued on or after February 27, 2006 (the date the previous policy on Director’s Orders was published) remain in effect for 18 months. If the originating office wants to make the content of the Order long-standing policy, they must do so during the 18 months the Order is in effect by working with PRB to incorporate the content of the Order into a Manual chapter. See 011 FW 2 and 3 for information on chapter development.
B. We will not extend the termination dates for Orders unless there is a justifiable reason to do so. For example, if an office develops a new Service Manual chapter from the content of the Order, and controversy over language temporarily delays the publication of the Manual chapter, then we may extend the termination date of the Order.
(1) To request an extension, the office or division responsible for the Order must send a written justification (email is sufficient) to the Chief, PERMA, at least 1 month before the Order expires.
(2) The Chief, PERMA, reviews the justification. If it is adequate, PRB extends the Order for 1 year. The office or division responsible for the Order should publish the Service Manual chapter as soon as possible after the extension and within the extended 1-year timeframe.
(3) The justification must include either:
(a) A brief description of how the content of the Order is critical to the successful accomplishment of our mission, or
(b) A brief description of what is causing the delay in publication of the new or revised Manual chapter. Acceptable reasons for delay include the need for more time to resolve controversy over language, the need for more time to get comments from officials outside of the Service (for example, the Department, the Office of Management and Budget, a state representative, the public), and unavoidable delays due to illness or extreme weather.
(4) If the justification is inadequate, PRB will:
(a) Work with the originating office to develop an adequate justification, or
(b) Refer the issue to the Assistant Director – Management and Administration (AD–MA). The AD–MA will work with the supervising Directorate member responsible for the Order to resolve the issue.
C. The office or division responsible for the Order can choose to allow an Order to expire or revoke it by contacting PRB, and the PRB Directives Officer will prepare the necessary documentation.
1.8 What format should an author use to develop a Director’s Order? See Exhibit 1 for the format of an Order. You can use the exhibit as a template.
A. After you prepare the Order, email it to the Directives Officer in PRB for editing. The Directives Officer will send it back to you to finalize.
B. Write a “Note to Reviewers” that explains the reason for the Order. Unless it is a temporary Order, identify:
(1) The Service Manual chapter where you expect to incorporate the content of the Order, or
(2) The Part under which you will include a new chapter.
C. Develop a surname package for the Order. Refer to 011 FW 3 for information on how to put together a surname package.
D. Route the package through your supervising Directorate member and include other affected divisions and offices. As described in 011 FW 3, the last three reviewers in the routing are always:
(1) Chief, PERMA.
1.10 Who signs Director’s Orders? Only the Director, a Deputy Director, or an Acting Director can sign Director's Orders. Wherever this chapter refers to a Director’s signature, it is referencing this delegation.
1.11 What happens after the Director signs the Order?
A. The Director’s office returns the package to PRB, which assigns a number to the Order and publishes it on the Director’s Order website.
B. PRB notifies the originating office that the Director signed the Order and that it is available on the internet.
1.12 When does the Service publish draft Director’s Orders in the Federal Register?
A. It is rarely necessary, but for some Orders, you should ask for public comment by publishing a notice of availability of the draft in the Federal Register. PRB can assist you.
B. If the Order meets one of the following four criteria, seek public comment:
(1) You can reasonably anticipate that it will lead to an annual effect of $100 million or more, or adversely affect in a material way the economy or a sector of the economy.
(2) It raises highly controversial issues related to interagency concerns or important Administration priorities.
(3) It establishes initial interpretations of statutory or regulatory requirements, or changes in interpretation or policy.
(4) It is about innovative or complex scientific or technical issues.
1.13 Does the Service ever amend Director’s Orders to change content? We rarely amend Orders to change content because they are only in effect for 18 months, and we incorporate them into Service Manual chapters at the earliest possible time. Follow the guidelines below if you need to change the content of an Order:
A. Consult with PRB about the potential change.
B. Unless there is a justifiable reason to retain the original Order number, do not amend the Order. Instead, restate the text with the changes and indicate what Order it supersedes.
C. After the Director’s signature, PRB will revoke the old Order and issue a new Order number.
For more information about this policy, contact Krista Bibb in the Division of Policy, Economics, Risk Management, and Analytics, Policy and Regulations Branch (PRB).