This Handbook owes its creation to Undersecretary for Global Affairs Frank Loy, who was alerted to problems which had grown up around the interagency Circular 175 process by the National Research Council report, The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology and Health in Foreign Policy: Imperatives for the Department of State. The NRC report characterized the C-175 process as "filled with inefficiencies and delays, and administrative problems associated with the process are at the root of many interagency conflicts." The NRC's formal recommendation was that "The Department . . . should streamline the Circular 175 process, which calls for interagency review of proposed international agreements and bilateral memoranda of understanding." Seeing an unambiguous need to implement the NRC's recommendation without delay, Undersecretary Loy launched the project which eventually culminated in this Supplementary Handbook.
The difficulties inherent in complying with Congress' requirement for C-175 clearance are all too familiar to many USG agencies. This Supplementary Handbook represents a sincere effort to address factors which have been identified as contributing to delay and misunderstanding in the C-175 process: information gaps, insufficient or poorly-prepared documentation, procedural deficiencies, and open-ended timelines. The goal of this effort is to demystify and standardize the C-175 process while removing, to the extent possible, obstacles to expeditious completion of the interagency clearance process. The result, we hope, will be a more transparent C-175 process that moves forward without undue delay and proves far less onerous for the requesting agencies. From the outset, this project has been customer-oriented, aiming to facilitate the C-175 process for those USG agencies which have significant international engagements. For this reason, input from the interagency community was repeatedly sought during the drafting of this Supplementary Handbook. Its final form, as a result, reflects the wealth of commentary and suggestions offered by interagency colleagues, for which we are most appreciative.
The Supplementary Handbook is intended to be a living and evolving document, which can be refined or modified on the basis of operational experience. We hope it will contribute to the realization of Undersecretary Loy's vision of a simpler, faster, and less burdensome C-175 process. The comments and suggestions of agency users are welcome at any time.
Office of Science and Technology Cooperation