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The Department’s official policies and procedures (collectively known as directives) are maintained in the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) and associated Handbooks (FAH). The FAM is divided into Volumes – each Volume has a specific theme. The Office of Directives Management has the responsibility for managing the Directives program and does so through a network of Volume Coordinators (VC), subject matter experts (SME), policy drafters and clearers spread across all bureaus.


The Administrative Procedure Act (APA) governs the process by which federal agencies propose and establish new regulations. The Office of Directives Management ensures the Department is in compliance with the Act by assisting Department rule writers in navigating the rulemaking process, coordinating a variety of OMB regulatory initiatives and reporting on the Department’s burden reduction efforts. A/GIS/DIR works with programs offices to ensure the Department’s regulations do not impose unnecessary hardship on those who must follow the rules.

Information Collections

The Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) mandates that when the U.S. Government collects information from the public (with some exceptions), it must have approval from OMB to do so. The Office of Directives Management (A/GIS/DIR) ensures the Department is in compliance with the Act by assisting program offices in preparing their submissions to OMB, educating bureaus about the PRA and its requirements and reporting the Department’s PRA compliance regularly to OMB. A/GIS/DIR works with programs to make sure information collection efforts are as burden-free as is possible for the respondents.

Public Department of State Forms

Federal Register

The Federal Register (FR) is the federal government’s “daily newspaper” and is used to announce a variety of items to the public, including general announcements, requests for public feedback and comment, proposed rules and information collections, delegations of authority, Executive orders, etc. The Office of Directives Management (A/GIS/DIR) is the Department’s liaison to the Federal Register. All submissions to the FR are placed with A/GIS/DIR.

Plain Writing

On October 13, 2010, the Plain Writing Act of 2010 was signed into law. The Act calls for writing that is clear, concise and well-organized. The Department of State recognizes that plain writing is a courtesy to our readers and is our standard for written communications.

The Department of State recognizes the importance of public participation and collaboration. Our goal is to write more clearly and to provide the opportunity for regulatory review and comment through this Internet site. We ask you to use the links of this site for our periodic retrospective review of our existing significant regulations and for our proposed rules.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future