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Number: DAO 200-3
Effective Date: 1987-08-24


.01 This Order prescribes the system for issuing and controlling Department Administrative Orders (DAOs). DAOs are one of the series of directives comprising the primary directives system of the Department, as described in DAO 200-1.

.02 This revision is a general rewrite of the entire Order. Outstanding amendments to the Order are incorporated, exhibits are redesigned, and changes are made throughout to clarify and update provisions. In addition, major text changes are highlighted by an asterisk in the right-hand margin at the beginning of the revised text. Changes are described below:

a. SECTION 3.: Office title updated in paragraph 3.02.

b. SECTION 4.: Official's current title incorporated in paragraph 4.01.

c. SECTION 5.: Titles of Section 5. and DAO Chapter 213 changes for clarity.

d. SECTION 6.: Text change highlighting requirement established by paragraph 6.03; and DAO amendment procedures are clarified in paragraph 6.04.

e. SECTION 7.: Title of Section 7. changed; and procedures for issuing handbooks and manuals are updated throughout the Section.

f. SECTION 8.: Office titles updated in paragraph 8.01 and 8.02.

g. APPENDIX A: Entire appendix revised as necessary for clarity or changes in provisions; and text change highlighting guidance is added in a new Section G..

h. EXHIBITS: Exhibits 1 through 6 are redesigned and reissued.


.01 DAOs shall be used for issuing continuing administrative policies, procedures, and requirements prescribed by the Office of the Secretary for Departmentwide application, for application to two or more major program areas, or application to Departmental offices and operating units of the Department. DAOs will cover substantive program matters and administrative management policy, procedures, and responsibilities.

.02 DAOs may also implement provisions of law, Executive Orders, central agency issuances, Department Organization Orders, and special administrative requirements of the Secretary.


.01 Secretarial Officers, heads of operating units, and heads of Departmental offices having functional responsibility for subjects covered by this series of directives shall prepare and maintain DAOs covering their respective subject areas. In developing a proposed new, revised, or amended DAO, or a revocation notice, the preparing office (see paragraph 5.04) will coordinate with other Department units having significant interest in the subject, and will develop the DAO issuance in accord with this Order.

.02 The Office of Privacy and Open Government (OPOG) shall review all proposed DAO * issuances for format compliance, plain English, effects on other directives, and adherence to this Order; and shall manage this series of directives. OPOG will not review proposed DAO issuances for technical accuracy or special requirements' which are within the expertise and responsibility of the preparing office. OPOG will coordinate with the preparing office regarding any comments or changes resulting from their review.

.03 Secretarial Officers, heads of operating units, and heads of Departmental offices shall ensure that all DAOs issued are reviewed for applicability to their respective units; and ensure compliance as applicable.


.01 The Secretary or Deputy Secretary shall sign DAOs covering authority held solely by * the Secretary of Commerce, and those DAOs covering areas of responsibility of two or more program Secretarial Officers. The Assistant Secretary for Administration may also recommend signature for certain other DAOs.

.02 The Assistant Secretary for Administration shall sign or countersign all DAO issuances not covered in paragraph .01, above (also see paragraphs .03 and .04, below).

.03 Program Secretarial Officers may sign DAOs covering subjects within their areas of authority. The Assistant Secretary for Administration shall also countersign these DAOs (see Exhibit 6 of this Order).

.04 Heads of operating units or Departmental offices may sign DAOs covering subjects within their areas of authority. The Assistant Secretary for Administration shall also countersign these DAOs.

.05 No more than two signatures (preparation and approval) will appear on any DAO.


.01 Chapters. The DAO Series is divided into chapters for particular subject areas:

Chapter Number Title 200 Directives 201 General 202 Personnel 203 Finance 204 Travel and Transportation 205 Records and Forms 206 Office Services 207 Security and Loyalty 208 Supply Management 209 Safety 210 Emergency Readiness 211 Management Improvement 212 Automatic Data Processing 213 Audits and Inspections * 214 Correspondence and Mail 215 Equal Opportunity 216 Program Management 217 Property and Facilities Management 218 Legal and Legislative 219 Public Affairs

.02 DAO Numbers. OPOG will assign an identification number to each new DAO consisting of the DAO chapter number corresponding to its subject, followed by a dash and a second number indicating the sequence of the DAO within the chapter, e.g., 201-1, 201-2. The number appears on the upper right-hand side of the form SEC-285 "Department Administrative Order Series."

.03 Transmittal Numbers. OPOG will assign a sequential transmittal number to each DAO issuance indicating the sequence of the issuance in relation to all previous issuances in the applicable series. The number appears in the upper right-hand corner of the first page of the form SEC-285.

.04 Office of Primary Interest. The Office of Primary Interest (OPI) is shown on the signature page of all DAOs. The OPI is the office responsible for preparing and maintaining the DAO, and for having the expertise to answer questions regarding its provisions or subject area. In this Order, the terms "OPI" and "preparing office" are synonymous.

.05 Filing Arrangement. DAO issuances are provided electronically to OPOG who will maintain copies. DAO issuances are then printed and pre-punched for filing in 3-ring binders. They should be grouped together by DAO chapter number, and filed in the sequence of their individual numbers. Amendments to DAOs are filed in front of the amended DAO in descending numerical order.

.06 Table of Contents. A DAO Table of Contents is maintained by OPOG and provided with each set of DAOs. OPOG periodically updates and reissues the Table of Contents to all holders of DAO sets.

.07 Index. A cross-referenced DAO Index is maintained by OPOG and provided with each set of DAOs. OPOG periodically updates and reissues the Index to all holders of DAO sets.

.08 Divider Tabs. Divider tabs with DAO chapter numbers are provided by OPOG for each set of DAOs issued.


.01 Format. DAOs must have uniformity of format and presentation, in addition to being complete, clear, technically accurate, and consistent with law and regulation. Appendix A to this Order contains format instructions and other guidance for preparing DAOs. Preparing offices should consult with OPOG early in the writing process if assistance is necessary.

.02 Final DAO Preparation, Clearance, and Signature.

a. As requested, OPOG will assist preparing offices in drafting and preparing DAOs in final (ready for clearance) form; and in preparing the accompanying Form SEC-20 "Clearance Sheet" or Form CD-183 " Abstract of Secretarial Correspondence", covered below.

b. When the DAO is ready for Department clearance and issuance, the preparing office shall submit to OPOG:

1. A complete, reproducible (printing quality) original manuscript of the DAO, including accompanying exhibits, appendices, or forms, as applicable. The first page, form SEC-285, is available only from OPOG.

2. Either a completed form CD-183 or form SEC-20. Form SEC-20 is available only from OPOG.

c. OPOG shall manage the Department clearance process. All DAOs will be cleared by the Office of Inspector General, Office of Budget, Office of Personnel and Civil Rights, and the Office of the General. Counsel Other clearances, as deemed necessary by OPOG or recommended by the preparing office, will also be obtained. In addition:

1. OPOG will obtain clearances concurrently, however, the Office of the General Counsel will always clear individually after all other clearances are obtained.

2. Officials clearing a DAO are allowed ten working days to respond to the Director, OPOG with (a) their clearance, (b) non-clearance with a written explanation, or (c) request for an extension with an explanation. OPOG will notify clearing officials at the expiration of ten working days, and assist as requested.

3. DAO preparing offices shall cooperate with OPOG and clearing officials to resolve any questions or problems arising during the Department clearance process. OPOG will coordinate and monitor the resolution of such matters to reduce clearance delays.

4. When the clearance process is complete, OPOG will send the DAO to the Assistant Secretary for Administration for signature or, as appropriate, approval by the Assistant Secretary and forwarding to the Secretary for signature. d. After the DAO is signed, OPOG will assign the transmittal number and arrange for its printing and distribution.

.03 Highlighting of Major Text Changes and Special Notations. *

a. Major text changes in DAO revisions and page insertion amendments will be highlighted for user convenience -to show users where major changes have occurred in the text, and explain them. See Appendix A, Section G., to this Order.

b. The last section in a revised or amended DAO will be: "SECTION #. EFFECT ON OTHER ORDERS." This section cites any DAOs or other directives superseded, or otherwise affected, by the revision or amendment. The section is omitted if no such effects exist. c. Changes in the DAO Index maintained by OPOG (see paragraph 5.07 of this Order) will appear on the signature page of the DAO, as applicable (see Appendix A, Section H. to this Order).

.04 Amendments to DAOs. *

a. Amendments, rather than complete revisions of DAOs, will be issued whenever changes are not extensive. There is no firm rule regarding the magnitude of changes that constitute "extensive." As a general guide, an amendment should be considered when a change involves no more than one equivalent page of text in a DAO having five to seven pages. OPOG should be consulted as necessary, (also see subparagraph d., below ).

b. Page insertion amendments may also be used for lengthy DAOs. Instructions are contained in Appendix A, Section I., to this Order.

c. Each amendment, identified by the DAO number, will also have a number assigned by OPOG to indicate its sequence of issuance, (1, 2, 3, etc.), and after five amendments a DAO will be revised and reissued.


.01 Lengthy and complex DAOs will be issued as Department of Commerce handbooks or manuals. Handbooks and manuals will cover specialized administrative requirements in such areas as travel management, security procedures, acquisition regulations, and finance, etc.

.02 New Department handbooks and manuals shall be authorized by a DAO. Department handbooks and manuals have the same force and effect as a DAO. The authorizing DAO will specify the office (OPI) responsible for preparing, clearing, issuing, and maintaining the handbook or manual.

.03 Distribution of handbooks and manuals may be limited, as determined by the OPI. To reduce issuance and maintenance costs, handbooks and manuals, are distributed mainly to those Department units/employees involved directly in managing and performing the functions covered by the issuance.

.04 Preparing offices shall issue sequentially numbered transmittal sheets with the initial distribution of all handbooks and manuals, and all subsequent changes. The transmittal sheet will give information regarding the particular issuance, and always indicate if other DAOs are affected -- or specify that none exist. The preparing office shall send one copy of each manual or handbook, and subsequent issuances, to the Director, OPOG.


.01 Regular. *

a. OPOG shall maintain the address list for Departmentwide distribution of DAOs. As practicable, all copies of DAOs for an operating unit will be sent to a single address (unit/person) from which internal unit redistribution will be made.

b. Departmental offices and operating units shall notify OPOG regarding any changes in DAO distribution requirements, i.e., changes in addressees, unit locations, or the number of copies required. OPOG will notify the Departmental Office of Publications (O/Pub) when changes occur.

.02 Additional Copies of DAOs. Up to five additional copies of a particular DAO issuance can be obtained from the * Internal Distribution Branch of O/Pub in Room 1617 A, HCHB. Larger quantities must be requested from OPOG; and may require a Form CD-10 printing requisition from the requesting unit. The Internal Distribution Branch also provides complete sets of DAOs.


.01 Employees or units are responsible for maintaining sets of DAOs issued to them. A single employee in each unit should be responsible. The following information will assist:

a. A Check List is furnished with each set of DAOs (see Exhibit 7 of this Order). File the Check List as the first sheet in the first three-ring binder in the set of DAOs, and use it to post the following information when a DAO issuance is received:

1. Transmittal number;

2. DAO number, and amendment number as appropriate;

3. Date issuance was received; and

4. The employee's initials.

. b. A break in the sequence of transmittal numbers indicates that a DAO issuance(s) occurred, but has not been received by your unit. If there is central distribution of DAO issuances within your unit, the person controlling distribution should be contacted for assistance. If there is no central distribution, OPOG should be contacted regarding the missing transmittal(s).

c. Record the DAO issuance information (number, title, date, etc.) in the appropriate chapter of the DAO Table of Contents. d. Record index changes, shown as applicable on the signature page of the DAO, in the DAO Index.

.02 Insert the DAO issuance in the appropriate DAO chapter group, and discard any superseded material. If the issuance is an amendment, place notations in the basic DAO indicating where changes have occurred; and incorporate any pen-and-ink changes specified by the amendment.

.03 File amendments in descending order in front of the basic DAO being amended. If an amendment is a page insertion, comply with the page change instructions given in the amendment, and then file the amended sheet(s) in descending numerical sequence in front of the basic DAO.


This Order supersedes Department Administrative Order 200-3, dated August 1, 1974, as amended.

Signed by: Assistant Secretary for Administration Office of Primary Interest Office of Management and Organization

Changes. Add Highlighting Text in Department Administrative Orders 200-3


Questions and Comments

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U.S. Department of Commerce


October 21, 2020