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Number: DAO 206-7
Effective Date: 1972-07-26


This order implements the "Government and Public Correspondence Precedence System" established jointly by the Director of Telecommunications Management (now the Director of the Office of Telecommunications Policy) (OTP), and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The System has as its prime purpose the readiness of a capability which can expeditiously handle messages and calls transmitted over Government and public correspondence facilities in all types of situations from peace time to a massive nuclear attack.


.01 The voice and message precedence procedures for Federal departments and agencies are prescribed by Executive Order11556 (3 CFR, 1959-63 Comp. P. 956) and the President's Memorandum of August 21, 1963, as amended, which established the National Communications System (28 F. R. 9413).

.02 In conformity with a joint agreement between the Director, OTP, and the FCC, the Director, OTP has issued Telecom Circular 3300.3, and the FCC concurrently has issued a companion order prescribing the standards, procedures, policies, and regulations that constitute this single, integrated precedence system.


.01 Public Correspondence Services. Those services offered to the general public for telecommunications between all points served by a telecommunication carrier or by interconnected carriers on a non-exclusive message by message or call-by-call basis, as differentiated from leased private line services.

.02 Precedence. The sequence in which messages and calls are processed. Transmission of information and call completion are, therefore, to be accompanied in the order required by the precedence designator. Any such properly categorized telecommunications precede non-categorized communications.

.03 Government. Where used alone means Federal, foreign, State, county, and municipal government agencies. Specific reference is made whenever it is intended to apply to less than the whole, e. g., "State Government."

.04 Foreign Government. Includes foreign diplomatic and consular establishments and coalitions or associations of governments such as NATO, SEATO, OAS, UN, and associations of governments or governmental agencies such as PAN American Union, International Postal Union, International Monetary Fund, and similar organizations.

.05 Message. A written or other form of record communication prepared for electronic transmission and delivery at the destination.

.06 Call. A request from a user for connection to another station whether for telephone or record communications.


The Government and public correspondence telecommunications precedence system is applicable to:

a. Users of Government facilities, whether owned or leased; and

b. Users of public correspondence service facilities of the communications common carriers, to U.S. domestic and international communications common carriers, and to the extent possible by agreement between the latter and their foreign correspondents.


.01 Since the precedence system may be used from Government and other than Government locations, heads of operating units and departmental staff offices shall be responsible for determining that all personnel are aware that effectiveness of the system will depend upon:

a. Cooperation to the fullest extent with those responsible for operating the facilities in the use of the system;

b. Users being familiar with the types of messages which may be assigned the respective precedences;

c. Users limiting their use of the precedences and system strictly to intended purposes; and

d. Users consideration in each instance of whether each message requires a special precedence and use of the lowest precedence possible for each message.

.02 Operating units of the Department shall be guided in the use of the system by the procedures set forth in Appendix A of this order.


This Order supersedes Department Administrative Order 210-6 (formerly 205-5) of April 26, 1957.

Signed by: (Acting) Assistant Secretary for Administration


July 26, 1972




The following precedence designators listed from highest to lowest precedence are available for Government and public correspondence users:

Federal Domestic public correspondence and Government international telephone calls

Flash Flash Emergency

Immediate Immediate Emergency

Priority Priority Emergency

Routine (No domestic equivalent)


.01 Flash and Flash Emergency. This is the highest order of precedence and shall be limited strictly to use by Federal and Foreign Government agencies. Calls or messages bearing these designators will be handled in the order received and ahead of all messages or calls bearing other designators. Flash and Flash Emergency precedence will be reserved for calls and messages having an immediate bearing on:

a. Command and control of military forces essential to defense and retaliation.

b. Critical intelligence essential to national survival.

c. Conduct of diplomatic negotiations critical to the arresting or limiting of hostilities.

d. Dissemination of critical civil alert information essential to national survival.

e. Continuity of Federal Government functions essential to national survival.

f. Fulfillment of critical U.S. internal security functions essential to national survival.

g. Catastrophic events of national or international significance, such as Presidential Action Notices essential to national survival during attack or preattack conditions.

.02 Immediate and Immediate Emergency. Messages or calls having one of these precedences will be handled as fast as possible and ahead of messages or calls having lesser precedence. Immediate and Immediate Emergency precedences will be reserved generally for messages or calls pertaining to:

a. Situations which gravely affect the security of national and allied forces.

b. Reconstruction of forces in a post-attack period.

c. Intelligence essential to national security.

d. Conduct of diplomatic negotiations to reduce or limit the threat of war.

e. Implementation of Federal Government actions essential to national survival.

f. Situations which gravely affect the internal security of the United States.

g. Civil defense actions concerning direction of the U.S. population and its survival.

h. Disasters or events of extensive seriousness having an immediate and detrimental effect on the welfare of the population.

i. Vital information having an immediate effect on aircraft, spacecraft, or missile operations.

.03 Priority and Priority Emergency. Messages and calls having these precedence designators will take precedence over messages and calls having a "Routine" precedence designator. Priority and Priority Emergency designators will be reserved generally for messages or calls pertaining to:

a. Information on locations where attack is impending or where fire or air support will soon be placed.

b. Air-ground integrated operations.

c. Important intelligence.

d. Important diplomatic information.

e. Important information concerning the launch, operation, or recovery of space-craft or missiles.

f. Movement of naval, air, and ground forces.

g. Coordination between governmental agencies concerning the performance of emergency preparedness functions.

h. Major civil aircraft accidents.

i. Maintaining the public health, safety, and welfare of the U.S. population.

j. Critical logistic functions, provision of critical public utility services, and administrative military support functions.

k. Distribution of essential food and supplies critical to health.

l. Accomplishment of tasks necessary to insure critical damage control functions.

m. Preparations for adequate hospitalization.

n. Continuity of critical Government functions.

o. Arranging minimum transportation for accomplishing the preceding.

p. Continuing or re-establishing the more important financial, economic, health and safety activities. Producing, procuring and distributing food, materials and supplies considered necessary to immediate support of a war effort, the national defense, or for expediting the meas of meeting the effects of natural disasters.

q. Prompt delivery of information by press representatives to news media organizations and newspapers covering news of national or widespread disasters.

.04 Routine. This precedence designator is available for use for normal day-to-day communication which require rapid transmission by telephone or record means, but which do not require urgent or preferential handling.


.01 Public Correspondence Message Services. The precedence designator is required to be shown by the sender as the first work preceding the name of the addressee.

.02 Public Correspondence Call Services. The user should first attempt to complete the call in the normal manner. If the call cannot be completed and the type of call is eligible within one of the precedence designators listed, the user should file the call with the operator specifying the required precedence handling.


Apparent misuses of precedence indicators by non-Federal Government Activities brought to the attention of the communications common carriers will be referred to the Federal Communications Commission, and minuses of precedence indicators by Federal Government users which are brought to the attention of the Executive Agency, National Communications System. Matter which cannot be resolved by the Executive Agent with the cognizant Government agency will be referred to the Director of the Office of Telecommunications Policy, Executive Office of the President.

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February 4, 2010