Messages are prepared in a standard format,
which helps to achieve a number of desirable
goals. These desirable goals include, but are not
limited to, the following:
Decrease message preparation time
Decrease recipient comprehension time
Allow maximum use of transmission
Improve message readability
Accelerate message handling
In the interest of standardization, each Navy
originated message, with few exceptions, is
drafted with the classification, special category
markings, and special handling security markings
in the following sequence: (NOTE: Where all
these elements listed do not appear in a message,
the order of appearance is adjusted accordingly.)
1. Classification or the abbreviation
UNCLAS. (An entry is required on all messages.)
2. Special category markings (EXCLUSIVE,
3. Special handling security markings (codes
such as NOFORN, RESDAT, etc.).
4. Exercise identification (EXERCISE
HIGH JUMP, EXERCISE SPRINGBOARD,
etc. ) and SSIC.
5. Code word, code name, or nickname of
special projects or operations.
6. Flag word (EXPRESS, REDLINE, etc.).
7. Passing instructions and other indications
of message distribution.
8. Subject line, concise and untitled.
9. References, identified by letter(s).
The subject of a message is not identified by
letters or numbers; however, references are
identified by letters. Each paragraph in the text
of a message is usually numbered. Subparagraphs
are indented and lettered or numbered as
appropriate. In a one-paragraph message, the
paragraph need not be numbered. A naval
message contains no signature line. If a message
is classified, proper downgrading or declassi-
fication markings should be included. The number
of copies of unclassified messages required is
dependent on the needs of the originating office
and the needs of the communications office
handling the message; however, only one copy of
a classified message should be prepared.
The text of a message is typed using uppercase
letters with a maximum of 69 characters to each
line and 20 lines to each page. The lines should
be typed as close to 69 spaces as possible. This
is an item of importance, especially when a
message is sent in a format containing columns.
A standard typewriter has more than 69 spaces,
whereas a communications typewriter has ONLY
69 spaces. A message draft would have to be
altered by communications personnel where more
than 69 spaces have been used on a single line.
Naval messages are identified by the originator
and a date-time group (DTG) number. A date-
time group number is assigned by the communi-
cations office at the time of release of the message.
This number consists of six digits; for example,
162120Z. The first two digits represent the day
of the month, and the last four digits represent
the time of the day.
So that a standard time maybe kept through
the service, Greenwich mean time is used to
indicate the time or origin of most naval messages.
This eliminates any doubt as to which time the
originator is using. Greenwich mean time is
designated by the letter Z.
Other correspondence that you may be
required to type includes business letters,
memorandums, and directives. The latest edition
of the Navy Correspondence Manual, SECNAV-
INST 5216.5, prescribes policies, outlines
procedures, and furnishes detailed information
for the preparation of these types of corre-
spondence. You should refer to SECNAVINST
5216.5 before you start a correspondence prepara-
tion task. It provides information on the correct
preparation of envelopes for mailing corre-
spondence; special mailing instructions; and forms
of addresses, salutations, and complimentary
closings used in the preparation of correspondence.
DIRECTIVES ISSUANCE SYSTEM
The directives issuance system provides a
uniform method of issuing directives by all
activities in the Navy. As set forth in the latest
edition of Department of the Navy Directives