Types of Issuances, Descriptions, and Definitions

(Excerpt from FSM 1105 - Definitions)

Amendment. Any Washington Office issuance of new Service-wide direction or revision of a previously issued Forest Service Manual (FSM) or Forest Service Handbook (FSH) directive; also, any issuance of new direction or revision of parent text in a unit FSH.

Direction. A general term that refers to explicit order, instruction, or guidance given by one authorized to impose or require a course of action. The term has the same meaning in the context of the Forest Service directive system as it has in standard English usage; that is, "direction" is a broad term that may be properly used to refer to mandatory requirements as well as to preferred or optional guidance, to broad policy as well as to specific procedural instruction. Therefore the term "direction" is not an antonym (opposite) of "guidance"; rather, guidance is one form of direction. See also definitions for "instructions" and "guidance."

Directive. A written issuance which serves to direct, guide, and/or generally impel a person or unit toward an action, attainment, or goal; a pronouncement urging, requiring, or prohibiting some action or conduct. (See related definitions for External Directives and Internal Directive.)

External Directives. Federal regulations, Executive orders, or other issuances that originate outside the Forest Service, and that provide Department-wide or Government-wide direction. Some external directives that the Forest Service supplement are incorporated in the Forest Service directives system as external Handbooks (FSM 1112.1), such as the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FSH 6309.32 - FAR). Examples of external directives that are not incorporated as Forest Service external Handbooks include USDA Departmental Regulations (DR's) and Manuals (DM's); most of the National Finance Center external procedures; and Office of Personnel Management X-118 Qualification Standards.

External Holders. Private sector organizations, libraries, and Federal, State, and local government agencies which maintain paper copies of complete Forest Service Manual titles and/or Handbooks and receive updated directives.

Forest Service Handbooks (FSH). Handbooks are agency directives that provided detailed procedures, instructions, and guidance needed on a continuing basis by employees in more than one unit on how to proceed with a specialized aspect of a program or activity. Handbooks either implement direction as required by the Manual or incorporate external directives (FSM 1110.3, 1112).

Forest Service Manual (FSM). The Manual contain legal authorities, management objectives, policies, responsibilities, instructions, and guidance needed on a continuing basis by Forest Service line officers and primary staff in more than one unit to plan and execute assigned programs and activities (FSM 1111).

Guidance. A term that refers to a preferred or advisable course of action. A form of direction. An employee is expected to fully consider guidance offered but may depart for good and justifiable reasons in order to increase efficiency or better achieve desired end results. Guidance is distinguished from other forms of direction by the words of issuance; generally, guidance is conveyed through such words as "should," "may," or "consider."

Instructions. A term generally used to refer to very specific directions. Often used in directives to refer to detailed procedural direction.

Interim Directive. An internal directive which modifies previous direction or establishes new direction for a period of up to 18 months. (See FSM 1113.3 for criteria related to issuance and duration of interim directives, including reissuance for another 18 months.)

Internal Directive. Written direction of a continuing nature that originates within the Forest Service to implement laws, regulations, Executive orders, and other legally binding direction. The Forest Service Manual and Handbooks, including transmittals, amendments, supplements, or interim directives issued thereto, are the components of Forest Service internal direction.

Master Set. A collection of current Forest Service Manual titles and Handbooks in paper or electronic form that is maintained by the unit Directive Manager; the completeness of the set required to be maintained depends on the organizational level (FSM 1131).

Supplement. Any issuance which adapts or interprets higher level or external directives for national, regional, or local application. In paper form, pages are color coded to distinguish supplements from the parent material and to identify the administrative level of issuance (FSM 1113.2).

Zero Code. The term used to refer to the manner of uniformly coding the following categories of direction which apply throughout the title, chapter, or section where the zero code is located: authority (01), objective (02), policy (03), responsibility (04), definitions (05), and Handbooks (09), 06 through 08 are optional code for use as needed. These numerical codes within the directive system are both preceded and followed by a number other than a zero, such as 1103, 1110.3, or 1111.03 (FSM 1110.6).