Overview of DoD Issuances

Article 2 min
It's important to understand the kinds of information contained within the various policy documents and how they apply to you.

DoD Directives, Instructions, Manuals and Directive-type memos establish policy and provide guidance on how to implement it. Within the Department of Defense there is a distinct relationship between directives, instructions, manuals and memorandums. Review the intricacies of each below.

DoD Directives

DoD Directives exclusively establish policy, assign responsibilities and delegate authority to DoD Components. DoD Directives do not contain procedures.

View VI Related DoD Directives

DoD Instructions

There are two types of DoD instructions: policy and non-policy. Instructions may contain overarching procedures.

View DoD VI-Related Instructions

  • Establish policy and assign responsibilities within a functional area assigned in an OSD Component head’s charter
  • May provide general procedures for implementing the policy
  • Signed only by OSD Component heads or their Principal Deputies
  • Include OSD Component’s charter as a reference

  • Implement policy established in a directive or policy instruction
  • Provide detailed procedures for carrying out the policy
  • Non-policy instructions are signed by OSD Component heads, Principal Deputies or other OSD PAS officials as authorized by their charters
  • Non-policy instructions include OSD Component’s charter as a reference (if the Principal Deputy or PAS official has a charter, that will be used)


DoD Manuals

DoD Manuals implement or supplement a directive or policy instruction.

  • Authorized by a directive or policy instruction. The authorizing issuance will be cited in the manual and included as a reference
  • Identify uniform procedures for managing or operating systems and provide administrative information
  • May contain a policy section summarizing policy established elsewhere

All DoD publications that are not manuals (i.e., catalogs, compendiums, directories, guides, handbooks, indexes, inventories, lists, modules, pamphlets, plans, regulations, series, standards, and supplements) are converted into manuals on their next reissuance.

There are currently no DoD Manuals relating to VI.

Directive-type Memorandums

Directive-type memos may or may not require signature authority.

  • Directive-type memos are issued only for a time-sensitive action that affects a current DoD issuance or that will become a DoD issuance
  • When time constraints prevent publishing a new issuance or a change to an existing issuance, a directive-type memo will be used
  • May be used for establishing policy and to assign responsibilities
  • May implement policies and responsibilities established in existing directives or instructions

View DoD VI-Related Memorandums

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