The Federal Register Process
Chapter 15 of title 44, United States Code, “Federal Register Act.” requires notices and rules having a substantial impact on the public be filed with the Office of the Federal Register (OFR). The Directorate of Oversight and Compliance, Regulatory and Advisory Committee Division manages the Federal Register process and operates the DoD Regulatory Program (DRP). Following is a brief outline of the Federal Register process:
- The component action officer drafts a rule document containing policy and guidance impacting external parties that will take the force of law and be binding on such parties, and sends to the appropriate Component Federal Register Liaison Officer (FRLO) (See Who is My FRLO?). The FRLO will identify the coordination and paperwork requirements based on the type of regulatory action being taken.
- For revisions, amendments, and additions to the Code of Federal Regulations, the Component FRLO reviews the rule document for Federal Register formatting and returns the edited rule to the Action Officer. The FRLO will also include paperwork templates (Unified Agenda Sheet, Rule Data, and Economic/Cost Benefit Analysis; for a Regulatory Cost Analysis Tool, please contact your FRLO) and guidance for processing the rule package to the action officer.
- The action officer then completes the rule package and secures Principal Staff Assistant (PSA) (or equivalent) signature on a memorandum releasing the rule for coordination throughout the Department. The Action Officer coordinates the rule with relevant stakeholders throughout the Department using the Correspondence and Task Management System (CATMS) or an equivalent correspondence system. This includes coordination with Component Inspector General, Chief Management Officer, and General Counsel (additional coordination with Legislative Affairs is required for Interim Final and Final rules).
- The action officer forwards the coordinated rule package back to the Component FRLO for further processing. The FRLO will review the package and forward it to the Regulatory and Advisory Committee Division (RAACD) for further coordination.
- RAACD obtains the approval of the DoD Regulatory Policy Officer and forwards the rule to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval to publish.
- OMB has 10 working-days to inform RAACD of their decision to formally review the rule before it is published or to not formally review the rule and allow it to be published.
- If OMB determines that they will formally review the rule, RAACD uploads the rule into OMB’s ROCIS system. OMB has up to 90 days to conduct a formal review.
- OMB will conduct interagency coordination once they receive the rule for review.
- OMB will notify RAACD of any comments/concerns, which are resolved by the component action officer in coordination with their General Counsel. The component action officer must forward their response through the FRLO and RAACD to OMB.
- Once cleared by OMB, the action officer will send the finalized rule to the PSA in order to obtain signature on the approval memorandum (see document templates) approving the rule and determining/certifying the rule's compliance with executive and legislative requirements.
- After the approval memo is signed, the action officer will forward the signed package to the Component FRLO. The FRLO signs the rule and forwards it to the Office of the Federal Register for publication.
- The coordination and publication approval process is repeated at each stage of rulemaking.
- Public comments on a proposed or interim rule are forwarded to the component action officer and addressed in the final rule.
- Additional coordination from OASD (Legislative Affairs) is required during the final rule stage. The Component FRLO then completes a Final Rule Form and forwards the form, along with the final rule, to Congress and the Government Accountability Office.
- The Component action officer forwards a Request to Publish memorandum along with General Counsel coordination, if required, to the FRLO.
- When the notice is an announcement of a closed meeting (public attendance not allowed), a determination statement is also forwarded.
- The Component action officer prepares a notice for Federal Register publication. The Component FRLO reviews the notice and reformats, when required.
- When all items have been received, the FRLO signs and forwards the notice to the Office of the Federal Register for publication.