National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Frequently Asked Questions about the NWS Directives System (NDS)

About the NDS

1. What is the NDS?

The NDS is the National Weather Service (NWS) Directives System. It translates the ideas, goals, or principles contained in the NWS mission, vision, and strategic plan into action-related directives.

NWS Policy Directive (PD) 1-1 (or NWSPD 1-1) establishes the NDS system. NWS Instruction 1-101 (or NWSI 1-101) explains how to implement the system.

2. How is the NDS organized?

There are three types of directives in the NDS. Policy directives are statements of important, high-level direction that guides decisions and actions throughout the NWS. Procedural directives describe how to implement a particular policy. Policy and procedural directives are issued by Headquarters. Supplements which are issued by regional and field offices and National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) contain detailed information on implementation of procedural directives.

3. How is each directive identified?

The cover page of policy directives has a blue banner. Procedural directives have a yellow banner. Supplements have a green banner.

4. What is an OPR?

The Office of Primary Responsibility (OPR) develops and coordinates a particular NDS directive and guides it through the approval process.

5. Who administers the NDS at the NWS?

The Management and Organization Division (CFO2) of the Office of the Chief Financial Officer/Chief Administrative Officer administers and monitors the NDS.

6. Who can I contact for information or assistance on writing a directive?

Please contact your office’s XO for assistance. Staff of CFO2 are also available to provide guidance on the NDS.

7. How can I contact CFO2 NDS staff?

To make sure NDS staff receive e-mails, questions and requests, use the following address: _NWS HQ AA CFO2 Directives.

8. Details for Static Naming of NDS Directives

Writing a Directive

1. What is the effective date of a directive?

The effective date is 14 days or later after the directive is signed by the approving authority.

2. How do I set up the banner pages?

Templates for preparing banner pages are available on the NDS home page in the Tool Kit.

3. Is the banner page intended to be a separate page before the text of policy directives, procedural directives, and supplements?

The banner page is separate for procedural directives and supplements. The narrative begins on the second page for procedural directives and supplements. The narrative begins on the first page (banner page) for policy directives.

4. What writing style should I use when writing a directive?

Writers should use the active voice. Use passive writing only when necessary.

5. If you define acronyms in the policy directive, do you have to define the same acronyms in the procedural directives and supplements?

Spell out the entire phrase the first time used with the acronyms in parenthesis for each directive. After that, use the acronym. This allows documents to stand alone.

6. References should include “policy-related” terms. What are "policy-related terms"?

References are a glossary of essential words you feel require interpretation and explanation for the reader. NWSPD 1-1 provides an example.

7. What is the difference between superseding and rescinding a document?

A document is superseded if it is used as the basis for, and referenced in, a new directive. A document is rescinded if it is no longer needed, and is not referenced in a new directive.

Numbering Directives

1. How do I number a policy directive?

A policy directive title begins with “NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE POLICY DIRECTIVE.” It is followed by a space and the NDS number. The NDS number includes the series number, followed by a dash, and a directive number beginning with 1 and continuing up to 99. For example, the title for the first policy directive in the 1 series is “NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE POLICY DIRECTIVE 1-1."

2. How do I number a procedural directive?

A procedural directive title begins with “NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE INSTRUCTION.” It is followed by a space and the NDS number. The NDS number includes the policy number and an instruction or manual number beginning with 01 and continuing up to 99. For example, the title for the first instruction under the fourth policy directive in the 10 series would be “NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE INSTRUCTION 10-401."

3. How do I number a supplement?

A supplement title begins with “NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE<Region Name/Field Office Name/NCEP Center Name>SUPPLEMENT<NUMBER>CALENDAR YEAR> (Use zero plus the supplement number where it is a single digit.) Below this, the following phrase will be used, “applicable to < INSTRUCTION or MANUAL NUMBER(s).” For example, the title for the third Central Region supplement during the year 2011 which supplements NWSI 10-912 would be: “NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CENTRAL REGION SUPPLEMENT 03-2011.” Following that will be the instruction(s) or manual(s) being supplemented written as, “applicable to NWSI 10-912.” More than one instruction or manual can be listed. When updating a supplement, for example 03-2011, maintain the year of the original supplement post (do not edit supplement to reflect year 2019).

Coordination Procedures

1. Who signs policy directives? Procedural directives? Supplements?

The approving authority signs directives. The approving authority for policy directives is the Assistant Administrator for Weather Services. The approving authority for procedural directives is the director of the OPR. The approving authority for supplements is the regional director, NCEP director, or meteorologist/hydrologist in charge.

2. What is the schedule for updating a policy directive?

Policy directives must be reviewed and updated biennially (two years). The anniversary date is based on the effective date on the directive.

3. What is the schedule for updating a procedural directive?

Procedural directives must be reviewed and updated biennially (two years). The anniversary date is based on the effective date on the directive.

4. What is the schedule for updating a supplement by a regional office?

Each supplement must undergo a biennial review process.

5. Must we provide a background summary for policy and procedural directives?

A background summary is required. The OPR must include a short explanation of the changes made to the policy or procedure from a WSOM Chapter, Operations Manual Letter (OML), or an earlier NDS policy. If the directive is new and does not supersede previous directives, the OPR must include a short summary highlighting the major points of the directive. For General Counsel and NWSEO review a Word document with track changes (ON) should be provided.

Posting and Record Keeping

1. Where will directives be posted?

All directives are posted on the NDS Web site.

2. Who will post the directives?

CFO2 will post all NDS directives.

3. When I submit my directive for posting, what format should be used?

After a directive is signed, the OPR/author of XO give it to CFO2 as a Word or PDF file.

4. Who maintains original, signed copies of NDS directives?

Original, signed copies of policy and procedural directives are maintained by CFO2. Supplements are maintained by the OPR in the regional and field office, and NCEP.