Title 32


725.5 Applicability.

§ 725.5 Applicability.

(a) This instruction applies to all present and former civilian and military personnel of the DON whether employed by, or assigned to, DON temporarily or permanently. Affected personnel are defined more fully in § 725.4(b).

(b) This instruction applies only to situations involving existing or reasonably anticipated litigation, as defined in § 725.4(d), when DOD information or witnesses are sought, whether or not the United States, the DOD, or its components are parties thereto. It does not apply to formal or informal requests for information in other situations.

(c) This instruction provides guidance only for DON operation and activities of its present and former personnel in responding to litigation requests. It is not intended to, does not, and may not be relied upon to, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or equity against the United States, DOD, or DON.

(d) This instruction is not intended to infringe upon or displace the responsibilities committed to the Department of Justice in conducting litigation on behalf of the United States.

(e) This instruction does not supersede or modify existing laws, DOD or DON regulations, directives, or instructions governing testimony of DON personnel or release of official DOD or DON information during grand jury proceedings.

(f) This instruction does not control release of official information in response to requests unrelated to litigation or under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552, or the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a. This instruction does not preclude treating any written request for DON records as a request under the FOIA or Privacy Acts. Activities are encouraged to treat such requests for documents under the FOIA or the Privacy Act if they are invoked by the requestor either explicitly or by fair implication. See 32 CFR 701.3(a), 701.10(a). Activities are reminded that such treatment does not absolve them of the responsibility to respond in a timely fashion to legal process. In any event, if the official information requested pertains to a litigation matter which the United States is a present or potential party, the release authority should notify the delegate of the General Counsel or the Judge Advocate General, under § 725.6.

(g) This part does not apply to release of official information or testimony by DON personnel in the following situations:

(1) Before courts-martial convened by any DOD component, or in administrative proceedings conducted by, or on behalf of, such component;

(2) Under administrative proceedings conducted by, or on behalf of, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), the Federal Labor Relations Authority, the Federal Services Impasse Panel, or under a negotiated grievance procedure under a collective bargaining agreement to which the Government is a party;

(3) In response to requests by Federal Government counsel, or counsel representing the interests of the Federal Government, in litigation conducted, in whole or in part, on behalf of the United States (e.g., Medical Care Recovery Act claims, affirmative claims, or subpoenas issued by, or concurred in by, Government counsel when the United States is a party), but the regulation does apply to an action brought under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act in which a private party brings an action in the name of the United States but in which the Department of Justice either has not yet determined to intervene in the litigation or has declined to intervene;

(4) As part of the assistance required by the Defense Industrial Personnel Security Clearance Review Program under DOD Directive 5220.6 2 ;

2 See footnote 1 to § 725.1.

(5) Release of copies of Manual of the Judge Advocate General (JAGMAN) investigations, to the next of kin (or their representatives) of deceased or incompetent naval personnel;

(6) Release of information by DON personnel to counsel retained on their behalf for purposes of litigation, unless that information is classified, privileged, or otherwise protected from disclosure (in the latter event, compliance with 32 CFR part 97 and this part is required);

(7) Cases involving garnishment orders for child support and/or alimony. The release of official information in these cases is governed by 5 CFR 581 and SECNAVINST 7200.16 3 , or;

3 See footnote 1 to § 725.1.

(8) Release of information to Federal, state, and local prosecuting and law enforcement authorities, in conjunction with an investigation conducted by a DOD component or DON criminal investigative organization.

(h) This part does not preclude official comment on matters in litigation in appropriate cases.

(i) The DOD General Counsel may notify DOD components that DOD will assume primary responsibility for coordinating all litigation requests for demands for official DOD information or testimony of DOD personnel in litigation involving terrorism, espionage, nuclear weapons, and intelligence sources or means. Accordingly, determining officials who receive requests pertaining to such litigation shall notify the Associate General Counsel (Litigation) or the Deputy Assistant Judge Advocate General (International Law or General Litigation) who shall consult and coordinate with DOD General Counsel prior to any response to such requests.

(j) Relationship with Federal Rules of Procedure. The requirements imposed by this instruction are intended, among other things, to provide adequate notice to DON regarding the scope of proposed discovery. This will assure that certain DON information, which properly should be withheld, is not inadvertently released in response to a litigation request or demand, including a subpoena or other request for discovery issued under Federal rules of procedure. When the United States is a party to Federal litigation and the party opponent uses discovery methods (e.g., request for interrogatories and admissions, depositions) set forth in Federal rules of procedure, the Judge Advocate General or General Counsel, in consultation with representatives of the Department of Justice or the cognizant United States Attorney, may determine whether the requirement for a separate written request in accordance with § 725.7 should be waived. Even if this requirement is waived, however, DON personnel who are subpoenaed to testify still will be required to obtain the written permission described in § 725.2.