PITTSBURGH, PA 15222-4186

1 2 SEPTEMBER 2006

Planning and Environmental Branch



Honorable Robert C. Byrd

United States Senate

311 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510


Dear Senator Byrd:


This is in response to your letter of July 14, 2006 concerning the request from Mr. Donald C. Strimbeck, Secretary of the Upper Monongahela River Association, for member fact sheets for the Ohio, Monongahela, and Allegheny Rivers.


Mr. Strimbeck's request relates to the budget formulation process. Corps field office participation in this process is guided by the Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters memorandum enclosed with this letter. Member fact sheets, when they are prepared upon requests received from Members of Congress for extraordinary repairs or modifications of project features, are considered to be "process information", and not intended for public release, for the reasons stated in the memorandum. Member fact sheets are not ordinarily prepared for ongoing Operations and Maintenance funded activities on the Ohio, Monongahela, and Allegheny Rivers. Information on these projects is publicly available on the Pittsburgh District's internet web site at


Mr. Strimbeck is commended for his interest in our management of the inland waterways navigation facilities. He may choose to advocate with Members of Congress on behalf of the Upper Monongahela River Association for increases in funding that will better satisfy the requirements of recreational boaters. With respect to the Corps of Engineers budget formulation process, the release of the President's budget to Congress is when proposed funding levels for the projects become publicly available.



If you or your staff have any further questions, feel free to call me or Mr. Curt Meeder, Chief of my Planning and Environmental Branch, at 412-395-7228.




hen L. Hill

Colonel, Corps of Engineers District Engineer






SUBJECT: Executive Branch Policy Regarding Disclosure of Information on the Civil Works Program and Budget

  1. The purpose of this memorandum is to remind you of Executive Branch policy regarding disclosure of information during and after formulation of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Program and budget.


  1. Formulation of the Civil Works Program and budget is an iterative process of making and defending program and budget recommendations at successive levels within the Executive Branch. It is done from Corps project managers through Office of Management and Budget examiners, and reflects decision-making based on information developed during the process consistent with agency mission, national policy and priorities, resource constraints, congressional action, and program execution.



  1. In order to ensure integrity of decision-making during the formulation process, information developed during the process - "process information" - must be kept confidential until officially released to the public. Such information includes summary information officially released as a matter of course, and other information officially released only in response to specific requests of individuals, discussed next.


  1. Summary information, including funding by account, study, project, and state, is officially released to the public with transmittal of the President's Budget of the United States Government to Congress in early February, and Army's concurrent press release. Subsequently, additional information is officially released during and following congressional appropriations hearings, including testimony supporting the President's budget and answers to specific questions of subcommittee members.


  1. Other information, including any preliminary justification materials, correspondence, fact sheets, and information on deliberations over disposition of congressional changes to current and upcoming fiscal year programs and budgets, is never officially released to the public, except, perhaps, under provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. Under this act, such information can be accessed, provided it still exists, once the fiscal year for which it was developed has ended - about 20 months after the press release for that year.



SUBJECT: Executive Branch Policy Regarding Disclosure of Information on the Civil Works Program and Budget



  1. As representatives of the Administration, you and your staff must continue to respond to inquiries and update local parties and members of Congress on studies and projects; however, you should not release process information not already officially released to the public. Specifically, you should not release, to anyone outside the Executive Branch, information on the program or budget for any study or project until it has been released through an official publication. Violation of this policy could result in restrictions on Corps participation in formulation of its own program and budget. This, in turn, could result in inferior formulation adversely affecting program design and execution.


  1. In order to preserve our strong role in formulation of the Civil Works Program and budget, we must prevent unauthorized release of process information. To that end, I request that you remind your staff of its responsibility to safeguard the confidentiality of such information until it is officially released.




HANS A. VAN WINKLE Major General, USA Deputy Commander for

Civil Works