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Best Practices for Mail Screening and Handling Processes: A Guide for the Public and Private Sectors



This document has been produced by the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO) Technical Support Working Group (TSWG). The CTTSO operates as a Program Office under the Assistant Secretary of Defense (ASD) for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict and Interdependent Capabilities (SO/LIC&IC).
The CTTSO is charged with providing a forum for interagency users to discuss mission requirements to combat terrorism, prioritize those requirements, fund and manage solutions, and deliver capabilities. The CTTSO accomplishes these objectives through rapid prototyping of novel solutions and field testing before the traditional acquisition systems are fully engaged. This low-risk approach encourages interdepartmental and interagency collaboration, thereby reducing duplication and eliminating capability gaps.
This document is intended to provide best practices for the screening and handling of all incoming packages and letters, whether delivered via the United States Postal Service (USPS), commercial common couriers, or special messengers. In the majority of government agencies, the “mailroom” is the central receiving and distribution function for all incoming and outgoing mail and packages. For the purpose of this document, the authors use terms such as “mail,” “mail handling,” and “mail center” in a manner reflecting the common vernacular. These terms are used in a broad sense to describe the processing and distribution of not only USPS mail and packages, but also other forms of written correspondence and packages—such as those provided by commercial common couriers and special messengers. From a mail screening and handling perspective, this expanded definition of “mail” and “mailroom” will help ensure that all incoming “mail” items are considered when evaluating the application of the recommended best practices. The authors in no way intend for the reader to interpret use of these or any such similar terms as being representative of the technical definition of “mail” that properly identifies the materials, products, processes, functions, authorities, brands, and facilities associated with the USPS.
The original version of this document was produced with restricted dissemination and is only available to Federal Government agencies (see Publications at www.tswg.gov). The Interagency Security Committee has modified the document to be fully releasable to private individuals and organizations. Multiple Federal agencies, the Interagency Security Committee, and two private sector organizations contributed to the creation of this releasable version of the Best Practices Guide. They are acknowledged at the conclusion of this document.