Network Working Group
Request For Comments: 1811
Category: Informational
Federal Networking Council
June 1995

U.S. Government Internet Domain Names

Status of this Memo

This memo provides information for the Internet community. This memo does not specify an Internet standard of any kind. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.


   This document describes the registration policies for the top-level
   domain ".GOV".   Thus far, Federal Agencies and their subsidiaries
   have registered without any guidance.  This has resulted in multiple
   registrations for Federal Agencies and naming schemes that do not
   facilitate responsiveness to the public.  This document fixes this by
   restricting registrations to coincide with the approved structure of
   the US government.  The document cited, FIPS 95-1, provides a
   standard recognized structure into which domain registrations for
   top-level domains.  The IANA requires that an organization/country
   apply for and get a 2 letter code from ISO/ITU (e.g., US for United
   States) for additional top-level registration.

As a side effect, this reduces the number of .GOV level registrations and reduces the workload on the Internic.


The .GOV domain is delegated from the root authority to the US Federal Networking Council. The .GOV domain is for registration of US governmental entities on the federal level only. Registrations for state and local governmental agencies shall be made under the .US domain in accordance with the policies for that domain.

1) The document "Codes for the Identification of Federal and Federally Assisted Organizations", FIPS 95-1 (or its successor) lists the official names of US Government agencies.

     A) Top-level entities (e.g., those with codes ending in 00 such as
     "1200 Department of Agriculture"), and independent agencies and
     organizations (e.g., "National Science Foundation and other non-
     indented listings unless prohibited below) as listed in this
     document are eligible for registration directly under .GOV.

B) Autonomous law enforcement components of top-level entities (e.g., "Federal Bureau of Investigation", "Secret Service", "Coast Guard") are also eligible for registration.

C) Cross-agency collaborative organizations (e.g., "Federal Networking Council", "Information Infrastructure Task Force") are eligible for registration under .GOV upon presentation of the chartering document and are the only non-FIPS-listed organizations eligible for registration under .GOV.

D) Subsidiary, non-autonomous components of top-level or other entities are not eligible for separate registration. International organizations listed in this document are NOT eligible for registration under .GOV.

E) Organizations listed as "Federally Aided Organizations" are not eligible for registration under .GOV and should register under .ORG or other appropriate top-level domain.

F) Organizations subsidiary to "Department of Defense" must register under the ".MIL" domain via the Defense Data Network Network Information Center - contact

The only standard exceptions to these rules are changes to governmental structure due to statutory, regulatory or executive directives not yet reflected in the above document. The requesting agency should provide documentation in one of the above forms to request an exception. Other requests for exception should be referred to the Federal Networking Council.

2) A domain name should be derived from the official name for the organization (e.g., "USDA.Gov" or "Agriculture.GOV".) The registration shall be listed in the registration database under the official name (per FIPS 95-1) for the organization or under the name in the chartering document.

3) Only ONE registration and delegation shall be made per agency. The .GOV registration authority shall provide registrations on a first-come first-served basis. It is an individual agency matter as to which portion of the agency is responsible for managing the domain space under a delegated agency domain.

4) Those agencies and entities that have multiple registrations under .GOV may retain them for a maximum of 3 years from the publication date of this document. Within 6 months after the publication of this document, one primary domain must be selected for the agency. The other (secondary) domains must cease further sub-delegations and registrations at this time. As of 1 year after the publication of this document, the secondary domains will become undelegated and will revert to the control of the .GOV owner. As of 2 years after the publication of this document, all registrations in the secondary domains must be mirrored in the primary domain and those names should be used where possible. At the 3 year point, all secondary domain registrations will be deleted.

5) Those agencies and entities already registered in .GOV but not listed in FIPS 95-1 (e.g., DOE labs, state entities) may retain their registration within the constraint of the single registration rule (see para 4). No further non-FIPS-listed registrations will be made. State and local entities are strongly encouraged to re-register under .US, but this is not mandatory.


   [1] Federal Information Processing Standards Publication 95-1 (FIPS
       PUB 95-1, "Codes for the Identification of Feral and Federally
       Assisted Organizations", U.S. Department of Commerce, National
       Institute of Standards and Technology, January 4, 1993.
   [2] Postel, J., "Domain Name System Structure and Delegation", RFC
       1591, USC/Information Sciences Institute, March 1994.

Security Considerations

Security issues are not discussed in this memo.

Author's Address

Federal Networking Council
4001 N. Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22203

   Phone: (703) 522-6410