a. Principles of MARKS.
Within the MARKS system, records are identified and filed
under the number of the primary directive that prescribes those records to be created, maintained,
(1) The key to understanding MARKS is the file number. It identifies records for
filing and retrieval. MARKS numbers are made up by the prescribing directive followed by an
Alpha suffix. Within each record series there is a file number for "general correspondence".
The general correspondence number is derived from the publication series number. General
correspondence numbers do not carry an alpha suffix, they are divided into "ACTION+-" and
(2) The file number can be broken down as follows: The first section refers to the
"series number". This number, i.e., "30", is the publication series number. Thirty refers to the
Army Food Service Program. The next part of this file number, i.e., "30-1", refers to the
prescribing directive for that series. It is important to remember that there is no limit to the
amount of prescribing directives for any one particular series. An example of this would be for
the "30 series", AR 30-1, AR 30-18, and AR 30-21 would all be prescribing directives for this
series. The last part of the file number is the "alpha suffix". This identifies specific files that are
to be filed within that series.
b. General correspondence files. The general correspondence file for each series is the
only file number that does not contain an alpha suffix. Documents are divided only by
identifying them as "ACTION" and "NONACTION" documents.
All files will be labeled to include the following information; file number,
file title, Privacy Act system notice number (if applicable), and the disposition instructions.
(1) If there are several folders under one number, only the label on the first folder of
the series must show all of the required label information. Labels on the other folders under that
same file number will show the file number, a brief identification of material in the folder and (if
applicable) the year of the file.
(2) "DUMMY" Folders. A "DUMMY" folder (secured shut) or guide card with a
label containing required label entries may also be used. NOTE: do not use a "DUMMY" folder
or guide card if only one folder is being used for the file year.
d. Disposition Instructions. For most records, the MARKS disposition gives only the
generic retention period (i.e. destroy after 2 years, destroy after 5 years, permanent etc). Files for
the 30 series use these types of retention periods.
(1) Files with permanent retention or retention of a specific number of years are cut off
at the end of the year in which the action on the record has been completed. The retention period
does not begin until the records have been cut off.
(2) Files with a continuing type of disposition, such as "Destroy when no longer
needed for current operations", are not cut off. Review them annually, and remove and destroy
individual records within such files when no longer needed.