The White House’s Office of Management and Budget announced Wednesday that all federal agencies must use government online domains like “.gov” or “.mil” for all official communications within six months and report any non-.gov domains to OMB for review.
In a memorandum sent to the heads of all executive departments and federal agencies, OMB director Shalanda Young said federal agencies will be required to use certain internet domain names as mandated by the DOTGOV Online Trust in Government Act of 2020.
“For the American people, the use of the .gov domain is a critical indicator that they are accessing official information, services, and communications,” Young wrote in the memo. “When .gov domains are used for websites, people have greater confidence that the information on those sites is authoritative and trustworthy.”
All federal agencies must use government domains “for all official communications, information, and services, except for third-party services operated by non-governmental entities on non-governmental domains that are needed to effectively interact with the public.” Examples of such third-party services include social media services, source code collaboration, and vulnerability disclosure reporting systems.
Furthermore, OMB will review the usage of all non-.gov domains by agencies to limit the use of non-.gov domain names for official communications and may require an agency to provide a rationale for the continued use of a non-.gov domain which, if rejected, could lead to the agency being forced to stop using that domain.
“Public trust in the .gov domain is contingent on clear and consistent use of government domains (i.e., “.gov” or “.mil”),” Young wrote in her memo. “A good government domain name should be memorable for the American people, not longer than necessary, and describes the relevant government organisation or service in an unambiguous way.”
Federal agencies must comply with all applicable .gov domain requirements specified in the memo within 180 days of its publication and agencies will be required to identify to OMB any domains that do not meet these requirements.