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DOD/OS RIN: 0790-AJ04 Publication ID: Fall 2021 
Title: Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Programs or Activities Assisted or Conducted by the DoD 

The Department of Defense (DoD) is amending its regulation prohibiting unlawful discrimination on the basis of disability in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from, or conducted by, DoD. These revisions will update and clarify the obligations that section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, imposes on recipients of Federal financial assistance and DoD Components, and the obligations that the Architectural Barriers Act imposes on DoD Components. The updates will also clarify the procedures for resolving complaints regarding information and communication technology accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities in accordance with section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended. This rule promotes the Biden Administration's priorities on diversity, equity, and inclusion.  


Agency: Department of Defense(DOD)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 32 CFR 56   
Legal Authority: Pub. L. 100-259    Pub. L. 102-569    29 U.S.C. 791 to 794d    42 U.S.C. ch. 51 and 126    E.O. 12250   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

Finalization of this Department-wide rule will clarify the longstanding policy of the Department. It does not change the Department’s practices in addressing issues of discrimination.  This rule amends the Department’s prior regulation to include updated accessibility standards for recipients of Federal financial assistance to be more user-friendly and to support individuals with disabilities. This update is particularly relevant in light of Executive Order 14035, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

This rule is proposed under the authorities of title 29, USC, chapter 16, subchapter V, sections 794 through 794d, codifying legislation prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance or under any program or activity conducted by any Federal agency, including provisions establishing the United States Access Board and requiring Federal agencies to ensure that information and communication technology is accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.  Title 28, Code of Federal Regulations, part 41 implementing Executive Order 12250, which assigns the DOJ responsibility to coordinate implementation of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.


The Department considered taking no new action and continuing to rely on the existing regulation. The Department considered issuing sub-regulatory guidance to clarify existing regulation.  Both options were rejected because of the need to update and clarify the Department’s obligations pursuant to section 504 and section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. 

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

Because OMB originally determined this rule to not be a significant regulatory action, a cost and benefit analysis has not yet been completed.


Without this final rule, the Department’s current regulation is inconsistent with current Federal statutes and regulations, as well as developments in Supreme Court jurisprudence, regarding unlawful discrimination on the basis of disability.  Consistent with congressional intent, the provisions in the final rule are consistent with the nondiscrimination provisions in DOJ regulations implementing title II of the ADA Amendments Act (applicable to state and local government entities).

Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  07/16/2020  85 FR 43168   
NPRM Comment Period End  09/14/2020 
Final Action  06/00/2022 
Additional Information: The full title of the rule is "Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Programs or Activities Assisted or Conducted by the DoD and in Equal Access to Information and Communication Technology Used by DoD, and Procedures for Resolving Complaints." That title is too long to include above, so I am including it here. DoD Instruction 1020.dd ("Unlawful Discrimination on the Basis of Disability in Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance from, or Conducted by, the DoD") will be codified as a rule under 32 CFR part 56. The rule was originally reported as being codified under 32 CFR part 195.
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: No  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Randy Cooper
Director, Department of Defense Disability EEO Policy and Compliance
Department of Defense
Office of the Secretary
4000 Defense Pentagon, Room 5D641,
Washington, DC 20301-4000
Phone:703 571-9327