Capitalization, Titles

Q. I am writing a text and need help with one thing. I checked your Q&A and didn’t see anything on this so I’ll ask here. Do government offices and bureaus need to be capitalized? For example, the Wireless Bureau of the FCC, or can it be listed in a sentence as the wireless bureau of the FCC? Thanks!

A. According to the examples given in CMOS 8.62, official names of administrative bodies are capitalized, whereas just part of the name is not. For example:

The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau today set guidelines for broadcast frequencies at the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. The bureau plans to publish these guidelines within the next seven days.

Note that subsequent mentions of “the bureau” are lowercased. You might also do this:

The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) today set guidelines for broadcast frequencies at the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. The WTB plans to publish these guidelines within the next seven days.

Note also that the official name is the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. If you were to refer simply to the “wireless bureau of the FCC,” it would have to be lowercase, as when you say only “the bureau,” because you are not giving the official title of the organization.