28 CFR 24.302 - Answer to application.
(a) Within 30 calendar days after service of the application, Department counsel may file an answer. If Department counsel fails to answer or otherwise fails to contest or settle the application, the adjudicative officer may upon a satisfactory showing of entitlement by the applicant make an award for the applicant's fees and other expenses under 5 U.S.C. 504.
(b) If Department counsel and applicant believe that they can reach a settlement concerning the award, Department counsel may file a statement of intent to negotiate. The filing of such a statement shall extend the time for filing an answer an additional 30 days.
(c) The answer shall explain in detail any objections to the award requested and identify the facts relied on to support the objection. If the answer is based on any alleged facts not already reflected in the record of the proceeding, Department counsel shall include with the answer either a supporting affidavit or a request for further filings or other action.