Within 30 days after service of an application, the Secretary shall file an
answer to the application.
If the Secretary and the applicant believe that the issues in the fee application can be settled, they may jointly file a statement of their intent to negotiate a settlement. The filing of this statement shall extend the time for filing
an answer for an additional 30 days, and further extensions may be granted
The answer shall explain in detail any objections to the award requested
and identify the facts relied on in support of the Secretary's position. If the
answer is based on any alleged facts not already in the record of the proceeding, the Secretary shall include with the answer either supporting affidavits
or a request for further proceedings under 2204.307.