FOIA FAQ

WHAT IS FOIA? 
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a Federal law that establishes the public's right to request existing records from Federal government agencies. 

WHO CAN FILE A FOIA REQUEST?
Any "person" can file a FOIA request, including U.S. citizens, foreign nationals, organizations, universities, businesses, and state and local governments. 

ARE THE QUESTIONS ANSWERED UNDER THE FOIA?
The FOIA does not require Federal Agencies to answer questions, render opinions, or provide subjected evaluations. Requesters must ask for existing records.

HOW DO I FILE A FOIA REQUEST?

  • Ensure that somewhere on your request it states that it is a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
  • Endure that the request is signed by the person the request is concerning. In come cases the requestor may be 3rd party, i.e. an insurance agency. Ensure that the person to whom the request is regarding signs the request.
  • Describe the specific records you are requesting in enough detail so that they can be located with a reasonable amount of effort. Generally, a record is reasonably described when the description contains sufficient file-related information (type of document, title, subject area. date of creation, originator, etc.); or the request contains enough event-related information (date of circumstances surrounding the event that the record covers) to permit the conduct of an organized, non-random search. 
  • Because most NAVSPECWARCOM records are not retained permanently, the more information provided, the better opportunity there is to determine if the records would still exist and where. The FOIA clearly state that records must exist at the time the request is submitted to be considered.
  • Ensure you state your willingness to pay all fees or those up to a specific amount or provide a justification to support a fee waiver. Agreements to pay fees are considered to be up to $250.00 unless another amount is specified. Currently, we charge search, review (for commercial requestors only), and duplication costs. (The fee schedule is provided in Enclosure (3) of Secretary of the Navy Instructions 5720.42F.) If you seek a fee waiver, provide a justification for such a waiver.
  • Ensure that a complete postal service mailing address is provided on the request in which a response to a FOIA request can be received.