WHAT IS THE FOIA?
The Freedom of Information Act Program (DOD 5400.7-R_AFMAN 33-302) allows the general public including foreign citizens, military and civilian personnel acting as private citizens, to request records electronically or in writing from the federal government. Some records are released to the public under the Freedom of Information Act, and may therefore reflect deletion of some information in accordance with the FOIA's nine statutory exemptions or two law enforcement record exclusions. A consolidated list of such records is on Defense Link and the U.S. Air Force FOIA site. Currently, the law allows 20 working days to process a FOIA request upon receipt of the request in the FOIA office.
WHO CAN SUBMIT A FOIA REQUEST?
Members of the public, including foreign citizens, military and civilian personnel acting as private citizens, organizations and businesses, and individual members of the Congress for themselves or constituents, may request records in writing. It is important to remember that the Freedom of Information Act applies only to federal agencies. It does not create a right of access to records held by Congress, the courts, state or local government agencies, or by private businesses or individuals. Each state has its own public access laws that should by consulted for access to state and local records.
FOIA REQUEST PROCESSING FEES
Fees are assessed depending on which group the request falls into:
HOW TO MAKE A REQUEST
- Category 1: Commercial: Requesters pay all search, review, and duplication.
- Category 2: Educational or noncommercial scientific institution or news media: Requesters get the first 100 pages free and pay for additional pages.
- Category 3: Others: Requesters get the first two hours of search and the first 100 pages free.
Effective March 30, 2009, the Air Force has established a new Freedom of Information Act website for submitting requests online to Requester Service Centers. Click on the following Air Force eFOIA Public Access Link: https://www.efoia.af.mil/palMain.aspx.
Electronic requests should use the link above. Once there, FOIA officials recommend that people review all the links listed on the left side as they have been designed to provide information and guidance. When submitting request to AFPC using eFOIA Public Access Link please make sure to select the following options using the drop down menu to ensure your request is directed to AFPC:
For mailing, faxing or direct contact with the Air Force Personnel Center Requester Service Center:
- ACTION OFFICE: AFPC
- Records search location, location to be searched: FOIA - Air Force Personnel Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas
HQ AFPC/DS1 (Attn: FOIA Manager)
550 C Street West, Suite 48
Phone number: 210-565-2751 DSN: 665-2751
Fax number: 210-565-6262
Organizational email: email@example.com
The four basic guidelines for submitting a FOIA request. (DOD 5400.7-R_AFMAN 33-302, paragraph C1.4.3., FOIA Request):
The request is considered properly received or perfected, when the above conditions have been met and the request arrives at the FOIA office of the Component or agency in possession of the records. FOIA requests are processed within 20 work days unless there are unusual circumstances that may justify delay whereby the requester will be contacted.
- Indicate that it is a FOIA request.
- Clearly identify the record(s) being sought and be specific on the type of documents. Avoid terms such as "requesting any and all documents" since this type of request generally requires clarification and responsive documents can include excessive costs for search and releasable documents. NOTE: Recommend asking for "all releasable information" in your request. This allows the FOIA office to redact or remove information generally exempted under the FOIA program and process your request quicker. FOIA provides access to records and "is not" a forum for answering questions.
- Indicate a willingness to pay fees associated with the processing the request or, in the alternative, why a waiver may be appropriate (see DOD 5400.7-R_AFMAN 33-302, section C6.1.4., Fee Waivers). State an actual dollar amount versus a willingness to pay reasonable costs. This avoids guessing what is considered reasonable and you can be contacted should processing costs exceed your limit.
- Include a complete mailing address and consider providing a telephone number and/or email address. Should questions arise you will be contacted. NOTE: Air Force-affiliated requesters, to include military and civilian employees, should not use government equipment, supplies, stationery, postage, telephones, or official mail channels to make FOIA requests. Requests should be made through personal email or postal service.
RELEASE OF EMAIL ADDRESSES
Air Force policy is to deny requests for lists of email addresses (both personal and organizational) using FOIA exemption (b)(6) and/or (b)(3) & 10 United States Code (U.S.C.), Section 130b statute. This does not prohibit an organization from including a single email address on a web page or in correspondence. - View exemptions on the Air Force FOIA website: http://www.foia.af.mil/exemptions/index.asp (click on "Exemption (b)(3)" for statutes).
AIR FORCE READING ROOM
The electronic reading room is a location where under Title 5, U.S.C. 552 (a)(2)(D) records have been determined will, or have become, the subject of frequent or subsequent requests and being made available to the public for review. There are no frequently requested FOIA records to post at this time from AFPC. Some records are released to the public under the FOIA, and may therefore reflect deletion of some information in accordance with the FOIA's nine statutory exemptions. The reading room can be found on the Air Force Freedom of Information Act Web page under the title, "Electronic Reading Room:" http://www.foia.af.mil/reading/index.asp.
If dissatisfied with the response received from the center, you may contact the FOIA Public Liaison at 703-614-8500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Updated as of May 2013)