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Title 32: National Defense
PART 518—THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT PROGRAM
§518.3 Explanation of abbreviations and terms.
§518.6 Public information.
§518.7 FOIA terms defined.
§518.8 Freedom of Information requirements.
§518.9 Reading room.
§518.10 “(a)(2)” materials.
§518.11 Other materials.
§518.13 FOIA exemptions.
§518.15 General provisions.
§518.16 Initial determinations.
§518.18 Judicial actions.
§518.19 General provisions.
§518.20 Collection of fees and fee rates.
§518.21 Collection of fees and fee rates for technical data.
§518.22 Reports control.
§518.23 Annual report content.
Appendix A to Part 518—References
Appendix B to Part 518—Addressing FOIA Requests
Authority: 5 U.S.C. 551, 552, 552a, 5101-5108, 5110-5113, 5115, 5332-5334, 5341-42, 5504-5509, 7154; 10 U.S.C. 130, 1102, 2320-2321, 2328; 18 U.S.C. 798, 3500; 31 U.S.C. 3710; 35 U.S.C. 181-188; 42 U.S.C. 2162; 44 U.S.C. 33; and Executive Order 12600.
Source: 71 FR 9222, Feb. 22, 2006, unless otherwise noted.
Subpart A—General Provisions
This part provides policies and procedures for implementation of the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552, as amended) and Department of Defense Directive (DoDD) 5400.7 and promotes uniformity in the Department of Defense (DoD) Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Program. This Army regulation implements provisions for access and release of information from all Army information systems (automated and manual) in support of Army Information Management (AR 25-1).
Required and related publications are listed in Appendix A of this part.
§518.3 Explanation of abbreviations and terms.
Abbreviations and special terms used in this part are explained in the glossary of AR 25-55.
(a) The Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army (AASA) is responsible for issuing policy and establishing guidance for the Army FOIA Program. AASA has the responsibility to approve exceptions to this regulation that are consistent with controlling law and regulations. AASA may delegate the approval authority, in writing, to a division chief, under its supervision, within that agency in the grade of O6 or civilian equivalent.
(b) The Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army, (AASA), The Records and Programs Agency, (RPA), Records Management and Declassification Agency (RMDA), is responsible for developing and recommending policy to AASA concerning the Army FOIA program and overall execution of the program under the policy and guidance of AASA.
(c) The Chief of Information Officer (CIO), G6 will provide oversight of the FOIA program as necessary in compliance with Federal Statutes, regulations, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD).
(d) Heads of Army Staff agencies, field operating agencies, major Army commands (MACOMS), and subordinate commands are responsible for the supervision and execution of the FOIA program in functional areas and activities under their command.
(e) Heads of Joint Service agencies or commands for which the Army is the Executive Agent, or otherwise has responsibility for providing fiscal, logistical, or administrative support, will adhere to the policies and procedures in this regulation.
(f) Commander, Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), is responsible for the supervision of the FOIA program within that command pursuant to this part.
(a) This part governs written FOIA requests from members of the public. It does not preclude the release of personnel or other records to agencies or individuals in the Federal Government for use in official work.
(b) Soldiers and civilian employees of the Department of the Army (DA) may, as private citizens, request DA or other agencies' records under the FOIA. They must prepare requests at their own expense and on their own time. They may not use Government equipment, supplies, or postage to prepare personal FOIA requests. It is not necessary for soldiers or civilian employees to go through the chain of command to request information under the FOIA.
(c) Requests for DA records processed under the FOIA may be denied only in accordance with the FOIA (5 U.S.C. 552(b)), as implemented by this part. Guidance on the applicability of the FOIA is also found in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).
(d) Release of some records may also be affected by the programs that created them. They are discussed in the following regulations:
(1) AR 20-1 (Inspector General activities and procedures);
(2) AR 27-10 (military justice);
(3) AR 27-20 (claims);
(4) AR 27-40 (litigation: release of information and appearance of witnesses);
(5) AR 27-60 (intellectual property);
(6) AR 36-2 (Government Accounting Office audits);
(7) AR 40-66, AR 40-68, and AR 40-400 (medical records);
(8) AR 70-31 (technical reports);
(9) AR 20-1, AR 385-40 and DA Pam 385-40 (aircraft accident investigations);
(10) AR 195-2 (criminal investigation activities);
(11) AR 190-45 (Military Police records and reports);
(12) AR 360-1 (Army public affairs: public information, general policies on release of information to the public);
(13) AR 380-5 and DoD 5200.1-R (national security classified information);
(14) AR 380-5 paragraph 7-101e (policies and procedures for allowing persons outside the Executive Branch to do unofficial historical research in classified Army records);
(15) AR 380-10 (Technology Transfer for disclosure of information and contacts with foreign representatives;
(16) AR 381-45 (U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command investigation files);
(17) AR 385-40 (safety reports and records);
(18) AR 600-8-104 (military personnel information management records);
(19) AR 600-85 (alcohol and drug abuse records);
(20) AR 608-19 (family advocacy records); and
(21) AR 690 (series civilian personnel records, FAR, DoD Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) and the Army Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (AFARS) procurement matters).
§518.6 Public information.
(a) Public information. The public has a right to information concerning the activities of its Government. Army policy is to conduct its activities in an open manner and provide the public with a maximum amount of accurate and timely information concerning its activities, consistent always with the legitimate public and private interests of the American people. A record requested by a member of the public who follows rules established by proper authority in DA shall not be withheld in whole or in part unless the record is exempt from mandatory partial or total disclosure under the FOIA. As a matter of policy, Army activities shall make discretionary disclosures of exempt records or information only after full and deliberate consideration of the institutional, commercial, and personal privacy interests that could be implicated by disclosure of the information. Activities must be prepared to present a sound legal basis in support of their determinations. In order that the public may have timely information concerning Army activities, records requested through public information channels by news media representatives that would not be withheld if requested under the FOIA should be released upon request. Prompt responses to requests for information from news media representatives should be encouraged to eliminate the need for these requesters to invoke the provisions of the FOIA and thereby assist in providing timely information to the public. Similarly, requests from other members of the public for information that would not be withheld under the FOIA should continue to be honored through appropriate means without requiring the requester to invoke the FOIA.
(b) FOIA handbook. The Department of the Army Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act (DA FOIA/PA) Office shall prepare, in addition to FOIA regulations, a handbook for the use of the public in obtaining information from its organizations. This handbook will be a short, simple explanation of what the FOIA is designed to do, and how a member of the public can use it to access government records. The DA FOIA/PA Office handbook will explain the types of records that can be obtained through FOIA requests, why some records cannot, by law, be made available, and how the Army activity determines whether or not the record can be released. The handbook will also explain how to make a FOIA request, how long the requester can expect to wait for a reply, and appeal rights. The handbook will supplement other information locator systems, such as the Government Information Locator Service (GILS), and explain how a requester can obtain more information about those systems. The handbook will be available on paper and through electronic means and contain the following additional information, complete with electronic links to the below elements: the location of reading room and the types and categories of information available; the location of the World Wide Web page; a reference to the Army FOIA regulation and how to obtain a copy; a reference to the Army FOIA annual report and how to obtain a copy; and the location of the GILS page. The DA FOIA handbook, “A Citizen's Guide to Request Army Records Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA),” can be accessed on-line at http://www.rmda.belvoir.army.mil/. “The Major Automated Information Systems Descriptions” can be accessed at http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/foi.
(c) Control system. A request for records that invokes the FOIA shall enter a formal control system designed to ensure accountability and compliance with the FOIA. Any request for Army records that either explicitly or implicitly cites the FOIA shall be processed under the provisions of this part, unless otherwise required.
§518.7 FOIA terms defined.
(a) FOIA request. A written request for Army records that reasonably describes the record(s) sought, made by any person, including a member of the public (U.S. or foreign citizen/entity), an organization, or a business, but not including a Federal Agency or a fugitive from the law, that either explicitly or implicitly invokes the FOIA, DoDD 5400.7, DoD 5400.7-R, this part, or Army Activity supplementing regulations or instructions. All requesters should also indicate a willingness to pay fees associated with the processing of their request. Requesters may ask for a waiver of fees, but should also express a willingness to pay fees in the event of a waiver denial. Written requests may be received by postal service or other commercial delivery means, by facsimile, or electronically (such as e-mail). Requests received by facsimile or electronically must have a postal mailing address included since it may not be practical to provide a substantive response electronically. The request is considered properly received, or perfected, when the conditions in this paragraph have been met and the request arrives at the FOIA office of the Activity in possession of the records.
(b) Agency record. The products of data compilation, such as all books, papers, maps, photographs, and machine readable materials, inclusive of those in electronic form or format, or other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by an agency of the United States Government under Federal law in connection with the transaction of public business and in DA possession and control at the time the FOIA request is made.
(1) The following are not included within the definition of the word “record”: Objects or articles, such as structures, furniture, vehicles and equipment, whatever their historical value, or value as evidence; Anything that is not a tangible or documentary record, such as an individual's memory or oral communication; Personal records of an individual not subject to agency creation or retention requirements, created and maintained primarily for the convenience of an agency employee, and not distributed to other agency employees for their official use. Personal papers fall into three categories: Those created before entering Government service; private materials brought into, created, or received in the office that were not created or received in the course of transacting Government business; and work-related personal papers that are not used in the transaction of Government business in accordance with Public Law 86-36, National Security Information Exemption.
(2) A record must exist and be in the possession and control of DA at the time of the request to be considered subject to this part and the FOIA. There is no obligation to create or compile a record to satisfy a FOIA request.
(3) Hard copy or electronic records that are subject to FOIA requests under 5 U.S.C. 552 (a)(3), and that are available to the public through an established distribution system such as the Government Printing Office (GPO), Federal Register, National Technical Information Service (NTIS), or the Internet, normally need not be processed under the provisions of the FOIA. If a request is received for such information, Army Activities shall provide the requester with guidance, inclusive of any written notice to the public, on how to obtain the information. However, if the requester insists that the request be processed under the FOIA, then the request shall be processed under the FOIA. If there is any doubt as to whether the request must be processed, contact DA, FOIA/PA Office.
(c) Army activity. A specific area of organizational or functional responsibility within DA, authorized to receive and act independently on FOIA requests.
(d) Initial denial authority (IDA). An official who has been granted authority by the Secretary of the Army to deny records requested under the FOIA based on one or more of the nine categories of exemptions from mandatory disclosure. An IDA also: Denies a fee category claim by a requester; denies a request for expedited processing due to demonstrated compelling need; denies a request for a waiver or reduction of fees; reviews a fee estimate; and confirms that no records were located in response to a request.
(e) Appellate authority. The Secretary of the Army or designee having jurisdiction for this purpose over the record, or any of the other adverse determinations. The DA appellate authority is the Office of the Army General Counsel (OGC).
(f) Administrative appeal. A request by a member of the general public, made under the FOIA, asking the appellate authority of the Army to reverse a decision to: Withhold all or part of a requested record; deny a fee category claim by a requester; deny a request for expedited processing due to demonstrated compelling need; deny a request for waiver or reduction of fees; deny a request to review an initial fee estimate; and confirm that no records were located during the initial search. Requesters also may appeal the failure to receive a response determination within the statutory time limits, a fee estimate, and any determination that the requester believes is adverse in nature.
(g) Public interest. The interest in obtaining official information that sheds light on an activity's performance of its statutory duties because the information falls within the statutory purpose of the FOIA to inform citizens about what their Government is doing. That statutory purpose, however, is not fostered by disclosure of information about private citizens accumulated in various governmental files that reveals nothing about an agency's or official's own conduct.
(h) Electronic record. Records (including e-mail) that are created, stored, and retrievable by electronic means.
(i) Federal agency. As defined by 5 U.S.C. 552 (f)(1), a Federal agency is any executive department, military department, Government corporation, Government controlled corporation, or other establishment in the executive branch of the Government (including the Executive Office of the President), or any independent regulatory agency.
(j) Law enforcement investigation. An investigation conducted by a command or activity for law enforcement purposes relating to crime, waste, fraud or national security. Such investigations may include gathering evidence for criminal prosecutions and for civil or regulatory proceedings.
§518.8 Freedom of Information requirements.
(a) Compliance with the FOIA. Army personnel are expected to comply with the FOIA, this part, and Army FOIA policy in both letter and spirit. This strict adherence is necessary to provide uniformity in the implementation of the Army FOIA Program and to create conditions that will promote public trust.
(b) Openness with the public. The DA shall conduct its activities in an open manner consistent with the need for security and adherence to other requirements of law and regulation. Records not specifically exempt from disclosure under the Act shall, upon request, be made readily accessible to the public in accordance with rules promulgated by competent authority, whether or not the Act is invoked.
(1) Operations Security (OPSEC). DA officials who release records under the FOIA must also consider OPSEC. The Army implementing directive is AR 530-1.
(2) DA Form 4948-R. This form lists references and information frequently used for FOIA requests related to OPSEC. Persons who routinely deal with the public (by telephone or letter) on such requests should keep the form on their desks as a guide.
(c) Avoidance of procedural obstacles. Army Activities shall ensure that procedural matters do not unnecessarily impede a requester from obtaining DA records promptly. The Army shall provide assistance to requesters to help them understand and comply with procedures established by this part and any supplemental regulations published by the Army Activities. Coordination of referral of requests with DA FOIA/PA Office should be made telephonically in order to respond to the requester in a timelier manner. Requests will not be mailed to the DA FOIA/PA Office for disposition or coordination with other IDAs.
(d) Prompt action on requests and final response determinations. Generally, when a member of the public complies with the procedures established in this part or instructions for obtaining DA records, and after the request is received by the official designated to respond, Army Activities shall endeavor to provide a final response determination within the statutory 20 working days. If a significant number of requests, or the complexity of the requests prevent a final response determination within the statutory time period, Army Activities shall advise the requester of this fact, and explain how the request will be responded to within its multitrack processing system. A final response determination is notification to the requester that the records are released or partially released, or will be released on a certain date, or the records are withheld under an appropriate FOIA exemption, or the records cannot be provided for one or more of the other reasons. Interim responses acknowledging receipt of the request, negotiations with the requester concerning the scope of the request, the response timeframe, and fee agreements are encouraged; however, such actions do not constitute a final response determination pursuant to the FOIA. If a request fails to meet minimum requirements as set forth, Activities shall contact the requester and inform the requester what would be required to perfect or correct the request, or to limit the scope to allow for the most expeditious response. The statutory 20 working day time limit applies upon receipt of a perfected or correct FOIA request. Before mailing a final response determination and those records or portions thereof deemed releasable, records custodians will obtain a written legal opinion from their servicing judge advocate concerning the releasibility of the requested records. The legal opinion must cite specific exemptions, appropriate justification, and identify if the records were processed under the FOIA, PA (including the applicable systems notice), or both.
(1) Multi-track processing. When an Army Activity has a significant number of pending requests that prevents a response determination being made within 20 working days, the requests shall be processed in a multitrack processing system, based on the date of receipt, the amount of work and time involved in processing the requests, and whether the request qualifies for expedited processing. Army Activities may establish as many processing queues as they wish; however, as a minimum, three processing tracks shall be established, all based on a first-in, first-out concept, and rank ordered by the date of receipt of the request. One track shall be a processing queue for simple requests, one track for complex requests, and one track shall be a processing queue for expedited processing. Determinations as to whether a request is simple or complex shall be made by each Army Activity. Army Activities shall provide a requester whose request does not qualify for the fastest queue an opportunity to limit the scope of the request in order to qualify for the fastest queue. This multitrack processing system does not obviate an Activity's' responsibility to exercise due diligence in processing requests in the most expeditious manner possible.
(2) Expedited processing. A separate queue shall be established for requests meeting the test for expedited processing. Expedited processing shall be granted to a requester after the requester requests such and demonstrates a compelling need for the information. Notice of the determination as to whether to grant expedited processing in response to a requester's compelling need shall be provided to the requester within 10 calendar days after receipt of the request in the Army Activity's office that will determine whether to grant expedited processing. Once the Army Activity has determined to grant expedited processing, the request shall be processed as soon as practicable. Actions by Army Activities to initially deny or affirm the initial denial on appeal of a request for expedited processing and a failure to respond in a timely manner shall be subject to judicial review. Initial determination of denials of expedited processing will be immediately forwarded to the IDA for action. If the IDA upholds the denial, the requester will be informed of his or her right to appeal.
(i) Imminent threat. Compelling need means that the failure to obtain the records on an expedited basis could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual.
(ii) Alleged Federal Government activity. Compelling need also means that the information is urgently needed by an individual primarily engaged in disseminating information in order to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity. An individual primarily engaged in disseminating information means a person whose primary activity involves publishing or otherwise disseminating information to the public. Representatives of the news media would normally qualify as individuals primarily engaged in disseminating information. Other persons must demonstrate that their primary activity involves publishing or otherwise disseminating information to the public.
(iii) General public interest. Urgently needed means that the information has a particular value that will be lost if not disseminated quickly. Ordinarily this means a breaking news story of general public interest. However, information of historical interest only or information sought for litigation or commercial activities would not qualify, nor would a news media publication or broadcast deadline unrelated to the news breaking nature of the information.
(iv) Certified statement. A demonstration of compelling need by a requester shall be made by a statement certified by the requester to be true and correct to the best of his or her knowledge. This statement must accompany the request in order to be considered and responded to within the 10 calendar days required for decisions on expedited access.
(v) Other reasons for expedited processing. Another reason that merits expedited processing by Army FOIA offices is an imminent loss of substantial due process rights. A demonstration of imminent loss of substantial due process rights shall be made by a statement certified by the requester to be true and correct to the best of his or her knowledge. The statement mentioned in paragraph (iv) of this section must accompany the request in order to be considered and responded to within the 10 calendar days required for decisions on expedited access. Once the decision has been made to expedite the request for this reason, the request may be processed in the expedited processing queue behind those requests qualifying for compelling need.
(vi) Administrative appeals. These same procedures also apply to requests for expedited processing of administrative appeals.
(e) Use of exemptions. It is Army policy to make records publicly available, unless the record qualifies for exemption under one or more of the nine exemptions. Discretionary releases of information protected under the FOIA should be made only after full and deliberate consideration of the institutional, commercial, and personal privacy interests that could be implicated by disclosure of the information. When Army activities determine to withhold information using one of the nine exemptions, the Department of Justice (DOJ) will defend the position unless it is found to be lacking a Sound Legal Basis for denial.
(1) Parts of a requested record may be exempt from disclosure under the FOIA. The proper DA official may delete exempt information and release the remainder to the requester. The proper official also has the discretion under the FOIA to release exempt information when appropriate; he or she must exercise this discretion in a reasonable manner, within regulations consistent with current policy considerations. The excised copies shall clearly reflect the denied information by the use of brackets, indicating the removal of information. Bracketed areas must be sufficiently removed so as to reveal no information. The best means to ensure illegibility is to cut out the information from a copy of the document and reproduce the appropriate pages.
(2) If the document is declassified, all classification markings shall be lined through with a single black line, which will allow the markings to be read. The document shall then be stamped “Unclassified.”
(f) Public domain. Nonexempt records released under the authority of this part are considered to be in the public domain. Such records may also be made available in the DA reading room in paper form, as well as electronically, to facilitate public access. Exempt records disclosed without authorization by the appropriate Army FOIA official do not lose their exempt status. Also, while authority may exist to disclose records to individuals in their official capacity, the provisions of this part apply if the same individual seeks the records in a private or personal capacity.
(g) Creating a record. A record must exist and be in the possession and control of DA at the time of the search to be considered subject to this part and the FOIA. There is no obligation to create or compile a record to satisfy a FOIA request. An Army Activity, however, may compile a new record when so doing would result in a more useful response to the requester, or be less burdensome to the agency than providing existing records, and the requester does not object. Cost of creating or compiling such a record may not be charged to the requester unless the fee for creating the record is equal to or less than the fee that would be charged for providing the existing record. Fee assessments shall be in accordance with subpart F of this part.
(1) Concerning electronic data, the issue of whether records are actually created or merely extracted from an existing database is not always readily apparent. Consequently, when responding to FOIA requests for electronic data where creation of a record, programming, or particular format are questionable, Army Activities should apply a standard of reasonableness.
(2) If the capability exists to respond to the request, and the effort would be a business as usual approach, then the request should be processed. However, the request need not be processed where the capability to respond does not exist without a significant expenditure of resources, thus not being a normal business as usual approach. As used in this sense, a significant expenditure of resources in both time and/or manpower that would cause a significant interference with the operation of the Army Activity's automated information system would not be a business as usual approach.
(h) Description of requested record. Identification of the record desired is the responsibility of the requester. The requester must provide a description of the desired record that enables the Government to locate the record with a reasonable amount of effort. In order to assist Army Activities in conducting more timely searches, requesters should endeavor to provide as much identifying information as possible. When an Army Activity receives a request that does not reasonably describe the requested record, it shall contact the requester and afford the requester the opportunity to perfect the request. Army Activities are not obligated to act on the request until the requester perfects the request. When practicable, Army Activities shall contact the requester to aid in identifying the records sought and in reformulating the request to reduce the burden on the agency in complying with the Act. DA FOIA officials will reply to unclear requests by: Describing the defects in the requests; explaining the types of information described below, and ask the requester for such information; and explaining that no action will be taken on the request until the requester replies to the letter.
(1) The following guidelines are provided to deal with generalized requests and are based on the principle of reasonable effort. Descriptive information about a record may be divided into two broad categories: Category I is file-related and includes information such as type of record (for example, memorandum), title, index citation, subject area, date of record creation, and originator; Category II is event-related and includes the circumstances that resulted in the record being created or the date and circumstances surrounding the event the record covers.
(2) Generally, a record is not reasonably described unless the description contains sufficient Category I information to permit an organized, non random search based on the Army Activity's filing arrangements and existing retrieval systems, or unless the record contains sufficient Category II information to permit an inference of the Category I elements needed to conduct such a search.
(3) The following guidelines deal with requests for personal records. Ordinarily, when personal identifiers are provided only in connection with a request for records concerning the requester, only records in a PA system of records that can be retrieved by personal identifiers need be searched. However, if an Army Activity has reason to believe that records on the requester may exist in a record system other than a PA system, the Army Activity shall search that system under the provisions of the FOIA. In either case, Army Activities may request a reasonable description of the records desired before searching for such records under the provisions of the FOIA and the PA. If the record is required to be released under the FOIA, the Privacy Act does not bar its disclosure.
(4) The previous guidelines notwithstanding, the decision of the Army Activity concerning reasonableness of description must be based on knowledge of its files. If the description enables Army Activity personnel to locate the record with reasonable effort, the description is adequate. The fact that a FOIA request is broad or burdensome in its magnitude does not, in and of itself, entitle an Army Activity to deny the request on the ground that it does not reasonably describe the records sought. The key factor is the ability of the Army Activity's staff to reasonably ascertain and locate which records are being requested.
(i) Referrals. The Army FOIA referral policy is based upon the concept of the originator of a record making a release determination on its information. If an Army Activity receives a request for records originated by another Army Activity, it will contact the Army Activity to determine if it also received the request, and if not, obtain concurrence from the other Army Activity to refer the request. An Army Activity shall refer a FOIA request for a classified record that it holds to another Army Activity, DoD Component, or agency outside the DoD, if the record originated in another Army Activity or DoD Component or outside agency, or if the classification is derivative. In this situation, provide the record and a release recommendation on the record with the referral action. In either situation, the requester shall be advised of the action taken, unless exempt information would be revealed. While referrals to originators of information result in obtaining the best possible decision on release of the information, the policy does not relieve Army Activities from the responsibility of making a release decision on a record should the requester object to referral of the request and the record. Should this situation occur, Army Activities shall still coordinate with the originator of the information prior to making a release determination. A request received by an Army Activity having no records responsive to a request shall be referred routinely to another Army Activity, if the other Army Activity has reason to believe it has the requested records. Prior to notifying a requester of a referral to another Army Activity, the Army Activity receiving the initial request shall consult with the other Army Activity to determine if that Army Activity's association with the material is exempt. If the association is exempt, the Army Activity receiving the initial request will protect the association and any exempt information without revealing the identity of the protected Army Activity. The protected Army Activity should be responsible for submitting the justifications required in any litigation. Any Army Activity receiving a request that has been misaddressed shall refer the request to the proper address and advise the requester. Army Activities making referrals of requests for records shall include with the referral, a point of contact by name, a telephone number, and an e-mail address. If the office receiving the FOIA request does not know where the requested records are located, that activity will contact the DA, FOIA/PA Office, to determine the office where the request should be referred.
(1) An Army Activity shall refer for response directly to the requester a FOIA request for a record that it holds to another Army Activity or agency outside the Army, if the record originated in the other Army Activity or outside agency. Whenever a record or a portion of a record is referred to another Army Activity or to a Government Agency outside of the Army for a release determination and direct response, the requester shall be informed of the referral, unless it has been determined that notification would reveal exempt information. Referred records shall only be identified to the extent consistent with security requirements.
(2) An Army Activity may refer a request for a record that it originated to another Army Activity or agency when the other Army Activity or agency has a valid interest in the record, or the record was created for the use of the other Army Activity or agency. In such situations, provide the record and a release recommendation on the record with the referral action. Include a point of contact with the telephone number. An example of such a situation is a request for audit reports prepared by the U.S. Army Audit Agency. These advisory reports are prepared for the use of contracting officers and their release to the audited contractor shall be at the discretion of the contracting officer. A FOIA request shall be referred to the appropriate Army Activity and the requester shall be notified of the referral, unless exempt information would be revealed. Another example is a record originated by an Army Activity or agency that involves foreign relations, and could affect an Army Activity or organization in a host foreign country. Such a request and any responsive records may be referred to the affected Army Activity or organization for consultation prior to a final release determination within DA.
(3) Within DA, an Army Activity shall ordinarily refer a FOIA request and a copy of the record it holds but that originated with another Army Activity or that contains substantial information obtained from another Army Activity, to that Activity for direct response, after direct coordination and obtaining concurrence from the Activity. The requester then shall be notified of such referral. Army Activities shall not, in any case, release or deny such records without prior consultation with the other Army Activity.
(4) Army Activities that receive referred requests shall answer them in accordance with the time limits established by the FOIA, this part, and their multitrack processing queues, based upon the date of initial receipt of the request at the referring Activity or agency.
(5) Agencies outside DA that are subject to the FOIA.
(i) An Army Activity may refer a FOIA request for any record that originated in an agency outside DA or that is based on information obtained from an outside agency to the agency for direct response to the requester after coordination with the outside agency, if that agency is subject to FOIA. Otherwise, the Army Activity must respond to the request.
(ii) An Army Activity shall refer to the agency that provided the record any FOIA request for investigative, intelligence, or any other type of records that are on loan to DA for a specific purpose, if the records are restricted from further release and so marked. However, if for investigative or intelligence purposes, the outside agency desires anonymity, an Army Activity may only respond directly to the requester after coordination with the outside agency.
(6) Army Activities that receive requests for records of the National Security Council (NSC), the White House, or the White House Military Office (WHMO) shall process the requests. Army records in which the NSC or White House has a concurrent reviewing interest, and NSC, White House, or WHMO records discovered in Army Activity's files shall be forwarded through DA, FOIA/PA Office, to the Washington Headquarters Services, Office For Freedom of Information and Security Review (OFOISR). The OFOISR shall coordinate with the NSC, White House, or WHMO and return the records to the originating agency after coordination.
(7) To the extent referrals are consistent with the policies expressed by this section, referrals between offices of the same Army Activity are authorized.
(8) On occasion, the DA receives FOIA requests for Government Accountability Office (GAO) records containing Army information. Even though the GAO is outside the Executive Branch, and not subject to the FOIA, all FOIA requests for GAO documents containing Army information received either from the public or on referral from the GAO shall be processed under the provisions of the FOIA.
(j) Authentication. Records provided under this part shall be authenticated with an appropriate seal, whenever necessary, to fulfill an official Government or other legal function. This service, however, is in addition to that required under the FOIA and is not included in the FOIA fee schedule. Army Activities may charge for the service at a rate of $5.20 for each authentication.
(k) Records management. FOIA records shall be maintained and disposed of in accordance with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) General Records Schedule and DoD Component records schedules.
(l) Record-keeping requirements in accordance with the Army Records Information Management System (ARIMS). The records listed below are required by ARIMS in the conduct of the daily business of the Army to provide adequate and proper documentation to protect the rights and interests of individuals and the Federal Government. The full description of the records and their disposition is found at https://www2.arims.army.mil.
(1) FOIA requests, access, and denials;
(2) FOIA administrative files;
(3) FOIA appeals;
(4) FOIA controls;
(5) FOIA reports;
(6) Access to information files;
(7) Safeguarded nondefense information releases;
(8) Nonsafeguarded information releases;
(9) Unauthorized disclosure reports;
(10) Acknowledgement; and
(11) Initial Denial Authority designations/appointments.
(m) Relationship between the FOIA and the Privacy Act (PA). Not all requesters are knowledgeable of the appropriate statutory authority to cite when requesting records, nor are all of them aware of appeal procedures. In some instances, they may cite neither Act, but will imply one or both Acts. For these reasons, the below guidelines are provided to ensure that requesters receive the greatest amount of access rights under both Acts.
(1) If the record is required to be released under the FOIA, the PA does not bar its disclosure. Unlike the FOIA, the PA applies only to U.S. citizens and aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence.
(2) Requesters who seek records about themselves contained in a PA system of records and who cite or imply only the PA, will have their requests processed under the provisions of both the PA and the FOIA. If the PA system of records is exempt from the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552a(d)(1) and if the records, or any portion thereof, are exempt under the FOIA, the requester shall be so advised with the appropriate PA and FOIA exemption. Appeals shall be processed under both Acts.
(3) Requesters who seek records about themselves that are not contained in a Privacy Act system of records and who cite or imply the PA will have their requests processed under the provisions of the FOIA, since the PA does not apply to these records. Appeals shall be processed under the FOIA.
(4) Requesters who seek records about themselves that are contained in a PA system of records and who cite or imply the FOIA or both Acts will have their requests processed under the provisions of both the PA and the FOIA. If the PA system of records is exempt from the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552a(d)(1) and if the records, or any portion thereof, are exempt under the FOIA, the requester shall be so advised with the appropriate PA and FOIA exemption. Appeals shall be processed under both Acts.
(5) Requesters who seek access to agency records that are not part of a PA system of records, and who cite or imply the PA and FOIA, will have their requests processed under the FOIA since the PA does not apply to these records. Appeals shall be processed under the FOIA. Requesters who seek access to agency records and who cite or imply the FOIA will have their requests and appeals processed under the FOIA.
(6) Requesters shall be advised in the final response letter, which Act(s) was (were) used, inclusive of appeal rights as outlined in paragraphs (m)(1) through (5) of this section.
(n) Non-responsive information in responsive records. Army Activities shall interpret FOIA requests liberally when determining which records are responsive to the requests, and may release non-responsive information. However, should Army Activities desire to withhold non-responsive information, the following steps shall be accomplished:
(1) Consult with the requester, and ask if the requester views the information as responsive, and if not, seek the requester's concurrence to delete the non-responsive information without a FOIA exemption. Reflect this concurrence in the response letter.
(2) If the responsive record is unclassified, and the requester does not agree to deletion of non-responsive information without a FOIA exemption, release all non-responsive and responsive information that is not exempt. For non-responsive information that is exempt, notify the requester that even if the information were determined responsive, it would likely be exempt under (state appropriate exemption(s)). Advise the requester of the right to request this information under a separate FOIA request. The separate request shall be placed in the same location within the processing queue as the original request.
(3) If the responsive record is classified, and the requester does not agree to deletion of non-responsive information without a FOIA exemption, release all unclassified responsive and non-responsive information that is not exempt. The classified, non-responsive information need not be reviewed for declassification at this point. Advise the requester that even if the classified information were determined responsive, it would likely be exempt under 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(1), and other exemptions if appropriate. Advise the requester of the right to request this information under a separate FOIA request. The separate request shall be placed in the same location within the processing queue as the original request.
(o) Honoring form or format requests. Army Activities shall provide the record in any form or format requested by the requester if the record is readily reproducible in that form or format. Army Activities shall make reasonable efforts to maintain their records in forms or formats that are reproducible. In responding to requests for records, Army Activities shall make reasonable efforts to search for records in electronic form or format, except when such efforts would significantly interfere with the operation of the Army Activities' automated information system. Such determinations shall be made on a case-by-case basis.
Subpart B—FOIA Reading Rooms
§518.9 Reading room.
(a) Reading room location. The DA shall provide an appropriate facility or facilities where the public may inspect and copy or have copied the records described in paragraphs (b)(1) through (4) of this section. In addition to the records described, DA may elect to place other records in their reading room, and also make them electronically available to the public. The Army may share reading room facilities with DoD Components if the public is not unduly inconvenienced, and also may establish decentralized reading rooms. When appropriate, the cost of copying may be imposed on the person requesting the material in accordance with the provisions of subpart F of this part. The Army FOIA Public Reading Room is operated by the DA, FOIA/PA Office.
(b) Record availability. The FOIA requires that records described in 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(2)(A), (B), (C), and (D) created on or after November 1, 1996, shall be made available electronically, as well as in hard copy in the FOIA reading room for inspection and copying, unless such records are published and copies are offered for sale. All portions determined to be exempt in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552 (reference (a)) shall be deleted from all 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(2) records made available to the general public. In every case, justification for the deletion must be fully explained in writing, and the extent of such deletion shall be indicated on the record that is made publicly available, unless such indication would harm an interest protected by an exemption under which the deletion was made. If technically feasible, the extent of the deletion in electronic records or any other form of record shall be indicated at the place in the record where the deletion was made. However, the Army may publish in the Federal Register a description of the basis upon which it will delete identifying details of particular types of records to avoid clearly unwarranted invasions of privacy, or competitive harm to business submitters. In appropriate cases, the Army may refer to this description rather than write a separate justification for each deletion. 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(2)(A), (B), (C), and (D) records are:
(1) (a)(2)(A) records. Final opinions, including concurring and dissenting opinions, and orders made in the adjudication of cases, as defined in 5 U.S.C. 551, that may be cited, used, or relied upon as precedents in future adjudications;
(2) (a)(2)(B) records. Statements of policy and interpretations that have been adopted by the agency that are not published in the Federal Register; and
(3) (a)(2)(C) records. Administrative staff manuals and instructions, or portions thereof that establish Army policy or interpretations of policy that affect a member of the public. This provision does not apply to instructions for employees on tactics and techniques to be used in performing their duties, or to instructions relating only to the internal management of the Army. Examples of manuals and instructions not normally made available are:
(i) Those issued for audit, investigation, and inspection purposes, or those that prescribe operational tactics, standards of performance, or criteria for defense, prosecution, or settlement of cases; and
(ii) Operations and maintenance manuals and technical information concerning munitions, equipment, systems, and intelligence activities.
(4) (a)(2)(D) records. Those 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(3) records, which because of the nature of the subject matter, have become or are likely to become the subject of subsequent requests for substantially the same records. These records are referred to as FOIA-processed (a)(2) records.
(i) Army Activities shall decide on a case by case basis whether records fall into this category, based on previous experience of the Army Activity with similar records; particular circumstances of the records involved, including their nature and the type of information contained in them; or the identity and number of requesters and whether there is widespread press, historic, or commercial interest in the records.
(ii) This provision is intended for situations where public access in a timely manner is important, and it is not intended to apply where there may be a limited number of requests over a short period of time from a few requesters. Army Activities may remove the records from this access medium when the appropriate officials determine that access is no longer necessary.
(iii) Should a requester submit a FOIA request for FOIA-processed (a)(2) records, and insist that the request be processed, Army Activities shall process the FOIA request. However, Army Activities have no obligation to process a FOIA request for 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(2)(A), (B), and (C) records because these records are required to be made public and not FOIA-processed under paragraph (a)(3) of the FOIA.
§518.10 “(a)(2)” materials.
(a) The DA FOIA/PA Office shall maintain in the facility an index of materials described in paragraphs (b)(1) through (4) of §518.9, that are issued, adopted, or promulgated after July 4, 1967. No “(a)(2)” materials issued, promulgated, or adopted after July 4, 1967 that are not indexed and either made available or published may be relied upon, used or cited as precedent against any individual unless such individual has actual and timely notice of the contents of such materials. Such materials issued, promulgated, or adopted before July 4, 1967 need not be indexed, but must be made available upon request if not exempted under this part.
(b) The DA FOIA/PA Office shall promptly publish quarterly or more frequently, and distribute, by sale or otherwise, copies of each index of “(a)(2)” materials or supplements thereto unless it publishes in the Federal Register an order containing a determination that publication is unnecessary and impracticable. A copy of each index or supplement not published shall be provided to a requester at a cost not to exceed the direct cost of duplication as set forth in subpart F of this part.
(c) Each index of “(a)(2)” materials or supplement thereto shall be arranged topically or by descriptive words rather than by case name or numbering system so that members of the public can readily locate material. Case name and numbering arrangements, however, may also be included for Army convenience.
(d) A general index of FOIA-processed (a)(2) records shall be made available to the public, both in hard copy and electronically.
§518.11 Other materials.
(a) Any available index of Army material published in the Federal Register, such as material required to be published by section 552(a)(1) of the FOIA, shall be made available in the Army FOIA Public Reading Room, and electronically to the public.
(b) Although not required to be made available in response to FOIA requests or made available in FOIA Reading Rooms, “(a)(1)” materials shall, when feasible, be made available to the public in FOIA reading rooms for inspection and copying, and by electronic means. Examples of “(a)(1)” materials are descriptions of an agency's central and field organization, and to the extent they affect the public, rules of procedures, descriptions of forms available, instruction as to the scope and contents of papers, reports, or examinations, and any amendment, revision, or report of the aforementioned.
Records that meet the exemption criteria of the FOIA may be withheld from public disclosure and need not be published in the Federal Register, made available in a library reading room, or provided in response to a FOIA request.
§518.13 FOIA exemptions.
The following types of records may be withheld in whole or in part from public disclosure under the FOIA, unless otherwise prescribed by law. A discretionary release of a record to one requester shall prevent the withholding of the same record under a FOIA exemption if the record is subsequently requested by someone else. However, a FOIA exemption may be invoked to withhold information that is similar or related to that which has been the subject of a discretionary release. In applying exemptions, the identity of the requester and the purpose for which the record is sought are irrelevant with the exception that an exemption may not be invoked where the particular interest to be protected is the requester's interest. However, if the subject of the record is the requester for the record and the record is contained in a PA system of records, it may only be denied to the requester if withholding is both authorized by AR 25-71 and by a FOIA exemption.
(a) Number 1 (5 U.S.C. 552 (b)(1)). Those properly and currently classified in the interest of national defense or foreign policy, as specifically authorized under the criteria established by Executive Order and implemented by regulations, such as DoD 5200.1-R. Although material is not classified at the time of the FOIA request, a classification review may be undertaken to determine whether the information should be classified. The procedures in DoD 5200.1-R apply. If the information qualifies as exemption 1 information, there is no discretion regarding its release. In addition, this exemption shall be invoked when the following situations are apparent:
(1) The fact of the existence or nonexistence of a record would itself reveal classified information. In this situation, Army Activities shall neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence of the record being requested. A “refusal to confirm or deny” response must be used consistently, not only when a record exists, but also when a record does not exist. Otherwise, the pattern of using a “no record” response when a record does not exist, and a “refusal to confirm or deny” when a record does exist will itself disclose national security information.
(2) Compilations of items of information that are individually unclassified may be classified if the compiled information reveals additional association or relationship that meets the standard for classification under an existing executive order for classification and DoD 5200.1-R, and is not otherwise revealed in the individual items of information.
(b) Number 2 (5 U.S.C. 552(b)(2)). Those related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of the DoD or any of its Components. This exemption has two profiles, high (b)(2) and low (b)(2). Activities are encouraged to consult the DA, FOIA/PA Office, and the U.S. DoJ “Freedom of Information Act Guide & Privacy Act Overview” for a more in depth discussion on the legal history of the use of the low (b)(2) exemption. When only a minimal Government interest would be affected (administrative burden), Army Activities shall apply the sound legal basis standard regarding disclosure of the information. Army Activities shall apply the low 2 exemption as applicable.
(1) Records qualifying under high (b)(2) are those containing or constituting statutes, rules, regulations, orders, manuals, directives, instructions, security classification guides, and sensitive but unclassified information related to America's homeland security and critical infrastructure information the release of which would allow circumvention of these records thereby substantially hindering the effective performance or present an unwarranted risk of adverse impact on the ability of other agencies to protect other important records of a significant function of the DA. Examples include:
(i) Those operating rules, guidelines, and manuals for Army investigators, inspectors, auditors, or examiners that must remain privileged in order for the Army Activity to fulfill a legal requirement;
(ii) Personnel and other administrative matters, such as examination questions and answers used in training courses or in the determination of the qualifications of candidates for employment, entrance on duty, advancement, or promotion; and
(iii) Computer software, the release of which would allow circumvention of a statute, DoD or Army rules, regulations, orders, manuals, directives, or instructions. In this situation, the use of the software must be closely examined to ensure a circumvention possibility exists.
(2) Records qualifying under the low (b)(2) profile are those that are trivial and housekeeping in nature for which there is no legitimate public interest or benefit to be gained by release, and it would constitute an administrative burden to process the request in order to disclose the records. Examples include rules of personnel's use of parking facilities or regulation of lunch hours, statements of policy as to sick leave, and administrative data such as file numbers, mail routing stamps, initials, data processing notations, brief references to previous communications, and other like administrative markings. Army Activities shall apply the low 2 exemption as applicable.
(c) Number 3 (5 U.S.C. 552(b)(3)). Those concerning matters that a statute specifically exempts from disclosure by terms that permit no discretion on the issue, or in accordance with criteria established by that statute for withholding or referring to particular types of matters to be withheld. The DA, FOIA/PA Office, maintains a list of (b)(3) statutes used within the DoD, and provides updated lists of these statutes to Army Activities on a periodic basis. A few examples of such statutes are:
(1) Personnel in Overseas, Sensitive, or Routinely Deployable Units: nondisclosure of personally identifying information, 10 U.S.C. 130(b). Additionally, the names and duty addresses (postal and/or e-mail) of Army military and civilian personnel who are assigned to units that are sensitive, routinely deployable, or stationed in foreign territories can constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy and may also be withheld in accordance with FOIA Exemption 3. Names and duty addresses (postal and/or e-mail) published in telephone directories, organizational charts, rosters and similar materials for personnel assigned to units that are sensitive, routinely deployable, or stationed in foreign territories are withholdable under this exemption, in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 130 ‘Personnel in Overseas, Sensitive, or Routinely Deployable Units’;
(2) Classification and Declassification of Restricted Data, 42 U.S.C. 2162;
(3) Disclosure of Classified Information, 18 U.S.C. 798(a);
(4) Authority to Withhold from Public Disclosure Certain Technical Data, 10 U.S.C. 130 and DoDD 5230.25;
(5) Confidentiality of Medical Quality Assurance Records: Qualified Immunity for Participants, 10 U.S.C. 1102(f);
(6) Physical Protection of Special Nuclear Material: Limitation on Dissemination of Unclassified Information, 10 U.S.C. 128;
(7) Protection of Intelligence Sources and Methods, 50 U.S.C. 403-3(c)(6);
(8) Prohibition on Release of Contractor Submitted Proposals, 10 U.S.C. 2305(g);
(9) Restrictions on Disclosing and Obtaining Contractor Bid or Proposal Information or Source Selection Information, 41 U.S.C. 423; and
(10) Secrecy of Certain Inventions and Filing Applications in a Foreign Country, 35 U.S.C. 181-188. Any records containing information relating to inventions that are the subject of patent applications on which Patent Secrecy Orders have been issued.
(d) Number 4 (5 U.S.C. 552(b)(4)). Those containing trade secrets or commercial or financial information that an Army Activity receives from a person or organization outside the Government with the understanding that the information or record will be retained on a privileged or confidential basis in accordance with the customary handling of such records. Records within the exemption must contain trade secrets, or commercial or financial records, the disclosure of which is likely to cause substantial harm to the competitive position of the source providing the information, impair the Government's ability to obtain necessary information in the future, or impair some other legitimate Government interest. Commercial or financial information submitted on a voluntary basis, absent any exercised authority prescribing criteria for submission is protected without any requirement to show competitive harm. If the information qualifies as exemption 4 information, there is no discretion in its release. Examples include:
(1) Commercial or financial information received in confidence in connection with loans, bids, contracts, or proposals set forth in or incorporated by reference in a contract entered into between the Army Activity and the offeror that submitted the proposal, as well as other information received in confidence or privileged, such as trade secrets, inventions, discoveries, or other proprietary data. Additionally, when the provisions of 10 U.S.C. 2305(g) and 41 U.S.C. 423 are met, certain proprietary and source selection information may be withheld under exemption 3;
(2) Statistical data and commercial or financial information concerning contract performance, income, profits, losses, and expenditures, if offered and received in confidence from a contractor or potential contractor;
(3) Personal statements given in the course of inspections, investigations, or audits, when such statements are received in confidence from the individual and retained in confidence because they reveal trade secrets or commercial or financial information normally considered confidential or privileged;
(4) Financial data provided in confidence by private employers in connection with locality wage surveys that are used to fix and adjust pay schedules applicable to the prevailing wage rate of employees within the DA;
(5) Scientific and manufacturing processes or developments concerning technical or scientific data or other information submitted with an application for a research grant, or with a report while research is in progress;
(6) Technical or scientific data developed by a contractor or subcontractor exclusively at private expense, and technical or scientific data developed in part with Federal funds and in part at private expense, wherein the contractor or subcontractor has retained legitimate proprietary interests in such data in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 2320-2311 and DoD Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS), subpart 27.4. Technical data developed exclusively with Federal funds may be withheld under Exemption Number 3 if it meets the criteria of 10 U.S.C. 130 and DoDD 5230.25;
(7) Computer software, which is copyrighted in accordance with 17 U.S.C. 106, ‘Exclusive rights in Copyrighted Works,’ the disclosure of which would have an adverse impact on the potential market value of a copyrighted work; and
(8) Proprietary information submitted strictly on a voluntary basis, absent any exercised authority prescribing criteria for submission. Examples of exercised authorities prescribing criteria for submission are statutes, Executive Orders, regulations, invitations for bids, requests for proposals, and contracts. Submission of information under these authorities is not voluntary.
(e) Number 5 (5 U.S.C. 552(b)(5)). Those containing information considered privileged in litigation, primarily under the deliberative process privilege. Except as provided in paragraphs (e)(1) through (5) of this section, internal advice, recommendations, and subjective evaluations, as contrasted with factual matters that are reflected in deliberative records pertaining to the decision-making process of an agency, whether within or among agencies (as defined in 5 U.S.C. 552(e)), or within or among Army Activities. In order to meet the test of this exemption, the record must be both deliberative in nature, as well as part of a decision-making process. Merely being an internal record is insufficient basis for withholding under this exemption. Also potentially exempted are records pertaining to the attorney-client privilege and the attorney work-product privilege. Discretionary disclosure decisions should be made only after full and deliberate consideration of the institutional, commercial, and personal privacy interests that could be implicated by disclosure of the information.
(1) Examples of the deliberative process include:
(i) The non-factual portions of staff papers, to include after-action reports, lessons learned, and situation reports containing staff evaluations, advice, opinions, or suggestions;
(ii) Advice, suggestions, or evaluations prepared on behalf of the DA by individual consultants or by boards, committees, councils, groups, panels, conferences, commissions, task forces, or other similar groups that are formed for the purpose of obtaining advice and recommendations;
(iii) Those non-factual portions of evaluations by DoD Component personnel of contractors and their products;
(iv) Information of a speculative, tentative, or evaluative nature or such matters as proposed plans to procure, lease or otherwise acquire and dispose of materials, real estate, facilities or functions, when such information would provide undue or unfair competitive advantage to private personal interests or would impede legitimate government functions;
(v) Trade secret or other confidential research development, or commercial information owned by the Government, where premature release is likely to affect the Government's negotiating position or other commercial interest;
(vi) Those portions of official reports of inspection, reports of the Inspector Generals, audits, investigations, or surveys pertaining to safety, security, or the internal management, administration, or operation of one or more Army Activities, when these records have traditionally been treated by the courts as privileged against disclosure in litigation; and
(vii) Planning, programming, and budgetary information that is involved in the defense planning and resource allocation process.
(2) If any such intra- or inter-agency record or reasonably segregable portion of such record hypothetically would be made available routinely through the discovery process in the course of litigation with the Army, then it should not be withheld under the FOIA. If, however, the information hypothetically would not be released at all, or would only be released in a particular case during civil discovery where a party's particularized showing of need might override a privilege, then the record may be withheld. Discovery is the formal process by which litigants obtain information from each other for use in the litigation. Consult with legal counsel to determine whether exemption 5 material would be routinely made available through the discovery process.
(3) Intra- or inter-agency memoranda or letters that are factual, or those reasonably segregable portions that are factual, are routinely made available through discovery, and shall be made available to a requester, unless the factual material is otherwise exempt from release, inextricably intertwined with the exempt information, so fragmented as to be uninformative, or so redundant of information already available to the requester as to provide no new substantive information.
(4) A direction or order from a superior to a subordinate, though contained in an internal communication, generally cannot be withheld from a requester if it constitutes policy guidance or a decision, as distinguished from a discussion of preliminary matters or a request for information or advice that would compromise the decision-making process.
(5) An internal communication concerning a decision that subsequently has been made a matter of public record must be made available to a requester when the rationale for the decision is expressly adopted or incorporated by reference in the record containing the decision.
(f) Number 6 (5 U.S.C. 552(b)(6)). Information in personnel and medical files, as well as similar personal information in other files, and lists of personally identifying information of Army personnel, that, if disclosed to a requester, other than the person about whom the information is about, would result in a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. Release of information about an individual contained in a Privacy Act System of Records that would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy is prohibited, and could subject the releaser to civil and criminal penalties. If the information qualifies as exemption 6 information, there is no discretion regarding its release.
(1) Examples of other files containing personal information similar to that contained in personnel and medical files include:
(i) Those compiled to evaluate or adjudicate the suitability of candidates for civilian employment or membership in the Armed Forces, and the eligibility of individuals (civilian, military, or contractor employees) for security clearances, or for access to particularly sensitive classified information; and
(ii) Files containing reports, records, and other material pertaining to personnel matters in which administrative action, including disciplinary action, may be taken.
(2) Army components shall ordinarily withhold lists of names (including active duty military, civilian employees, contractors, members of the National Guard and Reserves, and military dependents) and other personally identifying information, including lists of e-mail addresses of personnel currently or recently assigned within a particular component, unit, organization, or office within the Army. Home addresses, including private e-mail addresses, are normally not releasable without the consent of the individuals concerned. This includes lists of home addresses and military quarters' addressees without the occupant's name.
(i) Privacy Interest. A privacy interest may exist in personal information even though the information has been disclosed at some place and time. If personal information is not freely available from sources other than the Federal Government, a privacy interest exists in its nondisclosure. The fact that the Federal Government expended funds to prepare, index and maintain records on personal information, and the fact that a requester invokes FOIA to obtain these records indicates the information is not freely available.
(ii) The right to privacy of deceased persons is not entirely settled, but the majority rule is that death extinguishes their privacy rights. However, particularly sensitive, graphic, personal details about the circumstances surrounding an individual's death may be withheld when necessary to protect the privacy interests of surviving family members. Even information that is not particularly sensitive in and of itself may be withheld to protect the privacy interests of surviving family members if disclosure would rekindle grief, anguish, pain, embarrassment, or cause a disruption of their peace of minds. Additionally, the deceased's social security number should be withheld since it is used by the next of kin to receive benefits. Disclosures of the deceased's social security number may be made to the immediate next of kin.
(iii) A clearly unwarranted invasion of the privacy of third parties identified in a personnel, medical or similar record constitutes a basis for deleting those reasonably segregable portions of that record. When withholding third party personal information from the subject of the record and the record is contained in a Privacy Act system of records, consult with legal counsel.
(iv) This exemption also applies when the fact of the existence or nonexistence of a responsive record would itself reveal personally private information, and the public interest in disclosure is not sufficient to outweigh the privacy interest. In this situation, Army Activities shall neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence of the record being requested. This is a “Glomar” response, and exemption 6 must be cited in the response. Additionally, in order to ensure personal privacy is not violated during referrals, Army Activities shall coordinate telephonically or in person with other Army Activities or DoD Components or Federal Agencies before referring a record that is exempt under the “Glomar” concept. See Phillippi v. CIA, 546 F.2d 1009 (DC Cir. 1976).
(v) A “refusal to confirm or deny” response must be used consistently, not only when a record exists, but also when a record does not exist. Otherwise, the pattern of using a “no records” response when a record does not exist and a “refusal to confirm or deny” when a record does exist will itself disclose personally private information. Refusal to confirm or deny should not be used when:
(A) The person whose personal privacy is in jeopardy has provided the requester a waiver of his or her privacy rights;
(B) The person initiated or directly participated in an investigation that lead to the creation of an agency record seeks access to that record; or
(C) The person whose personal privacy is in jeopardy is deceased, the Agency is aware of that fact, and disclosure would not invade the privacy of the deceased's family.
(g) Number 7 (5 U.S.C. 552(b)(7)). Records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, i.e., civil, criminal, or military, including the implementation of Executive Orders or regulations issued pursuant to law. This exemption may be invoked to prevent disclosure of documents not originally created for, but later gathered for law enforcement purposes. With the exception of parts (C) and (F), this exemption is discretionary. If information qualifies as exemption (7)(C) or (7)(F) information, there is no discretion in its release.
(1) This exemption applies, however, only to the extent that production of such law enforcement records or information could result in the following:
(i) Could reasonably be expected to interfere with law enforcement proceedings (5 U.S.C. 552(b)(7)(A));
(ii) Would deprive a person of the right to a fair trial or to an impartial adjudication (5 U.S.C. 552(b)(7)(B));
(iii) Could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of the personal privacy of a living person, or to surviving family members of an individual identified in such a record (5 U.S.C. 552(b)(7)(C));
(iv) This exemption also applies when the fact of the existence or nonexistence of a responsive record would itself reveal personally private information, and the public interest in disclosure is not sufficient to outweigh the privacy interest. In this situation, Activities shall neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence of the record being requested. This is a “Glomar” response, and exemption (7)(C) must be cited in the response. Additionally, in order to ensure personal privacy is not violated during referrals, Army Activities shall coordinate with other Army Activities or DoD Components or Federal Agencies before referring a record that is exempt under the “Glomar” concept;
(v) A “refusal to confirm or deny” response must be used consistently, not only when a record exists, but also when a record does not exist. Otherwise, the pattern of using a “no records” response when a record does not exist and a “refusal to confirm or deny” when a record does exist will itself disclose personally private information;
(vi) Refusal to confirm or deny should not be used when the person whose personal privacy is in jeopardy has provided the requester with a waiver of his or her privacy rights; or the person whose personal privacy is in jeopardy is deceased, and the Agency is aware of that fact and disclosure would not invade the privacy of the deceased's family;
(vii) Could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source, including a source within DoD, a State, local, or foreign agency or authority, or any private institution that furnishes the information on a confidential basis; and could disclose information furnished from a confidential source and obtained by a criminal law enforcement authority in a criminal investigation or by an agency conducting a lawful national security intelligence investigation (5 U.S.C. 552(b)(7)(D));
(viii) Would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions if such disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law (5 U.S.C. 552(b)(7)(E)); or
(ix) Could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual (5 U.S.C. 552(b)(7)(F)).
(2) Some examples of exemption 7 are:
(i) Statements of witnesses and other material developed during the course of the investigation and all materials prepared in connection with related Government litigation or adjudicative proceedings;
(ii) The identity of firms or individuals being investigated for alleged irregularities involving contracting with the DoD when no indictment has been obtained or any civil action filed against them by the United States; and
(iii) Information obtained in confidence, expressed or implied, in the course of a criminal investigation by a criminal law enforcement agency or office within an Army Activity or a DoD Component, or a lawful national security intelligence investigation conducted by an authorized agency or office within an Army Activity or a DoD Component. National security intelligence investigations include background security investigations and those investigations conducted for the purpose of obtaining affirmative or counterintelligence information.
(3) The right of individual litigants to investigative records currently available by law (such as, the Jencks Act, 18 U.S.C. 3500), is not diminished.
(4) Excluded from exemption 7 are two situations applicable to DoD. (Activities considering invoking an exclusion based on the following scenarios should first consult through legal counsel, to the DoJ, Office of Information and Privacy (DoJ OIP).
(i) Whenever a request is made that involves access to records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, and the investigation or proceeding involves a possible violation of criminal law where there is reason to believe that the subject of the investigation or proceeding is unaware of its pendency, and the disclosure of the existence of the records could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings, Activities may, during only such times as that circumstance continues, treat the records or information as not subject to the FOIA. In such a situation, the response to the requester will state that no records were found.
(ii) Whenever informant records maintained by a criminal law enforcement organization within an Army Activity or a DoD Component under the informant's name or personal identifier are requested by a third party using the informant's name or personal identifier, the Activity may treat the records as not subject to the FOIA, unless the informant's status as an informant has been officially confirmed. If it is determined that the records are not subject to 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(7), the response to the requester will state that no records were found.
(h) Number 8 (5 U.S.C. 552 (b)(8)). Those contained in or related to examination, operation or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of any agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions.
(i) Number 9 (5 U.S.C. 552 (b)(9)). Those containing geological and geophysical information and data (including maps) concerning wells.
Subpart D—For Official Use Only
Information that has not been given a security classification pursuant to the criteria of an Executive Order, but which may be withheld from the public because disclosure would cause harm to an interest protected by one or more FOIA exemptions 2 through 9 (see Subpart C of this part) shall be considered as being for official use only (FOUO). No other material shall be considered FOUO and FOUO is not authorized as an additional form of classification to protect national security interests. Additional information on FOUO and other controlled, unclassified information may be found in DoD 5200.1-R, “Information Security Program” or by contacting the DA FOIA/PA Office.
Subpart E—Release and Processing Procedures
§518.15 General provisions.
(a) Since the policy of the DoD is to make the maximum amount of information available to the public consistent with its other responsibilities, written requests for an Army record made under the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552 (a)(3) of the FOIA may be denied only when:
(1) The record is subject to one or more of the exemptions of the FOIA;
(2) The record has not been described well enough to enable the Army Activity to locate it with a reasonable amount of effort by an employee familiar with the files; or
(3) The requester has failed to comply with the procedural requirements, including the written agreement to pay or payment of any required fee imposed by the instructions of the Army Activity concerned. When personally identifiable information in a record is requested by the subject of the record or his attorney, notarization of the request, or a statement certifying under the penalty of perjury that their identity is true and correct may be required. Additionally, written consent of the subject of the record is required for disclosure from a PA system of records, to include the subject's attorney.
(4) Release of information under the FOIA can have an adverse impact on OPSEC. The Army implementing directive for OPSEC is AR 530-1. It requires that OPSEC points of contact be named for all HQDA staff agencies and for all commands down to battalion level. The FOIA official for the staff agency or command will use DA Form 4948-R to announce the OPSEC/FOIA advisor for the command. Persons named as OPSEC points of contact will be OPSEC/FOIA advisors. Command OPSEC/FOIA advisors should implement the policies and procedures in AR 530-1, consistent with this part and with the following considerations:
(i) Documents or parts of documents properly classified in the interest of national security must be protected. Classified documents may be released in response to a FOIA request only under AR 380-5, Chapter III. AR 380-5 provides that if parts of a document are not classified and can be segregated with reasonable ease, they may be released, but parts requiring continued protection must be clearly identified.
(ii) The release of unclassified documents could violate national security. When this appears possible, OPSEC/FOIA advisors should request a classification evaluation of the document by its proponent under AR 380-5, paragraphs 2-204, 2-600, 2-800, and 2-801. In such cases, other FOIA exemptions may also apply.
(iii) A combination of unclassified documents, or parts of them, could combine to supply information that might violate national security if released. When this appears possible, OPSEC/FOIA advisors should consider classifying the combined information per AR 380-5, paragraph 2-211.
(iv) A document or information may not be properly or currently classified when a FOIA request for it is received. In this case, the request may not be denied on the grounds that the document or information is classified except in accordance with Executive Order 12958 as amended, section 1.6(d), and AR 380-5, paragraph 2-204, and with approval of the Army OGC.
(5) OPSEC/FOIA advisors will; advise persons processing FOIA requests on related OPSEC requirements; help custodians of requested documents prepare requests for classification evaluations; and help custodians of requested documents identify the parts of documents that must remain classified under this section and AR 380-5.
(6) OPSEC/FOIA advisors do not, by their actions, relieve FOIA personnel and custodians processing FOIA requests of their responsibility to protect classified or exempted information.
(b) The provisions of the FOIA are reserved for persons with private interests as opposed to U.S. Federal Agencies seeking official information. Requests from private persons will be made in writing, and should clearly show all other addressees within the Federal Government to which the request was also sent. This procedure will reduce processing time requirements, and ensure better inter- and intra-agency coordination. However, if the requester does not show all other addressees to which the request was also sent, Army Activities shall still process the request. Army Activities should encourage requesters to send requests by mail, facsimile, or by electronic means. Disclosure of records to individuals under the FOIA is considered public release of information, except as provided in this paragraph. DA officials will release the following records, upon request, to the persons specified below, even though these records are exempt from release to the general public. The statutory 20 working day limit applies.
(1) Medical records. Commanders or chiefs of medical treatment facilities will release information:
(i) On the condition of sick or injured patients to the patient's relatives to the extent permitted by law and regulation.
(ii) That a patient's condition has become critical to the nearest known relative or to the person the patient has named to be informed in an emergency.
(iii) That a diagnosis of psychosis has been made to the nearest known relative or to the person named by the patient.
(iv) On births, deaths, and cases of communicable diseases to local officials (if required by local laws).
(v) Copies of records of present or former soldiers, dependents, civilian employees, or patients in DA medical facilities will be released to the patient or to the patient's representative on written request. The attending physician can withhold records if he or she thinks that release may injure the patient's mental or physical health; in that case, copies of records will be released to the patient's next of kin or legal representative or to the doctor or dentist chosen by the patient. If the patient is adjudged insane, or dies, the copies will be released, on written request, to the patient's next of kin or legal representative.
(vi) Copies of records may be given to a Federal or State hospital or penal institution if the person concerned is an inmate or patient there.
(vii) Copies of records or information from them may be given to authorized representatives of certain agencies. The National Academy of Sciences, the National Research Council, and other accredited agencies are eligible to receive such information when they are engaged in cooperative studies, with the approval of The Surgeon General of the Army. However, certain information on drug and alcohol use cannot be released. AR 600-85 covers the Army's substance abuse program.
(viii) Copies of pertinent parts of a patient's records can be furnished to the staff judge advocate or legal officer of the command in connection with the Government's collection of a claim. If proper, the legal officer can release this information to the tortfeasor's insurer without the patient's consent.
Note: Information released to third parties must be accompanied by a statement of the conditions of release. The statement will specify that the information not be disclosed to other persons except as privileged communication between doctor and patient.
(2) Military personnel records. Military personnel records will be released under these conditions:
(i) DA must provide specific information about a person's military service (statement of military service) in response to a request by that person or with that person's written consent to his or her legal representative;
(ii) Papers relating to applications for, designation of beneficiaries under, and allotments to pay premiums for, National Service Life Insurance or Serviceman's Group Life Insurance will be released to the applicant or to the insured. If the insured is adjudged insane (evidence of an insanity judgment must be included) or dies, the records will be released, on request, to designated beneficiaries or to the next of kin;
(iii) Copies of DA documents that record the death of a soldier, a dependent, or a civilian employee will be released, on request, to that person's next of kin, life insurance carrier, and legal representative. A person acting on behalf of someone else concerned with the death (e.g., the executor of a will) may also obtain copies by submitting a written request that includes evidence of his or her representative capacity. That representative may give written consent for release to others; or
(iv) Papers relating to the pay and allowances or allotments of a present or former soldier will be released to the soldier or his or her authorized representative. If the soldier is deceased, these papers will be released to the next of kin or legal representatives.
(3) Civilian personnel records. Civilian Personnel Officers (CPO) with custody of papers relating to the pay and allowances or allotments of current or former civilian employees will release them to the employee or his or her authorized representative. If the employee is deceased, these records will be released to the next of kin or legal representative. However, a CPO cannot release statements of witnesses, medical records, or other reports or documents pertaining to compensation for injuries or death of a DA civilian employee.
(4) Accused persons. Release of information to the public concerning accused persons before determination of the case. Such release may prejudice the accused's opportunity for a fair and impartial determination of the case. The following procedures apply:
(i) The following information concerning persons accused of an offense may be released by the convening authority to public news agencies or media. The accused's name, grade or rank, unit, regular assigned duties, and other information as allowed by AR 25-71, paragraph 3-3a. The substance or text of the offense of which the person is accused. The identity of the apprehending or investigating agency and the length or scope of the investigation before apprehension. The factual circumstances immediately surrounding the apprehension, including the time and place of apprehension, resistance, or pursuit. The type and place of custody, if any;
(ii) Information that will not be released. Before evidence has been presented in open court, subjective observations or any information not incontrovertibly factual will not be released. Background information or information relating to the circumstances of an apprehension may be prejudicial to the best interests of the accused, and will not be released unless it serves a law enforcement function. The following kinds of information will not be released: Observations or comments on an accused's character and demeanor, including those at the time of apprehension and arrest or during pretrial custody. Statements, admissions, confessions, or alibis attributable to an accused, or the fact of refusal or failure of the accused to make a statement. Reference to confidential sources, investigative techniques and procedures, investigator notes, and activity files. This includes reference to fingerprint tests, polygraph examinations, blood tests, firearms identification tests, or similar laboratory tests or examinations. Statements as to the identity, credibility, or testimony of prospective witnesses. Statements concerning evidence or argument in the case, whether or not that evidence or argument may be used at the trial. Any opinion on the accused's guilt. Any opinion on the possibility of a plea of guilty to the offense charged, or of a plea to a lesser offense;
(iii) Other considerations. Photographing or televising the accused. DA personnel should not encourage or volunteer assistance to news media in photographing or televising an accused or suspected person being held or transported in military custody. DA representatives should not make photographs of an accused or suspect available unless a law enforcement function is served. Requests from news media to take photographs during courts-martial are governed by AR 360-1;
(iv) Fugitives from justice. This section does not restrict the release of information to enlist public aid in apprehending a fugitive from justice; or
(v) Exceptional cases. Permission to release information from military personnel records to public news agencies or media may be requested from The Judge Advocate General (TJAG). Requests for information from military personnel records will be processed according to this part.
(5) Litigation, tort claims, and contract disputes. Release of information or records under this section are subject to the time limitations prescribed by the FOIA. The requester must be advised of the reasons for nonrelease or referral.
(i) Litigation. Each request for a record related to pending litigation involving the United States will be referred to the staff judge advocate or legal officer of the command. He or she will promptly inform the Litigation Division, U.S. Army Legal Services Agency (USALSA), of the substance of the request and the content of the record requested. (Mailing address: Army Litigation Division, U.S. Army Legal Services Agency (USALSA), 9275 Gunston Road, Fort Belvoir, VA 22060. If information is released for use in litigation involving the United States, the Chief, Army Litigation Division (AR 27-40, para 1-4d) must be advised of the release. He or she will note the release in such investigative reports. Information or records normally exempted from release (i.e., personnel and medical records) may be releasable to the judge or court concerned, for use in litigation to which the United States is not a party. Refer such requests to the local staff judge advocate or legal officer, who will coordinate it with the Litigation Center, USALSA.
(ii) Tort claims. A claimant or a claimant's attorney may request a record that relates to a pending administrative tort claim filed against the DA. Refer such requests promptly to the claims approving or settlement authority that has monetary jurisdiction over the pending claim. These authorities will follow AR 27-20. The request may concern an incident in which the pending claim is not as large as a potential claim; in such a case, refer the request to the authority that has monetary jurisdiction over the potential claim. A potential claimant or his or her attorney may request information under circumstances clearly indicating that it will be used to file a tort claim, though none has yet been filed. Refer such requests to the staff judge advocate or legal officer of the command. That authority, when subordinate, will promptly inform the Chief, U.S. Army Claims Service (USACS), of the substance of the request and the content of the record. (Mailing address: U.S. Army Claims Service, ATTN: JACS-TCC, Fort George G. Meade, MD 20755-5360. IDA officials who receive requests will refer them directly to the Chief, USACS. They will also advise the requesters of the referral and the basis for it. The Chief, USACS, will process requests according to this part and AR 27-20, paragraph 1-10.
(iii) Contract disputes. Each request for a record that relates to a potential contract dispute or a dispute that has not reached final decision by the contracting officer will be treated as a request for procurement records and not as litigation. However, the officials will consider the effect of release on the potential dispute. Those officials may consult with the USALSA, Contract and Fiscal Law Division. (Mailing address: Contract and Fiscal Law Division, U.S. Army Legal Services Agency (USALSA), 9275 Gunston Road, Fort Belvoir, VA 22060. If the request is for a record that relates to a pending contract appeal to the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals, or to a final decision that is still subject to appeal (i.e., 90 days have not lapsed after receipt of the final decision by the contractor) then the request will be: Treated as involving a contract dispute; and referred to the USALSA, Contract and Fiscal Law Division.
(6) Special nuclear material. Dissemination of unclassified information concerning physical protection of special nuclear material.
(i) Unauthorized dissemination of unclassified information pertaining to security measures, including security plans, procedures, and equipment for the physical protection of special nuclear material, is prohibited under 10 U.S.C. 128.
(ii) This prohibition shall be applied by the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3 as the IDA, to prohibit the dissemination of any such information only if and to the extent that it is determined that the unauthorized dissemination of such information could reasonably be expected to have a significant adverse effect on the health and safety of the public or the common defense and security by significantly increasing the likelihood of illegal production of nuclear weapons, theft, diversion, or sabotage of special nuclear materials, equipment, or facilities.
(iii) In making such a determination, Army personnel may consider what the likelihood of an illegal production, theft, diversion, or sabotage would be if the information proposed to be prohibited from dissemination were at no time available for dissemination.
(iv) Army personnel shall exercise the foregoing authority to prohibit the dissemination of any information described so as to apply the minimum restrictions needed to protect the health and safety of the public or the common defense and security, and upon a determination that the unauthorized dissemination of such information could reasonably be expected to result in a significant adverse effect on the health and safety of the public or the common defense and security by significantly increasing the likelihood of illegal production of nuclear weapons, theft, diversion, or sabotage of special nuclear materials, equipment, or facilities.
(v) Army employees shall not use this authority to withhold information from the appropriate committees of Congress.
(7) Names and duty addresses. Lists of names, including telephone directories, organizational charts, and/or staff directories published by installations or activities, and other personally identifying information will ordinarily be withheld when requested under the FOIA. This does not preclude a discretionary release of names and duty information of personnel who, by the nature of their position and duties, frequently interact with the public, such as general officers, public affairs officers, and other personnel designated as official command spokespersons. The IDA for telephone directories is delegated to the DA, FOIA/PA Office. Public Affairs Offices may, after careful analysis, release information determined to have legitimate news value, such as notices of personnel reassignments to new units or installations within the continental United States, results of selection/promotion boards, school graduations/completions, and awards and similar personal achievements. They may release the names and duty addresses of key officials, if such release is determined to be in the interests of advancing official community relation's functions.
(c) Requests from government officials. Requests from officials of State or local Governments for Army Activity records shall be considered the same as any other requester. Requests from members of Congress not seeking records on behalf of a Congressional Committee, Subcommittee, either House sitting as a whole, or made on behalf of their constituents shall be considered the same as any other requester. Requests from officials of foreign governments shall be considered the same as any other requester; however, Army Intelligence elements are statutorily prohibited from releasing records responsive to requests made by any foreign government or a representative of a foreign government. Requests from officials of foreign governments that do not invoke the FOIA shall be referred to appropriate foreign disclosure channels and the requester so notified.
(d) Privileged release outside of the FOIA to U.S. government officials. Records exempt from release to the public under the FOIA may be disclosed in accordance with Army regulations to agencies of the Federal Government, whether legislative, executive, or administrative, as follows:
(1) In response to a request of a Committee or Subcommittee of Congress, or to either House sitting as a whole in accordance with DoDD 5400.4. The Army implementing directive is AR 1-20. Commanders or chiefs will notify the Chief of Legislative Liaison of all releases of information to members of Congress or staffs of congressional committees. Organizations that in the normal course of business are required to provide information to Congress may be excepted. Handle requests by members of Congress (or staffs of congressional committees) for inspection of copies of official records as follows:
(i) National security classified records, follow AR 380-5;
(ii) Civilian personnel records, members of Congressional Committees, Subcommittees, or Joint Committees may examine official personnel folders to the extent that the subject matter falls within their established jurisdictions, as permitted by 5 CFR 297.401(i);
(iii) Information related to disciplinary action. This paragraph refers to records of trial by courts-martial; nonjudicial punishment of military personnel under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Article 15; nonpunitive measures such as administrative reprimands and admonitions; suspensions of civilian employees; and similar documents. If DA has specific instructions on the request, the following will apply. Subordinate commanders will not release any information without securing the consent of the proper installation commander. The installation commander may release the information unless the request is for a classified or “FOUO” document. In that case the commander will refer the request promptly to the Chief of Legislative Liaison for action, including the recommendations of the transmitting agency and copies of the requested records with the referral.
(iv) Military personnel records. Only HQDA can release information from these records. Custodians will refer all requests from Congress directly and promptly to the Chief of Legislative Liaison, HQDA, Washington DC 20310-1600.
(v) Criminal investigation records. Only the Commanding General, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (USACIDC), can release any USACIDC-originated criminal investigation file. For further information, see AR 195-2.
(vi) Other exempt records. Commanders or chiefs will refer requests for all other categories of exempt information directly to the Chief of Legislative Liaison. They will include a copy of the material requested and, as appropriate, recommendations concerning release or denial.
(vii) All other records. The commander or chief with custody of the records will furnish all other information promptly; to other Federal Agencies, both executive and administrative, as determined by the head of an Army Activity or designee; or in response to an order of a Federal court, Army Activities shall release information along with a description of the restrictions on its release to the public;
(viii) Disciplinary actions and criminal investigations. Requests for access to, or information from, the records of disciplinary actions or criminal investigations will be honored if proper credentials are presented. Representatives of the Office of Personnel Management may be given information from personnel files of employees actually employed at organizations or activities. Each such request will be considered on its merits. The information released will be the minimum required in connection with the investigation being conducted.
(ix) Other types of requests. All other official requests received by DA elements from agencies of the executive branch (including other military departments) will be honored, if there are no compelling reasons to the contrary. If there are reasons to withhold the records, the requests will be submitted for determination of the propriety of release to the appropriate addresses shown in Appendix B of this part.
(2) Army Activities shall inform officials receiving records under the provisions of this section that those records are exempt from public release under the FOIA. Army Activities also shall advise officials of any special handling instructions. Classified information is subject to the provisions of DoD 5200.1-R, and information contained in Privacy Act systems of records is subject to DoD 5400.11-R.
(e) Consultation with affected DoD component. (1) When an Army Activity receives a FOIA request for a record in which an affected Army or DoD organization (including a Combatant Command) has a clear and substantial interest in the subject matter, consultation with that affected Army or DoD organization is required. As an example, where an Army Activity receives a request for records related to DoD operations in a foreign country, the cognizant Combatant Command for the area involved in the request shall be consulted before a release is made. Consultations may be telephonic, electronic, or in hard copy.
(2) The affected Activity shall review the circumstances of the request for host-nation relations, and provide, where appropriate, FOIA processing assistance to the responding DoD Component regarding release of information. Responding Army Activities shall provide copies of responsive records to the affected DoD Component when requested. The affected DoD Component shall receive a courtesy copy of all releases in such circumstances.
(3) Nothing in §518.19 shall impede the processing of the FOIA request initially received by an Army Activity.
[71 FR 9222, Feb. 22, 2006, as amended at 78 FR 18474, Mar. 27, 2013]
§518.16 Initial determinations.
(a) Initial denial authority. The DA officials are designated as the Army's only IDAs. Only an IDA, his or her delegate, or the Secretary of the Army can deny FOIA requests for DA records. Each IDA will act on direct and referred requests for records within his or her area of functional responsibility. (See the proper AR in the 10 series for full discussions of these areas. Included are records created or kept within the IDA's area of responsibility; records retired by, or referred to, the IDA's headquarters or office; and records of predecessor organizations. If a request involves the areas of more than one IDA, the IDA to whom the request was originally addressed will normally respond to it; however, the affected IDAs may consult on such requests and agree on responsibility for them. IDAs will complete all required coordination at initial denial level. This includes classified records retired to the NARA when a mandatory declassification review is necessary. Requests and/or responsive documents should not be sent to the DA FOIA/PA Office for initial denial authority or to forward to other offices within the DA.
(b) FOIA requesters may ultimately appeal if they are dissatisfied with adverse determinations. It is crucial to forward complete packets to the IDAs. Ensure cover letters list all attachments and describe from where the records were obtained, i.e., a PA system of records (including the applicable systems notice), or other. If a FOIA action is complicated, include a chronology of events to assist the IDA in understanding what happened in the course of processing the FOIA request. If a file does not include documentation described below, include the tab, and insert a page marked “not applicable” or “not used.” The order and contents of FOIA file attachments follow: (Tab A or 1) The original FOIA request and envelope (if applicable); (Tab B or 2) The response letter; (Tab C or 3) Copies of all records entirely released, single-sided; (Tab D or 4) Copies of administrative processing documents, including extension letters and “no records” certificates, in chronological order; (Tab E or 5) Copies of all records partially released or entirely denied, single-sided. For partially released records, mark in yellow highlighter (or other readable highlighter) those portions withheld; and (Tab F or 6) Legal opinions(s).
(c) The initial determination of whether to make a record available or grant a fee waiver upon request may be made by any suitable official designated by the Army Activity in published regulations. The presence of the marking “FOUO” does not relieve the designated official of the responsibility to review the requested record for the purpose of determining whether an exemption under this part is applicable and should be invoked. IDAs may delegate all or part of their authority to a division chief under its supervision within the Agency in the grade of 05/civilian equivalent. Requests for delegation authority below this level must be submitted, after coordination, to the DA FOIA/PA Office, with detailed justification, for approval. Such delegations must not slow FOIA actions. If an IDA's delegate denies a FOIA or fee waiver request, the delegate must clearly state that he or she is acting for the IDA and identify the IDA by name and position in the written response to the requester. IDAs will send only the names, offices, and telephone numbers of their delegates to the DA, FOIA/PA Office. IDAs will keep this information current.
(d) The officials designated by Army Activities to make initial determinations should consult with public affairs officers (PAOs) to become familiar with subject matters that are considered to be newsworthy, and advise PAOs of all requests from news media representatives. In addition, the officials should inform PAOs in advance when they intend to withhold or partially withhold a record, if it appears that the withholding action may be challenged in the media. A FOIA release or denial action, appeal, or court review may generate public or press interest. In such case, the IDA (or delegate) should consult the Chief of Public Affairs or the command or organization PAO. The IDA should inform the PAO contacted of the issue and obtain advice and recommendations on handling its public affairs aspect. Any advice or recommendations requested or obtained should be limited to this aspect. Coordination must be completed within the statutory 20 working day FOIA response limit. (The point of contact for the Army Chief of Public Affairs is HQDA (SAPA-OSR), Washington DC 20310-1500). If the request involves actual or potential litigation against the United States, release must be coordinated with The Judge Advocate General (TJAG).
(e) The following officials are designated IDAs for the areas of responsibility outlined below:
(1) The Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army is authorized to act for the Secretary of the Army on requests for all records maintained by the Office of the Secretary of the Army and its serviced activities as well as requests requiring the personal attention of the Secretary of the Army. This also includes civilian Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) actions. (See DCS, G-1 for military Equal Opportunity (EO) actions). The Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army has delegated its authority to the Chief Attorney and Legal Services Directorate, U.S. Army Resources & Programs Agency. (See DCS, G-1 for military Equal Opportunity (EO) actions).
(2) The Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management and Comptroller) is authorized to act on requests for finance and accounting records. Requests for CONUS finance and accounting records should be referred to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). The Chief Attorney and Legal Services Directorate, acts on requests for non-finance and accounting records of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management and Comptroller).
(3) The Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics, & Technology) is authorized to act on requests for procurement records other than those under the purview of the Chief of Engineers and the Commander, U.S. Army Materiel Command. The Chief Attorney and Legal Services Directorate, acts on requests for non-procurement records of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology).
(4) The Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civilian Personnel Policy)/Director of Civilian Personnel, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) is authorized to act on requests for civilian personnel records, personnel administration and other civilian personnel matters, except for EEO (civilian) matters which will be acted on by the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. The Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civilian Personnel Policy)/Director of Civilian Personnel has delegated this authority to the Chief, Policy and Program Development Division.
(5) The Chief Information Officer, G-6 is authorized to act on requests for records pertaining to Army Information Technology, command, control communications and computer systems and the Information Resources Management Program (automation, telecommunications, visual information, records management, publications and printing).
(6) The Inspector General is authorized to act on requests for all Inspector General Records.
(7) The Auditor General is authorized to act on requests for records relating to audits done by the U.S. Army Audit Agency under AR 10-2. This includes requests for related records developed by the Audit Agency.
(8) The Director of the Army Staff is authorized to act on requests for all records of the Chief of Staff and its Field Operating Agencies. The Director of the Army Staff has delegated its authority to the Chief Attorney and Legal Services Directorate, U.S. Army Resources & Programs Agency. The Chief Attorney and Legal Services Director, U.S. Army Resources & Programs Agency acts on requests for records of the Chief of Staff and its Field Operating Agencies. (See TJAG for the (GOMO) actions).
(9) The Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3 is authorized to act on requests for records relating to International Affairs policy, planning, integration and assessments, strategy formulation, force development, individual and unit training policy, strategic and tactical command and control systems, nuclear and chemical matters, use of DA forces.
(10) The Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8 is authorized to act on requests for records relating to programming, material integration and externally directed reviews.
(11) The Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1 is authorized to act on the following records: Personnel board actions, Equal Opportunity (military) and sexual harassment, health promotions, physical fitness and well being, command and leadership policy records, HIV and suicide policy, substance abuse programs except for individual treatment records which are the responsibility of the Surgeon General, retiree benefits, services, and programs, (excluded are individual personnel records of retired military personnel, which are the responsibility of the U.S. Army Human Resources Command-St. Louis (AHRC-STL), DA dealings with Veterans Affairs, U.S. Soldier's and Airmen's Home, retention, promotion, and separation; recruiting and MOS policy issues, personnel travel and transportation entitlements, military strength and statistics, The Army Librarian, demographics, and Manprint.
(12) The Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4 is authorized to act on requests for records relating to DA logistical requirements and determinations, policy concerning materiel maintenance and use, equipment standards, and logistical readiness.
(13) The Chief of Engineers is authorized to act on requests for records involving civil works, military construction, engineer procurement, and ecology; and the records of the U.S. Army Engineer divisions, districts, laboratories, and field operating agencies.
(14) The Surgeon General, Commander, U.S. Army Medical Command, is authorized to act on requests for medical research and development records, and the medical records of active duty military personnel, dependents, and persons given physical examination or treatment at DA medical facilities, to include alcohol and drug treatment/test records.
(15) The Chief of Chaplains is authorized to act on requests for records involving ecclesiastical relationships, rites performed by DA chaplains, and nonprivileged communications relating to clergy and active duty chaplains' military personnel files.
(16) The Judge Advocate General is authorized to act on requests for records relating to claims, courts-martial, legal services, administrative investigations, and similar legal records. TJAG is also authorized to act on requests for the GOMO actions and records described elsewhere in this regulation, especially if those records relate to litigation in which the United States has an interest. In addition, TJAG is authorized to act on requests for records that are not within the functional areas of responsibility of any other IDA, including, but not limited to requests for records for Commands, and activities.
(17) The Chief, National Guard Bureau, is authorized to act on requests for all personnel and medical records of retired, separated, discharged, deceased, and active Army National Guard military personnel, including technician personnel, unless such records clearly fall within another IDA's responsibility. This authority includes, but is not limited to, National Guard organization and training files; plans, operations, and readiness files, policy files, historical files, files relating to National Guard military support, drug interdiction, and civil disturbances; construction, civil works, and ecology records dealing with armories, facilities within the States, ranges, etc. Equal Opportunity investigative records; aviation program records and financial records dealing with personnel, operation and maintenance, and equipment budgets.
(18) The Chief of Army Reserve is authorized to act on requests for all personnel and medical records of retired, separated, discharged, deceased, and reserve component military personnel, and all U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) records, unless such records clearly fall within another IDA's responsibility. Records under the responsibility of the Chief of Army Reserve include records relating to USAR plans, policies, and operations; changes in the organizational status of USAR units; mobilization and demobilization policies, active duty tours, and the Individual Mobilization Augmentation program.
(19) The Commander, United States Army Materiel Command (AMC) is authorized to act on requests for the records of AMC headquarters and to subordinate commands, units, and activities that relate to procurement, logistics, research and development, and supply and maintenance operations.
(20) The Provost Marshal General (PMG) is authorized to act on all requests for provost marshal activities and law enforcement functions for the army, all matters relating to police intelligence, physical security, criminal investigations, corrections and internment (to include confinement and correctional programs for U.S. prisoners, criminal investigations, provost marshal activities, and military police support. The PMG is responsible for the Office of Security, Force Protection, and Law Enforcement Division and is the functional proponent for AR 190-series (Military Police) and 195-series (Criminal Investigation), AR 630-10 Absent Without Leave, Desertion, and Administration of Personnel Involved in Civilian Court Proceedings, and AR 633-30, Military Sentences to Confinement.
(21) The Commander, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (USACIDC), is authorized to act on requests for criminal investigative records of USACIDC headquarters, its subordinate activities, and military police reports. This includes criminal investigation records, investigation-in-progress records, and all military police records and reports.
(22) The Commander, United States Army Human Resources Command (USAHRC), is authorized to act on requests for military personnel files relating to active duty (other than those of reserve and retired personnel) military personnel matters, personnel locator, physical disability determinations, and other military personnel administration records; records relating to military casualty and memorialization activities; heraldic activities, voting, records relating to identification cards, naturalization and citizenship, commercial solicitation, Military Postal Service Agency and Army postal and unofficial mail service.
(23) The Commander, USARC-StL has been delegated authority to act on behalf of the USAHRC for requests concerning all personnel and medical records of retired, separated, discharged, deceased, and reserve component military personnel, unless such records clearly fall within another IDA's authority. The authority does not include records relating to USAR plans, policies, and operations; changes in the organizational status of USAR units, mobilization and demobilization policies; active duty tours, and the individual mobilization augmentation program.
(24) The Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management (ACSIM) is authorized to act on requests for records relating to planning, programming, execution and operation of Army installations. This includes base realignment and closure activities, environmental activities other than litigation, facilities and housing activities, and installation management support activities.
(25) The Commander, United States Army Intelligence and Security Command, is authorized to act on requests for intelligence and security records, foreign scientific and technological records, intelligence training, intelligence threat assessments, and foreign liaison information.
(26) The Commander, U.S. Army Safety Center, is authorized to act on requests for Army safety records.
(27) The Commander, United States Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC), is authorized to act on requests for the records of ATEC headquarters, its subordinate commands, units, and activities that relate to test and evaluation operations.
(28) The General Counsel, Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), is authorized to act on requests for AAFES records, under AR 60-20/AFR 147-14.
(29) Special IDA authority for time-event related records may be designated on a case-by-case basis. These will be published in the Federal Register. You may contact the DA, FOIA/PA Office to obtain current information on special delegations.
(f) Reasons for not releasing a record. The following are reasons for not complying with a request for a record under 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(3).
(1) No records. A reasonable search of files failed to identify responsive records. The records custodian will prepare a detailed no records certificate. This certificate must include, at a minimum, what areas or offices were searched and how the search was conducted (manually, by computer, etc.). The certificate will be signed by the records custodian and will include his or her grade and title. The original certificate will be forwarded to the IDA. Preprinted “check-the-block” or “fill-in-the-blank” no records certificates are not authorized.
(2) Referrals. The request is transferred to another Army Activity or DoD Component, or to another Federal Agency.
(3) Request withdrawn. The request is withdrawn by the requester.
(4) Fee-related reason. The requester is unwilling to pay fees associated with a request; the requester is past due in the payment of fees from a previous FOIA request; or the requester disagrees with the fee estimate.
(5) Records not reasonably described. A record has not been described with sufficient particularity to enable the Army or DoD Component to locate it by conducting a reasonable search.
(6) Not a proper FOIA request for some other reason. The requester has failed unreasonably to comply with procedural requirements, other than fee-related, imposed by this part or Army Activity supplementing regulations.
(7) Not an agency record. The information requested is not a record within the meaning of the FOIA and this part.
(8) Duplicate request. The request is a duplicate request (e.g., a requester asks for the same information more than once). This includes identical requests received via different means (e.g., electronic mail, facsimile, mail, and courier) at the same or different times.
(9) Other (specify). Any other reason a requester does not comply with published rules other than those outlined in paragraphs (f)(1) through (8) of this section.
(10) Partial or total denial. The record is denied in whole or in part in accordance with procedures set forth in the FOIA.
(g) Denial tests. To deny a requested record that is in the possession and control of an Army Activity, it must be determined that the record is exempt under one or more of the exemptions of the FOIA. An outline of the FOIA's exemptions is contained in subpart C of this part.
(h) Reasonably segregable portions. Although portions of some records may be denied, the remaining reasonably segregable portions must be released to the requester when it reasonably can be assumed that a skillful and knowledgeable person could not reconstruct the excised information. Unless indicating the extent of the deletion would harm an interest protected by an exemption, the amount of deleted information shall be indicated on the released portion of paper records by use of brackets or darkened areas indicating removal of information. In no case shall the deleted areas be left “white” without the use of brackets to show the bounds of deleted information. In the case of electronic deletion, or deletion in audiovisual or microfiche records, if technically feasible, the amount of redacted information shall be indicated at the place in the record such deletion was made, unless including the indication would harm an interest protected by the exemption under which the deletion is made. This may be done by use of brackets, shaded areas, or some other identifiable technique that will clearly show the limits of the deleted information. When a record is denied in whole, the response advising the requester of that determination will specifically state that it is not reasonable to segregate portions of the record for release.
(i) Response to requester. Whenever possible, initial determinations to release or deny a record normally shall be made and the decision reported to the requester within 20 working days after receipt of a proper request by the official designated to respond. When an Army Activity has a significant number of pending requests which prevent a response determination within the 20 working day period, the requester shall be so notified in an interim response, and advised whether their request qualifies for the fast track or slow track within the Army Activity's multitrack processing system. Requesters who do not meet the criteria for fast track processing shall be given the opportunity to limit the scope of their request in order to qualify for fast track processing.
(1) When a decision is made to release a record, a copy should be made available promptly to the requester once he has complied with preliminary procedural requirements.
(2) When a request for a record is denied in whole or in part, the official designated to respond shall inform the requester in writing of the name and title or position of the official who made the determination, and shall explain to the requester the basis for the determination in sufficient detail to permit the requester to make a decision concerning appeal. The requester specifically shall be informed of the exemptions on which the denial is based, inclusive of a brief statement describing what the exemption(s) cover. When the initial denial is based in whole or in part on a security classification, the explanation should include a summary of the applicable Executive Order criteria for classification, as well as an explanation, to the extent reasonably feasible, of how those criteria apply to the particular record in question. The requester shall also be advised of the opportunity and procedures for appealing an unfavorable determination to a higher final authority within the Army Activity. The IDA will inform the requester of his or her right to appeal, in whole or part, the denial of the FOIA or fee waiver request and that the appeal must be sent through the IDA to the Secretary of the Army (ATTN: OGC).
(3) The final response to the requester should contain information concerning the fee status of the request, consistent with the provisions of subpart F, of this part. When a requester is assessed fees for processing a request, the requester's fee category shall be specified in the response letter. Activities also shall provide the requester with a complete cost breakdown (e.g., 115 pages of office reproduction at $0.15 per page; 5 minutes of computer search time at $43.50 per minute, 3 hours of professional level search at $44 per hour, etc.) in the response letter.
(4) The explanation of the substantive basis for a denial shall include specific citation of the statutory exemption applied under provisions of this part; e.g., 5 U.S.C. 552 (b)(1). Merely referring to a classification; to a “FOUO” marking on the requested record; or to this part or an Army Activity's regulation does not constitute a proper citation or explanation of the basis for invoking an exemption.
(5) When the time for response becomes an issue, the official responsible for replying shall acknowledge to the requester the date of the receipt of the request.
(6) When denying a request for records, in whole or in part, an Army Activity shall make a reasonable effort to estimate the volume of the records denied and provide this estimate to the requester, unless providing such an estimate would harm an interest protected by an exemption of the FOIA. This estimate should be in number of pages or in some other reasonable form of estimation, unless the volume is otherwise indicated through deletions on records disclosed in part.
(7) When denying a request for records in accordance with a statute qualifying as a FOIA exemption 3 statute, Army Activities shall, in addition to stating the particular statute relied upon to deny the information, also state whether a court has upheld the decision to withhold the information under the particular statute, and a concise description of the scope of the information being withheld.
(j) Extension of time. In unusual circumstances, when additional time is needed to respond to the initial request, the Army Activity shall acknowledge the request in writing within 20 working days, describe the circumstances requiring the delay, and indicate the anticipated date for a substantive response that may not exceed 10 additional working days, except as provided below:
(1) With respect to a request for which a written notice has extended the time limits by 10 additional working days, and the Activity determines that it cannot make a response determination within that additional 10 working day period, the requester shall be notified and provided an opportunity to limit the scope of the request so that it may be processed within the extended time limit, or an opportunity to arrange an alternative time frame for processing the request or a modified request. Refusal by the requester to reasonably modify the request or arrange for an alternative time frame shall be considered a factor in determining whether exceptional circumstances exist with respect to Army Activity's request backlogs. Exceptional circumstances do not include a delay that results from predictable activity backlogs, unless the Army Activity demonstrates reasonable progress in reducing its backlog.
(2) Unusual circumstances that may justify delay are: The need to search for and collect the requested records from other facilities that are separate from the office determined responsible for a release or denial decision on the requested information; the need to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records which are requested in a single request; and the need for consultation, which shall be conducted with all practicable speed, with other agencies having a substantial interest in the determination of the request, or among two or more Army Activities or DoD Components having a substantial subject-matter interest in the request.
(3) Army Activities may aggregate certain requests by the same requester, or by a group of requesters acting in concert, if the Army Activity reasonably believes that such requests actually constitute a single request, which would otherwise satisfy the unusual circumstances set forth in paragraph (j)(2) of this section, and the requests involve clearly related matters. Multiple requests involving unrelated matters shall not be aggregated. If the requests are aggregated under these conditions, the requester or requesters shall be so notified.
(4) In cases where the statutory time limits cannot be met and no informal extension of time has been agreed to, the inability to process any part of the request within the specified time should be explained to the requester with a request that he agree to await a substantive response by an anticipated date. It should be made clear that any such agreement does not prejudice the right of the requester to appeal the initial decision after it is made. Army Activities are reminded that the requester still retains the right to treat this delay as a de facto denial with full administrative remedies. Only the responsible IDA can extend it, and the IDA must first coordinate with the OGC.
(5) As an alternative to the taking of formal extensions of time the negotiation by the cognizant FOIA coordinating office of informal extensions in time with requesters is encouraged where appropriate.
(k) Misdirected requests. Misdirected requests shall be forwarded promptly to the Army Activity or other Federal Agency with the responsibility for the records requested. The period allowed for responding to the request misdirected by the requester shall not begin until the request is received by the Army Activity that manages the records requested.
(l) Records of non-U.S. Government source. When a request is received for a record that falls under exemption 4, that was obtained from a non-U.S. Government source, or for a record containing information clearly identified as having been provided by a non-U.S. Government source, the source of the record or information [also known as “the submitter” for matters pertaining to proprietary data under 5 U.S.C. 552, FOIA, Exemption (b)(4)] and E.O. 12600], shall be notified promptly of that request and afforded reasonable time (14 calendar days) to present any objections concerning the release, unless it is clear that there can be no valid basis for objection. This practice is required for those FOIA requests for data not deemed clearly exempt from disclosure under exemption (b)(4) of 5 U.S.C. 552, The FOIA. If, for example, the record or information was provided with actual or presumptive knowledge of the non-U.S. Government source and established that it would be made available to the public upon request, there is no obligation to notify the source. Any objections shall be evaluated. The final decision to disclose information claimed to be exempt under exemption (b)(4) shall be made by an official equivalent in rank to the official who would make the decision to withhold that information under FOIA. When a substantial issue has been raised, the Army Activity may seek additional information from the source of the information and afford the source and requester reasonable opportunities to present their arguments on the legal and substantive issues involved prior to making an agency determination. When the source seeks a restraining order or take court action to prevent release of the record or information, the requester shall be notified, and action on the request normally shall not be taken until after the outcome of that court action is known. When the requester brings court action to compel disclosure, the submitter shall be promptly notified of this action.
(1) If the submitted information is a proposal in response to a solicitation for a competitive proposal, and the proposal is in the possession and control of DA (see 10 U.S.C. 2305(g)), the proposal shall not be disclosed, and no submitter notification and subsequent analysis is required. The proposal shall be withheld from public disclosure pursuant to 10 U.S.C. 2305(g) and exemption (b)(3) of the FOIA. This statute does not apply to bids, unsolicited proposals, or any proposal that is set forth or incorporated by reference in a contract between an Army Activity and the offeror that submitted the proposal. In such situations, normal submitter notice shall be conducted except for sealed bids that are opened and read to the public. The term, proposal, means information contained in or originating from any proposal, including a technical, management, or cost proposal submitted by an offeror in response to solicitation for a competitive proposal, but does not include an offeror's name or total price or unit prices when set forth in a record other than the proposal itself. Submitter notice, and analysis as appropriate, are required for exemption (b)(4) matters that are not specifically incorporated in 10 U.S.C. 2305(g).
(2) If the record or information was submitted on a strictly voluntary basis, absent any exercised authority that prescribes criteria for submission, and after consultation with the submitter, it is absolutely clear that the record or information would customarily not be released to the public, the submitter need not be notified. Examples of exercised authorities prescribing criteria for submission are statutes, Executive Orders, regulations, invitations for bids, requests for proposals, and contracts. Records or information submitted under these authorities are not voluntary in nature. When it is not clear whether the information was submitted on a voluntary basis, absent any exercised authority, and whether it would customarily be released to the public by the submitter, notify the submitter and ask that it describe its treatment of the information, and render an objective evaluation. If the decision is made to release the information over the objection of the submitter, notify the submitter and afford the necessary time to allow the submitter to seek a restraining order, or take court action to prevent release of the record or information.
(3) The coordination provisions of this section also apply to any non-U.S. Government record in the possession and control of the Army or DoD from multi-national organizations, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), United Nations Commands, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the Inter-American Defense Board, or foreign governments. Coordination with foreign governments under the provisions of this section may be made through Department of State, or the specific foreign embassy.
(m) File of initial denials. Copies of all initial withholdings or denials shall be maintained by each Army Activity in a form suitable for rapid retrieval, periodic statistical compilation, and management evaluation. Records denied for any of the reasons contained in §518.20 shall be maintained for a period of six years to meet the statute of limitations requirement. Records will be maintained in accordance with AR 25-400-2.
(n) Special mail services. Army Activities are authorized to use registered mail, certified mail, certificates of mailing, and return receipts. However, their use should be limited to instances where it appears advisable to establish proof of dispatch or receipt of FOIA correspondence. The requester shall be notified that they are responsible for the full costs of special services.
(o) Receipt accounts. The Treasurer of the United States has established two accounts for FOIA receipts, and all money orders or checks remitting FOIA fees should be made payable to the U.S. Treasurer. These accounts shall be used for depositing all FOIA receipts, except receipts for industrially funded and non-appropriated funded activities. Components are reminded that the below account numbers must be preceded by the appropriate disbursing office two digit prefix. Industrially funded and non-appropriated funded activity FOIA receipts shall be deposited to the applicable fund.
(1) Receipt Account 3210 Sale of Publications and Reproductions, FOIA. This account shall be used when depositing funds received from providing existing publications and forms that meet the Receipt Account Series description found in Federal Account Symbols and Titles. Deliver collections within 30 calendar days to the servicing finance and accounting office.
(2) Receipt Account 3210 Fees and Other Charges for Services, FOIA. This account is used to deposit search fees, fees for duplicating and reviewing (in the case of commercial requesters) records to satisfy requests that could not be filled with existing publications or forms.
(a) General. If the official designated by the Army Activity to make initial determinations on requests for records declines to provide a record because the official considers it exempt under one or more of the exemptions of the FOIA, that decision may be appealed by the requester, in writing, to a designated appellate authority. The appeal should be accompanied by a copy of the letter denying the initial request. Such appeals should contain the basis for disagreement with the initial refusal. Appeal procedures also apply to the disapproval of a fee category claim by a requester, disapproval of a request for waiver or reduction of fees, disputes regarding fee estimates, review on an expedited basis a determination not to grant expedited access to agency records, for no record determinations when the requester considers such responses adverse in nature, not providing a response determination to a FOIA request within the statutory time limits, or any determination found to be adverse in nature by the requester. Upon an IDA's receipt of a no records determination appeal, the IDA will direct the records custodian to conduct another records search and certify, in writing, that it has made a good faith effort that reasonably could be expected to produce the information requested. If no records are again found, the original no records certificate will be forwarded to the IDA for inclusion in the appeals packet. When denials have been made under the provisions of the FOIA and the PA, and the denied information is contained in a PA system of records, appeals shall be processed under both the FOIA and the PA. If the denied information is not maintained in a PA system of records, the appeal shall be processed under the FOIA. If a request is merely misaddressed, and the receiving Army Activity or DoD Component simply advises the requester of such and refers the request to the appropriate Army or DoD Component, this shall not be considered a no record determination.
(1) Appeals of adverse determinations from denial of records or “no record” determination, received by Army IDAs must be forwarded through the denying IDA to the Secretary of the Army (ATTN: OGC). On receipt of an appeal, the IDA will—
(i) Send the appeal to the Office of the Secretary of the Army, OGC, together with a copy of the documents that are the subject of the appeal. The cover letter will list all attachments and describe from where the records were obtained, i.e., a PA system of records (including the applicable systems notice, or other. If a file does not include documentation described below, include the tab, and insert a page marked “not applicable” or “not used.” The order and contents of FOIA file attachments follow: (Tab A or 1) The original FOIA request and envelope (if applicable); (Tab B or 2) The IDA denial letter; (Tab C or 3) Copies of all records entirely released, single-sided; (Tab D or 4) Copies of administrative processing documents, including extension letters and “no records” certificates, in chronological order; (Tab E or 5) Copies of all records partially denied or completely denied, single-sided. For records partially denied, mark in yellow highlighter (or other readable highlighter) those portions withheld; and (Tab F or 6) Legal opinions(s); and
(ii) Assist the OGC as requested during his or her consideration of the appeal.
(2) Appeals of denial of records made by the OGC, AAFES, shall be made to the Secretary of the Army when the Commander, AAFES, is an Army officer. Appeals of denial of records made by the OGC, AAFES, shall be made to the Secretary of the Air Force when the Commander is an Air Force officer.
(b) Time of receipt. A FOIA appeal has been received by an Army Activity when it reaches the office of an appellate authority having jurisdiction, the OGC. Misdirected appeals should be referred expeditiously to the OGC.
(c) Time limits. The requester shall be advised to file an appeal so that it is postmarked no later than 60 calendar days after the date of the initial denial letter. If no appeal is received, or if the appeal is postmarked after the conclusion of this 60-day period, the case may be considered closed. However, exceptions to the above may be considered on a case-by-case basis. In cases where the requester is provided several incremental determinations for a single request, the time for the appeal shall not begin until the date of the final response. Records that are denied shall be retained for a period of six years to meet the statute of limitations requirement. Final determinations on appeals normally shall be made within 20 working days after receipt. When an Army Activity has a significant number of appeals preventing a response determination within 20 working days, the appeals shall be processed in a multitrack processing system, based at a minimum, on the three processing tracks established for initial requests. All of the provisions of the FOIA apply also to appeals of initial determinations, to include establishing additional processing queues as needed.
(d) Delay in responding to an appeal. If additional time is needed due to the unusual circumstances the final decision may be delayed for the number of working days (not to exceed 10), that were not used as additional time for responding to the initial request. If a determination cannot be made and the requester notified within 20 working days, the appellate authority shall acknowledge to the requester, in writing, the date of receipt of the appeal, the circumstances surrounding the delay, and the anticipated date for substantive response. Requesters shall be advised that, if the delay exceeds the statutory extension provision or is for reasons other than the unusual circumstances they may consider their administrative remedies exhausted. They may, however, without prejudicing their right of judicial remedy, await a substantive response. The Army Activity will continue to process the case expeditiously.
(e) Response to the requester. When the appellate authority (OGC) makes a final determination to release all or a portion of records withheld by an IDA, a written response and a copy of the records so released should be forwarded promptly to the requester after compliance with any preliminary procedural requirements, such as payment of fees. Final refusal of an appeal must be made in writing by the appellate authority or by a designated representative. The response, at a minimum, shall include the following:
(1) The basis for the refusal shall be explained to the requester in writing, both with regard to the applicable statutory exemption or exemptions invoked under provisions of the FOIA, and with respect to other appeal matters;
(2) When the final refusal is based in whole or in part on a security classification, the explanation shall include a determination that the record meets the cited criteria and rationale of the governing Executive Order, and that this determination is based on a declassification review, with the explanation of how that review confirmed the continuing validity of the security classification;
(3) The final denial shall include the name and title or position of the official responsible for the denial;
(4) In the case of appeals for total denial of records, the response shall advise the requester that the information being denied does not contain meaningful portions that are reasonably segregable;
(5) When the denial is based upon an exemption 3 statute, the response, in addition to citing the statute relied upon to deny the information, shall state whether a court has upheld the decision to withhold the information under the statute, and shall contain a concise description of the scope of the information withheld; or
(6) The response shall advise the requester of the right to judicial review.
(f) Consultation. Final refusal involving issues not previously resolved or that the Army Activity knows to be inconsistent with rulings of other DoD Components ordinarily should not be made before consultation with the Army OGC. Tentative decisions to deny records that raise new or significant legal issues of potential significance to other Agencies of the Government shall be provided to the Army OGC.
§518.18 Judicial actions.
(a) This section states current legal and procedural rules for the convenience of the reader. The statements of rules do not create rights or remedies not otherwise available, nor do they bind the DA or DoD to particular judicial interpretations or procedures. A requester may seek an order from a U.S. District Court to compel release of a record after administrative remedies have been exhausted; i.e., when refused a record by the head of a Component or an appellate designee or when the Army Activity has failed to respond within the time limits prescribed by the FOIA and in this part.
(b) The requester may bring suit in the U.S. District Court in the district, in which the requester resides or is the requester's place of business, in the district in which the record is located, or in the District of Columbia.
(c) The burden of proof is on the Army Activity to justify its refusal to provide a record. The court shall evaluate the case de novo (anew) and may elect to examine any requested record in camera (in private) to determine whether the denial was justified.
(d) When an Army Activity has failed to make a determination within the statutory time limits but can demonstrate due diligence in exceptional circumstances, to include negotiating with the requester to modify the scope of their request, the court may retain jurisdiction and allow the Activity additional time to complete its review of the records.
(1) If the court determines that the requester's complaint is substantially correct, it may require the U. S. to pay reasonable attorney fees and other litigation costs.
(2) When the court orders the release of denied records, it may also issue a written finding that the circumstances surrounding the withholding raise questions whether Army Activity personnel acted arbitrarily and capriciously. In these cases, the special counsel of the Merit Systems Protection Board shall conduct an investigation to determine whether or not disciplinary action is warranted. The Army Activity is obligated to take the action recommended by the special counsel.
(3) The court may punish the responsible official for contempt when an Army Activity fails to comply with the court order to produce records that it determines have been withheld improperly.
(e) Non-U. S. Government source information. A requester may bring suit in an U.S. District Court to compel the release of records obtained from a non-government source or records based on information obtained from a non-government source. Such source shall be notified promptly of the court action. When the source advises that it is seeking court action to prevent release, the Army Activity shall defer answering or otherwise pleading to the complainant as long as permitted by the Court or until a decision is rendered in the court action of the source, whichever is sooner.
(f) FOIA litigation. Personnel responsible for processing FOIA requests at the DoD Component level shall be aware of litigation under the FOIA. Such information will provide management insights into the use of the nine exemptions by Component personnel. Whenever a complaint under the FOIA is filed in an U.S. District Court, the Army Activity named in the complaint shall forward a copy of the complaint by any means to HQDA, OTJAG (DAJA-LT), with an information copy to the Army OGC. In the DA, HQDA OTJAG (DAJA-LT), WASH D.C. 20310-2210 is also responsible for forwarding this information to the Office of the Army OGC and to the DA FOIA/PA Office.
(1) Bases for FOIA Lawsuits. In general, there are four categories of complaints in a FOIA lawsuit: failure to respond to a request within time frames established in the FOIA statute; challenge to the adequacy of search for responsive records; challenge to application of a FOIA Exemption; and procedural challenges, such as application of waiver of fees. The guidance below is intended to cover all categories of complaints. In responding to litigation support requests, bear in mind the type of complaint that has given rise to the lawsuit and provide information, which addresses the specific reason(s) for the complaint.
(2) Responsibility for FOIA litigation. For the Army, under the general oversight of the OGC, FOIA litigation is the responsibility of the General Litigation Branch, Army Litigation Division. If you are notified of a FOIA lawsuit involving the Army, contact the General Litigation Branch immediately at: General Litigation Branch, Army Litigation Division, U.S. Army Legal Services Agency (USALSA), 9275 Gunston Road, Fort Belvoir, VA 22060. The General Litigation Branch will provide guidance on gathering information and assembling a litigation report necessary to respond to FOIA litigation.
(3) Litigation reports for FOIA lawsuits. As with any lawsuit, the Army Litigation Division and DOJ will require a litigation report. This report should be prepared with the assistance, and under the supervision of, the legal advisor. For general guidance on litigation reports, see Army Regulation 27-40, paragraph 3-9. Unlike the usual 60-day time period to respond to complaints under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, complaints under the FOIA must be answered within 30 days of the service of the complaint. Therefore, it is imperative to contact the Litigation Division immediately and to begin preparing the litigation report without delay.
(4) Specific guidance for FOIA litigation reports. The following is specific guidance for preparing a litigation report in FOIA Litigation. The required material should be indexed and assembled under the following categories:
(i) Statement of facts. (Tab A). Provide a chronological statement of all facts related to the FOIA request, beginning with receipt of the request, responses to the request, and searches for responsive records. The statement of facts should refer to supporting enclosed exhibits whenever possible.
(ii) Responses to pleadings. (Tab B). If you have been provided a copy of the complaint, provide a line-by-line answer to the factual statements in the pleadings, along with recommendations on whether to admit or deny the allegation.
(iii) Memorandum of law. (Tab C). No memorandum of law is necessary in FOIA lawsuits. If records were withheld, provide a written statement explaining the FOIA Exemption used to withhold the information and the rationale for its application in the particular facts of your case. Include here a copy of any legal review regarding the withholding of the records.
(iv) Potential witness information. (Tab D). List the names, addresses, telephone number, facsimile number and e-mail addresses of all potential witnesses. At a minimum, this must include all of the following: the FOIA Officer or Coordinator or other person responsible for processing FOIA requests; the individual(s) who actually conducted the search for responsive records; the legal advisor(s) who reviewed or provided advice on the request; and the point of contact at any office or agency to which the FOIA request was referred.
(v) Exhibits. (Tab E). Provide copies of all correspondence regarding the FOIA request. This includes all correspondence between the agency and the requester, including any enclosures; any referrals or forwarding of the request to other agencies or offices; copies of all documents released to the requester pursuant to the request in litigation. If any information is withheld or redacted, provide a complete copy of all withheld information. Identify withheld information by placing brackets around all information withheld and note in the margins of the document the specific FOIA exemption applied to deny release of the document; all records and correspondence forwarded to the IDA, if applicable; all appeals by the requester; if the withheld document is classified, provide a summary of each document withheld. The Summary of classified documents should include the following:
(A) The classification of the document;
(B) The date of the document;
(C) The number of pages of the document;
(D) The author or creator of the document;
(E) The intended or actual recipient of the document;
(F) The subject of the document and an unclassified description of the document sufficient to inform the court of the nature of the contents of the document; and
(G) An explanation of the reason for withholding, including the specific provision(s) of Executive Order 12,958 which permit classification of the information.
(vi) Draft declarations. (Tab F). A declaration is a statement for use in litigation made under penalty of perjury pursuant to specific statutory authority (28 U.S.C. 1746) which need not be notarized. Declarations may be used by the Army to support a motion to dismiss or to grant summary judgment. Depending on the basis for the lawsuit, with the assistance of their legal advisor, witnesses should prepare a draft declaration to be included with the litigation report.
(vii) The following is some general guidance on the content of a declaration in FOIA litigation. Identify the declarant and describe his or her qualifications and responsibilities as they relate to the FOIA; provide a statement indicating that the declarant is familiar with the specific request and the general subject matter of the records; include a statement of the searcher's understanding of the exact nature of the request, including any modification (narrowing or expanding the search based on communications with the requester); generally, the factual portion of the declaration should be organized as a chronological statement beginning with receipt of the request; provide a specific description of the system of records searched; and provide a description of procedures used to search for the requested records, (manual search of records, computer database search, etc.). This portion of the declaration is especially important when no records are found. The declaration must reflect an adequate and reasonable search for records in locations where responsive records are likely to be found.
(5) Special guidance for initial denial authorities. If any information was withheld, the IDA or person with specific knowledge of the withholding must provide a specific statement of any Exemptions to the FOIA, which were applied to the records.
(i) Withheld records. For withheld records, describe in reasonably specific detail all records or parts of records withheld. If the number of records is extensive, use an index of the records and consider numbering the documents to facilitate reference. It is also permissible (and frequently helpful) to include redacted portions of records withheld as attachments or exhibits to the declarations.
(ii) Exemptions. Include in the declaration a specific statement demonstrating that all the elements of each FOIA exemption are met.
(iii) Segregation. The FOIA requires that all information not subject to an exemption to the FOIA, which can be reasonably segregated from exempt information, must be released to FOIA requesters. In any instance where an entire document is withheld, the individual authorizing the withholding must specifically address that segregation and release of non-exempt material was not possible without rendering the record essentially meaningless. If applicable, this issue must be specifically addressed in the declaration.
(iv) Sound Legal Basis. Army policy promotes careful consideration of FOIA requests and discretionary decisions to disclose information protected under the FOIA. Discretionary disclosures should be made only after full and deliberate consideration of the institutional, commercial, and personal privacy interests that could be implicated by disclosure of the information. The decision to withhold records, in whole or in part, otherwise exempt from disclosure under the FOIA must exhibit a sound legal basis or present an unwarranted risk of adverse impact on the ability of other agencies to protect other important records.
[71 FR 9222, Feb. 22, 2006, as amended at 78 FR 18474, Mar. 27, 2013]
Subpart F—Fee Schedule
§518.19 General provisions.
(a) Authorities. The FOIA, as amended; the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 35), as amended; the PA of 1974, as amended; the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 and the Budget and Accounting Procedures Act, as amended (see 31 U.S.C.); and 10 U.S.C. 2328).
(b) Application. The fees described in this Subpart apply to FOIA requests, and conform to the Office of Management and Budget Uniform Freedom of Information Act Fee Schedule and Guidelines. They reflect direct costs for search, review (in the case of commercial requesters), and duplication of documents, collection of which is permitted by the FOIA. They are neither intended to imply that fees must be charged in connection with providing information to the public in the routine course of business, nor are they meant as a substitute for any other schedule of fees, such as DoD 7000.14-R, which does not supersede the collection of fees under the FOIA. Nothing in this subpart shall supersede fees chargeable under a statute specifically providing for setting the level of fees for particular types of records. A “statute specifically providing for setting the level of fees for particular types of records” (5 U.S.C. 552 FOIA, (a)(4)(A)(vi)) means any statute that enables a Government Agency such as the GPO or the NTIS, to set and collect fees. Components should ensure that when documents that would be responsive to a request are maintained for distribution by agencies operating statutory-based fee schedule programs such as GPO or NTIS, they inform requesters of the steps necessary to obtain records from those sources.
(1) The term “direct costs” means those expenditures an Activity actually makes in searching for, reviewing (in the case of commercial requesters), and duplicating documents to respond to a FOIA request. Direct costs include, for example, the salary of the employee performing the work (the basic rate of pay for the employee plus 16 percent of that rate to cover benefits), and the costs of operating duplicating machinery. Not included in direct costs are overhead expenses such as costs of space, heating or lighting the facility in which the records are stored.
(2) The term “search” includes all time spent looking, both manually and electronically, for material that is responsive to a request. Search also includes a page-by-page or line-by-line identification (if necessary) of material in the record to determine if it, or portions thereof are responsive to the request. Activities should ensure that searches are done in the most efficient and least expensive manner so as to minimize costs for both the Activity and the requester. For example, Activities should not engage in line-by-line searches, when duplicating an entire document known to contain responsive information, would prove to be the less expensive and quicker method of complying with the request. Time spent reviewing documents in order to determine whether to apply one or more of the statutory exemptions is not search time, but review time.
(3) The term “duplication” refers to the process of making a copy of a document in response to a FOIA request. Such copies can take the form of paper copy, microfiche, audiovisual, or machine-readable documentation (e.g., magnetic tape or disc), among others. Every effort will be made to ensure that the copy provided is in a form that is reasonably useable, the requester shall be notified that the copy provided is the best available and that the Activity's master copy shall be made available for review upon appointment. For duplication of computer-stored records, the actual cost, including the operator's time, shall be charged. In practice, if an Activity estimates that assessable duplication charges are likely to exceed $25.00, it shall notify the requester of the estimate, unless the requester has indicated in advance his or her willingness to pay fees as high as those anticipated. Such a notice shall offer a requester the opportunity to confer with Activity personnel with the object of reformulating the request to meet his or her needs at a lower cost.
(4) The term “review” refers to the process of examining documents located in response to a FOIA request to determine whether one or more of the statutory exemptions permit withholding. It also includes processing the documents for disclosure, such as excising them for release. Review does not include the time spent resolving general legal or policy issues regarding the application of exemptions. It should be noted that charges for commercial requesters may be assessed only for the initial review. Activities may not charge for reviews required at the administrative appeal level of an exemption already applied. However, records or portions of records withheld in full under an exemption, which is subsequently determined not to apply, may be reviewed again to determine the applicability of other exemptions not previously considered. The costs for such a subsequent review would be properly assessable.
(c) Fee restrictions. No fees may be charged by any Army Activity if the costs of routine collection and processing of the fee are likely to equal or exceed the amount of the fee. With the exception of requesters seeking documents for a commercial use, Activities shall provide the first two hours of search time, and the first one hundred pages of duplication without charge. For example, for a request (other than one from a commercial requester) that involved two hours and fifteen minutes of search time, and resulted in one hundred and twenty-five pages of documents, an Activity would determine the cost of only ten minutes of search time, and only five pages of reproduction. If this processing cost was equal to, or less than the cost to the Activity for billing the requester and processing the fee collected, no charges would result.
(1) Requesters receiving the first two hours of search and the first one hundred pages of duplication without charge are entitled to such only once per request. Consequently, if an Activity, after completing its portion of a request, finds it necessary to refer the request to a subordinate office, another Army Activity or DoD Component, or another Federal Agency for action their portion of the request, the referring Activity shall inform the recipient of the referral of the expended amount of search time and duplication cost to date.
(2) The elements to be considered in determining the “cost of collecting a fee” are the administrative costs to the Activity of receiving and recording a remittance, and processing the fee for deposit in the Department of Treasury's special account. The cost to the Department of Treasury to handle such remittance is negligible and shall not be considered in the Activity's determinations.
(3) For the purposes of these restrictions, the word “pages” refers to paper copies of a standard size, which will normally be “81⁄2 × 11” or “11 × 14”. Thus, requesters would not be entitled to 100 microfiche or 100 computer disks, for example. A microfiche containing the equivalent of 100 pages or 100 pages of computer printout, however, might meet the terms of the restriction.
(4) In the case of computer searches, the first two free hours will be determined against the salary scale of the individual operating the computer for the purposes of the search. As an example, when the direct costs of the computer central processing unit, input-output devices, and memory capacity equal $40.00 (two hours of equivalent search at the clerical level), amounts of computer costs in excess of that amount are chargeable as computer search time. In the event the direct operating cost of the hardware configuration cannot be determined, computer search shall be based on the salary scale of the operator executing the computer search.
(d) Fee waivers. Documents shall be furnished without charge, or at a charge reduced below fees assessed to the categories of requesters when the Activity determines that waiver or reduction of the fees is in the public interest because furnishing the information is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of DA and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.
(1) When assessable costs for a FOIA request total $15.00 or less, fees shall be waived automatically for all requesters, regardless of category.
(2) Decisions to waive or reduce fees that exceed the automatic waiver threshold shall be made on a case-by-case basis. Disclosure of the information “is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the Government.”
(i) Activities should analyze whether the subject matter of the request involves issues that will significantly contribute to the public understanding of the operations or activities of DA or DoD. Requests for records in the possession of the Army or DoD, which were originated by non-government organizations and are sought for their intrinsic content, rather than informative value, will likely not contribute to public understanding of the operations or activities of either DA or DoD. An example of such records might be press clippings, magazine articles, or records forwarding a particular opinion or concern from a member of the public regarding an Army or DoD activity. Similarly, disclosures of records of considerable age may or may not bear directly on the current activities of either DA or DoD; however, the age of a particular record shall not be the sole criteria for denying relative significance under this factor. It is possible to envisage an informative issue concerning the current activities of DA or DoD, based upon historical documentation. Requests of this nature must be closely reviewed consistent with the requester's stated purpose for desiring the records and the potential for public understanding of the operations and activities of DA or DoD.
(ii) The informative value of the information to be disclosed requires a close analysis of the substantive contents of a record, or portion of the record, to determine whether disclosure is meaningful, and shall inform the public on the operations or activities of DA or DoD. While the subject of a request may contain information that concerns operations or activities of DA or DoD, it may not always hold great potential for contributing to a meaningful understanding of these operations or activities. An example of such would be a previously released record that has been heavily redacted, the balance of which may contain only random words, fragmented sentences, or paragraph headings. A determination as to whether a record in this situation will contribute to the public understanding of the operations or activities of DA or DoD must be approached with caution, and carefully weighed against the arguments offered by the requester. Another example is information already known to be in the public domain. Disclosure of duplicative, or nearly identical information already existing in the public domain may add no meaningful new information concerning the operations and activities of DA or DoD.
(iii) The contribution to an understanding of the subject by the general public is likely to result from disclosure that will inform, or have the potential to inform the public, rather than simply the individual requester or small segment of interested persons. The identity of the requester is essential in this situation in order to determine whether such requester has the capability and intention to disseminate the information to the public. Mere assertions of plans to author a book, researching a particular subject, doing doctoral dissertation work, or indigence are insufficient without demonstrating the capacity to further disclose the information in a manner that will be informative to the general public. Requesters should be asked to describe their qualifications, the nature of their research, the purpose of the requested information, and their intended means of dissemination to the public.
(iv) Activities must differentiate the relative significance or impact of the disclosure against the current level of public knowledge, or understanding, which exists before the disclosure. In other words, will disclosure on a current subject of wide public interest be unique in contributing previously unknown facts, thereby enhancing public knowledge, or will it basically duplicate what is already known by the general public? A decision regarding significance requires objective judgment, rather than subjective determination, and must be applied carefully to determine whether disclosure will likely lead to a significant public understanding of the issue. Activities shall not make value judgments as to whether the information is important enough to be made public.
(3) Disclosure of the information “is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.”
(i) If the request is determined to be of a commercial interest, Activities should address the magnitude of that interest to determine if the requester's commercial interest is primary, as opposed to any secondary personal or non-commercial interest. In addition to profit-making organizations, individual persons or other organizations may have a commercial interest in obtaining certain records. Where it is difficult to determine whether the requester is of a commercial nature, Activities may draw inference from the requester's identity and circumstances of the request. Activities are reminded that in order to apply the commercial standards of the FOIA, the requester's commercial benefit must clearly override any personal or non-profit interest.
(ii) Once a requester's commercial interest has been determined, Activities should then determine if the disclosure would be primarily in that interest. This requires a balancing test between the commercial interest of the request against any public benefit to be derived as a result of that disclosure. Where the public interest is served above and beyond that of the requester's commercial interest, a waiver or reduction of fees would be appropriate. Conversely, even if a significant public interest exists, and the relative commercial interest of the requester is determined to be greater than the public interest, then a waiver or reduction of fees would be inappropriate. As examples, news media organizations have a commercial interest as business organizations; however, their inherent role of disseminating news to the general public can ordinarily be presumed to be of a primary interest. Therefore, any commercial interest becomes secondary to the primary interest in serving the public. Similarly, scholars writing books or engaged in other forms of academic research, may recognize a commercial benefit, either directly, or indirectly (through the institution they represent); however, normally such pursuits are primarily undertaken for educational purposes, and the application of a fee charge would be inappropriate. Conversely, data brokers or others who merely compile government information for marketing can normally be presumed to have an interest primarily of a commercial nature.
(4) Activities are reminded that the factors and examples used in this section are not all inclusive. Each fee decision must be considered on a case-by-case basis and upon the merits of the information provided in each request. When the element of doubt as to whether to charge or waive the fee cannot be clearly resolved, Activities should rule in favor of the requester.
(5) In addition, the following additional circumstances describe situations where waiver or reduction of fees are most likely to be warranted:
(i) A record is voluntarily created to prevent an otherwise burdensome effort to provide voluminous amounts of available records, including additional information not requested; or
(ii) A previous denial of records is reversed in total, or in part, and the assessable costs are not substantial (e.g., $15.00—$30.00).
(e) Fee assessment. Fees may not be used to discourage requesters, and to this end, FOIA fees are limited to standard charges for direct document search, review (in the case of commercial requesters) and duplication.
(1) In order to be as responsive as possible to FOIA requests while minimizing unwarranted costs to the taxpayer, Activities shall adhere to the following procedures:
(i) Each request must be analyzed to determine the category of the requester. If the Activity determination regarding the category of the requester is different than that claimed by the requester, the Activity should notify the requester to provide additional justification to warrant the category claimed, and that a search for responsive records will not be initiated until agreement has been attained relative to the category of the requester. Absent further category justification from the requester, and within a reasonable period of time (i.e., 30 calendar days), the Activity shall render a final category determination, and notify the requester of such determination, to include normal administrative appeal rights of the determination. The requester should be advised that, notwithstanding any appeal, a search for responsive records will not be initiated until the requester indicates a willingness to pay assessable costs appropriate for the category determined by the Activity;
(ii) Requesters should submit a fee declaration appropriate for the below categories. Commercial requesters should indicate a willingness to pay all search, review and duplication costs. Educational or Noncommercial Scientific Institution or News Media requesters should indicate a willingness to pay duplication charges, if applicable, in excess of 100 pages if more than 100 pages of records are desired. All other requesters should indicate a willingness to pay assessable search and duplication costs;
(iii) Activities must be prepared to provide an estimate of assessable fees if desired by the requester. While it is recognized that search situations will vary among Activities, and that an estimate is often difficult to obtain prior to an actual search, requesters who desire estimates are entitled to such before committing to a willingness to pay. Should Activities' actual costs exceed the amount of the estimate or the amount agreed to by the requester, the amount in excess of the estimate or the requester's agreed amount shall not be charged without the requester's agreement;
(iv) No Army Activity may require advance payment of any fee; i.e., payment before work is commenced or continued on a request, unless the requester has previously failed to pay fees in a timely fashion, or the agency has determined that the fee will exceed $250.00. As used in this sense, a timely fashion is 30 calendar days from the date of billing (the fees have been assessed in writing) by the Activity;
(v) Where an Activity estimates or determines that allowable charges that a requester may be required to pay are likely to exceed $250.00, the Activity shall notify the requester of the likely cost and obtain satisfactory assurance of full payment where the requester has a history of prompt payments, or require an advance payment of an amount up to the full estimated charges in the case of requesters with no history of payment;
(vi) Where a requester has previously failed to pay a fee charged in a timely fashion (i.e., within 30 calendar days from the date of the billing), the Activity may require the requester to pay the full amount owed, plus any applicable interest, or demonstrate that he or she has paid the fee, and to make an advance payment of the full amount of the estimated fee before the Activity begins to process a new or pending request from the requester. Interest will be at the rate prescribed in 31 U.S.C. 3717, and confirmed with respective Finance and Accounting Offices;
(vii) After all work is completed on a request, and the documents are ready for release, Activities may request payment before forwarding the documents, particularly for those requesters who have no payment history, or for those requesters who have failed previously to pay a fee in a timely fashion (i.e., within 30 calendar days from the date of the billing;
(viii) The administrative time limits of the FOIA will begin only after the Activity has received a willingness to pay fees and satisfaction as to category determination, or fee payments (if appropriate); and
(ix) Activities may charge for time spent searching for records, even if that search fails to locate records responsive to the request. Activities may also charge search and review (in the case of commercial requesters) time if records located are determined to be exempt from disclosure. In practice, if the Activity estimates that search charges are likely to exceed $25.00, it shall notify the requester of the estimated amount of fees, unless the requester has indicated in advance his or her willingness to pay fees as high as those anticipated. Such a notice shall offer the requester the opportunity to confer with Activity personnel with the object of reformulating the request to meet his or her needs at a lower cost.
(2) Commercial requesters. Fees shall be limited to reasonable standard charges for document search, review and duplication when records are requested for commercial use. Requesters must reasonably describe the records sought.
(i) The term “commercial use” request refers to a request from, or on behalf of one who seeks information for a use or purpose that furthers the commercial, trade, or profit interest of the requester or the person on whose behalf the request is made. In determining whether a requester properly belongs in this category, Activities must determine the use to which a requester will put the documents requested. Moreover, where an Activity has reasonable cause to doubt the use to which a requester will put the records sought, or where that use is not clear from the request itself, Activities should seek additional clarification before assigning the request to a specific category.
(ii) When Activities receive a request for documents for commercial use, they should assess charges, which recover the full direct costs of searching for, reviewing for release, and duplicating the records sought. Commercial requesters (unlike other requesters) are not entitled to two hours of free search time, nor 100 free pages of reproduction of documents. Moreover, commercial requesters are not normally entitled to a waiver or reduction of fees based upon an assertion that disclosure would be in the public interest. However, because use is the exclusive determining criteria, it is possible to envision a commercial enterprise making a request that is not for commercial use. It is also possible that a non-profit organization could make a request that is for commercial use. Such situations must be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
(3) Educational institution requesters. Fees shall be limited to only reasonable standard charges for document duplication (excluding charges for the first 100 pages) when the request is made by an educational institution whose purpose is scholarly research. Requesters must reasonably describe the records sought. The term “educational institution” refers to a pre-school, a public or private elementary or secondary school, an institution of graduate high education, an institution of undergraduate higher education, an institution of professional education, and an institution of vocational education, which operates a program or programs of scholarly research. Fees shall be waived or reduced in the public interest if the criteria above have been met.
(4) Non-commercial scientific institution requesters. Fees shall be limited to only reasonable standard charges for document duplication (excluding charges for the first 100 pages) when the request is made by a non-commercial scientific institution whose purpose is scientific research. Requesters must reasonably describe the records sought. The term “non-commercial scientific institution” refers to an institution that is not operated on a “commercial” basis and that is operated solely for the purpose of conducting scientific research, the results of which are not intended to promote any particular product or industry.
(5) Activities shall provide documents to requesters for the cost of duplication alone, excluding charges for the first 100 pages. To be eligible for inclusion in these categories, requesters must show that the request is being made under the auspices of a qualifying institution and that the records are not sought for commercial use, but in furtherance of scholarly (from an educational institution) or scientific (from a non-commercial scientific institution) research.
(6) Representatives of the news media. Fees shall be limited to only reasonable standard charges for document duplication (excluding charges for the first 100 pages) when the request is made by a representative of the news media. Requesters must reasonably describe the records sought.
(i) The term “representative of the news media” refers to any person actively gathering news for an entity that is organized and operated to publish or broadcast news to the public. The term “news” means information that is about current events or that would be of current interest to the public. Examples of news media entities include television or radio stations broadcasting to the public at large and publishers of periodicals (but only in those instances when they can qualify as disseminators of “news”) who make their products available for purchase or subscription by the general public. These examples are not meant to be all-inclusive. Moreover, as traditional methods of news delivery evolve (e.g., electronic dissemination of newspapers through telecommunications services), such alternative media would be included in this category. In the case of “freelance” journalists, they may be regarded as working for a news organization if they can demonstrate a solid basis for expecting publication through that organization, even though not actually employed by it. A publication contract would be the clearest proof, but Activities may also look to the past publication record of a requester in making this determination.
(ii) To be eligible for inclusion in this category, a requester must meet the criteria in paragraph (e) (6) (i) of this section, and his or her request must not be made for commercial use. A request for records supporting the news dissemination function of the requester shall not be considered to be a request that is for a commercial use. For example, a document request by a newspaper for records relating to the investigation of a defendant in a current criminal trial of public interest could be presumed to be a request from an entity eligible for inclusion in this category, and entitled to records at the cost of reproduction alone (excluding charges for the first 100 pages).
(iii) “Representative of the news media” does not include private libraries, private repositories of Government records, information vendors, data brokers or similar marketers of information whether to industries and businesses, or other entities.
(7) All other requesters. Activities shall charge requesters who do not fit into any of the categories, fees which recover the full direct cost of searching for and duplicating records, except that the first two hours of search time and the first 100 pages of duplication shall be furnished without charge. Requesters must reasonably describe the records sought. Requests from subjects about themselves will continue to be treated under the fee provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974, which permit fees only for duplication. Activities are reminded that this category of requester may also be eligible for a waiver or reduction of fees if disclosure of the information is in the public interest as defined in paragraph (6) (ii) in this section.
(f) Aggregating requests. Except for requests that are for a commercial use, an Activity may not charge for the first two hours of search time or for the first 100 pages of reproduction. However, a requester may not file multiple requests at the same time, each seeking portions of a document or documents, solely in order to avoid payment of fees. When an Activity reasonably believes that a requester or, on rare occasions, a group of requesters acting in concert, is attempting to break a request down into a series of requests for the purpose of avoiding the assessment of fees, the agency may aggregate any such requests and charge accordingly. One element to be considered in determining whether a belief would be reasonable is the time period in which the requests have occurred. For example, it would be reasonable to presume that multiple requests of this type made within a 30-day period had been made to avoid fees. For requests made over a longer period, however, such a presumption becomes harder to sustain and Activities should have a solid basis for determining that aggregation is warranted in such cases. Activities are cautioned that before aggregating requests from more than one requester, they must have a concrete basis on which to conclude that the requesters are acting in concert and are acting specifically to avoid payment of fees. In no case may Activities aggregate multiple requests on unrelated subjects from one requester.
(g) Debt Collection Act of 1982 (Pub. L. 97-365). The Debt Collection Act provides for a minimum annual rate of interest to be charged on overdue debts owed the Federal Government. Activities may levy this interest penalty for any fees that remain outstanding 30 calendar days from the date of billing (the first demand notice) to the requester of the amount owed. The interest rate shall be as prescribed in 31 U.S.C. 3717. Activities should verify the current interest rate with respective Finance and Accounting Offices. After one demand letter has been sent, and 30 calendar days have lapsed with no payment, Activities may submit the debt to respective Finance and Accounting Offices for collection pursuant to the Debt Collection Act.
(h) Computation of fees. The fee schedule shall be used to compute the search, review (in the case of commercial requesters) and duplication costs associated with processing a given FOIA request. Costs shall be computed on time actually spent. Neither time-based nor dollar-based minimum charges for search, review and duplication are authorized. The appropriate fee category of the requester shall be applied before computing fees. DD Form 2086 (Record of Freedom of Information (FOI) Processing Cost) will be used to annotate fees for processing FOIA information.
(i) Refunds. In the event that an Activity discovers that it has overcharged a requester or a requester has overpaid, the Activity shall promptly refund the charge to the requester by reimbursement methods that are agreeable to the requester and the Activity.
§518.20 Collection of fees and fee rates.
(a) Collection of fees. Collection of fees will be made at the time of providing the documents to the requester or recipient when the requester specifically states that the costs involved shall be acceptable or acceptable up to a specified limit that covers the anticipated costs. Collection of fees may not be made in advance unless the requester has failed to pay previously assessed fees within 30 calendar days from the date of the billing by the Activity, or the Activity has determined that the fee will be in excess of $250.
(b) Search time—(1) Costs for manual searches.
(2) Computer search. Fee assessments for computer search consists of two parts; individual time (hereafter referred to as human time), and machine time.
(i) Human time. Human time is all the time spent by humans performing the necessary tasks to prepare the job for a machine to execute the run command. If execution of a run requires monitoring by a human, that human time may be also assessed as computer search. The terms “programmer/operator” shall not be limited to the traditional programmers or operators. Rather, the terms shall be interpreted in their broadest sense to incorporate any human involved in performing the computer job (e.g. technician, administrative support, operator, programmer, database administrator, or action officer).
(ii) Machine time. Machine time involves only direct costs of the Central Processing Unit (CPU), input/output devices, and memory capacity used in the actual computer configuration. Only this CPU rate shall be charged. No other machine related costs shall be charged. In situations where the capability does not exist to calculate CPU time, no machine costs can be passed on to the requester. When CPU calculations are not available, only human time costs shall be assessed to requesters. Should Army Activities lease computers, the services charged by the lesser shall not be passed to the requester under the FOIA.
(c) Duplication costs.
(d) Review time costs (in the case of commercial requesters).
(e) Audiovisual documentary materials. Search costs are computed as for any other record. Duplication cost is the actual direct cost of reproducing the material, including the wage of the person doing the work. Audiovisual materials provided to a requester need not be in reproducible format or quality. Army audiovisual materials are referred to as “visual information.”
(f) Other records. Direct search and duplication cost for any record not described above shall be computed in the manner described for audiovisual documentary material.
(g) Costs for special services. Complying with requests for special services is at the discretion of the Activities. Neither the FOIA, nor its fee structure cover these kinds of services. Therefore, Activities may recover the costs of special services requested by the requester after agreement has been obtained in writing from the requester to pay for one or more of the following services:
(1) Certifying that records are true copies; and/or
(2) Sending records by special methods such as express mail, etc.
§518.21 Collection of fees and fee rates for technical data.
(a) Fees for technical data. Technical data, other than technical data that discloses critical technology with military or space application, if required to be released under the FOIA, shall be released after the person requesting such technical data pays all reasonable costs attributed to search, duplication and review of the records to be released. Technical data, as used in this section, means recorded information, regardless of the form or method of the recording of a scientific or technical nature (including computer software documentation). This term does not include computer software, or data incidental to contract administration, such as financial and/or management information. Army Activities shall retain the amounts received by such a release, and it shall be merged with and available for the same purpose and the same time period as the appropriation from which the costs were incurred in complying with request. All reasonable costs as used in this sense are the full costs to the Federal Government of rendering the service, or fair market value of the service, whichever is higher. Fair market value shall be determined in accordance with commercial rates in the local geographical area. In the absence of a known market value, charges shall be based on recovery of full costs to the Federal Government. The full costs shall include all direct and indirect costs to conduct the search and to duplicate the records responsive to the request. This cost is to be differentiated from the direct costs allowable for other types of information released under the FOIA. DD Form 2086-1 will be used to annotate fees for technical data. The form is available through normal publication channels.
(b) Waiver. Activities shall waive the payment of costs described in paragraph (a) of this section, which are greater than the costs that would be required for release of this same information if the request is made by a citizen of the United States or a United States corporation, and such citizen or corporation certifies that the technical data requested is required to enable it to submit an offer, or determine whether it is capable of submitting an offer to provide the product to which the technical data relates to the United States or a contractor with the United States. However, Activities may require the citizen or corporation to pay a deposit in an amount equal to not more than the cost of complying with the request, which will be refunded upon submission of an offer by the citizen or corporation;
(1) The release of technical data is requested in order to comply with the terms of an international agreement; or,
(2) The Activity determines that such a waiver is in the interest of the United States.
(c) Fee rates—(1) Costs for a manual search of technical data.
Notes: Professional and Executive (To be established at actual hourly rate prior to search. A minimum charge will be established at 1/2 hourly rates.
(2) Computer search is based on the total cost of the cpu, input-output devices, and memory capacity of the actual computer configuration. The wage for the computer operator and/or programmer determining how to conduct, and subsequently executing the search will be recorded as part of the computer search.
(d) Duplication costs for technical data.
(e) Review time costs of technical data.
Notes: Professional and Executive (To be established at actual hourly rate prior to search. A minimum charge will be established at 1/2 hourly rates.
(f) Other technical data records. Charges for any additional services not specifically consistent with Volume 11A of DoD 7000.14-R, shall be made by Activities at the following rates:
§518.22 Reports control.
(a) General. (1) The Annual FOIA Report is mandated by the statute and reported on a fiscal year basis. Due to the magnitude of the requested statistics and the need to ensure accuracy of reporting, Army Activities shall track this data as requests are processed. This will also facilitate a quick and accurate compilation of statistics. Army Activities shall forward their report to DA, FOIA/PA Office, no later than October 15 following the fiscal year's close. It may be submitted electronically and via hard copy accompanied by a computer diskette. In turn, DA and DoD will produce a consolidated report for a submission to the Attorney General and ensure that a copy of the consolidated report is placed on the Internet for public access.
(2) Existing Army standards and registered data elements are to be utilized to the greatest extent possible in accordance with the provisions of DoD 8320.1-M, “Data Administration Procedures.”
(3) The reporting requirement outlined is assigned Report Control Symbol DD-DA&M(A)1365, FOIA Report to Congress.
(b) Reporting time. Each DA IDA shall prepare statistics and accumulate paperwork for the preceding fiscal year on those items prescribed for the annual report. The IDAs will follow guidelines below and submit the information to the DA, FOIA/PA Office, on or before the 15th day of each October.
(1) Each reporting activity will submit the information requested on the DD Form 2564, “Annual Report Freedom of Information Act.” The form is available through normal publication channels.
(2) Each IDA will submit the information requested on the DD Form 2564, excluding items 3, 4, and 9c.
(3) The Judge Advocate General (DAJA) and Chief of Engineers (COE) will submit the information requested on the Form DD 2564, item 9c.
(4) The General Counsel (SAGC) will submit the information requested on the DD Form 2564, items 3 and 4.
(5) The DA, FOIA/PA Office will compile the data submitted in the Army's Annual Report. This report will be submitted to the DoD Office for Freedom of Information and Security Review on or before the 30th day of each November.
§518.23 Annual report content.
The current edition of DD Form 2564 shall be used to submit Activity input. Instructions for completion follows:
(a) ITEM 1 Initial Request Determinations. Please note that initial PA requests, which are also processed as initial FOIA requests, are reported here.
(1) Total requests processed. Enter the total number of initial FOIA requests responded to (completed) during the fiscal year. This should include pending cases at the end of the prior fiscal year, Total Actions is the sum of Items 1b through 1e, on the DD Form 2564. This total may exceed Total Requests Processed.
(2) Granted in full. Enter the total number of initial FOIA requests responded to that were granted in full during the fiscal year. (This may include requests granted by your office, yet still requiring action by another office).
(3) Denied in part. Enter the total number of initial FOIA requests responded to and denied in part based on one or more of the FOIA exemptions. (Do not report “Other Reason Responses” as a partial denial here, unless a FOIA exemption is also used).
(4) Denied in full. Enter the total number of initial FOIA requests responded to and denied in full based on one or more of the FOIA exemptions. (Do not report “Other Reason Responses” as denials here, unless a FOIA exemption is also used).
(5) “Other Reason” responses. Enter the total number of initial FOIA requests in which you were unable to provide all or part of the requested information based on an “Other Reason” response.
(6) Total actions. Enter the total number of FOIA actions taken during the fiscal year. This number will be the sum of items 1b, through 1e. Total Actions must be equal to or greater than the number of Total Requests Processed.
(b) ITEM 2 Initial Request Exemptions and Other Reasons—(1) Exemptions invoked on initial request determinations. Enter the number of times an exemption was claimed for each request that was denied in full or in part. Since more than one exemption may be claimed when responding to a single request, this number will be equal to or greater than the sum of (3) and (4), above. The (b)(7) exemption is reported by subcategories (A) through (F): (A) Interfere with Enforcement; (B) Fair Trial Right; (C) Invasion of Privacy; (D) Protect Confidential Source; (E) Disclose Techniques, and (F) Endanger Life or Safety.
(2) “Other Reasons” cited on initial determinations. Identify the “Other Reason” response cited when responding to a FOIA request and enter the number of times each was claimed.
(i) No records. Enter the number of times a reasonable search of files failed to identify records responsive to subject request.
(ii) Referrals. Enter the number of times a request was referred to another DoD Component or Federal Agency for action.
(iii) Request withdrawn. Enter the number of times a request and/or appeal was withdrawn by a requester.
(iv) Fee-related reason. Requester is unwilling to pay the fees associated with a request; the requester is past due in the payment of fees from a previous FOIA request; or the requester disagrees with a fee estimate.
(v) Records not reasonably described. Enter the number of times a FOIA request could not be acted upon since the record had not been described with sufficient particularity to enable the Army Activity to locate it by conducting a reasonable search.
(vi) Not a proper FOIA request for some other reason. Enter the number of times the requester has failed unreasonably to comply with procedural requirements, other than fee-related imposed by this part or an Army Activity's supplementing regulation.
(vii) Not an agency record. Enter the number of times a requester was provided a response indicating the requested information was not a record within the meaning of the FOIA and this part.
(viii) Duplicate request. Record number of duplicate requests closed for that reason (e.g., request for the same information by the same requester). This includes identical requests received via different means (e.g., electronic mail, facsimile, mail, and courier) at the same or different times.
(ix) Other (specify). Any other reason a requester does not comply with published rules, other than those reasons outlined in paragraphs (b)(2)(i) through (viii) of this section.
(x) Total. Enter the sum of paragraphs (b)(2)(i) through (ix) of this section, in the block provided on the form (total other reasons). This number will be equal to or greater than the number in item 1e on the report form, since more than one reason may be claimed for each “Other Reason” response.
(3) (b)(3) Statutes invoked on initial determinations. Identify the number of times you have used a specific statute to support each (b)(3) exemption. List the statutes used to support each (b)(3) exemption; the number of instances in which the statute was cited; note whether or not the statute has been upheld in a court hearing; and provide a concise description of the material withheld in each individual case by the statute's use. Ensure you cite the specific sections of the acts invoked. The total number of instances reported will be equal to or greater than the total number of (b)(3) exemptions listed in Item 2a on the report form.
(c) ITEM 3 Appeal Determinations. Please note that PA appeals, which are also processed as FOIA appeals, are reported here.
(1) Total appeal responses. Enter the total number of FOIA appeals responded to (completed) during the fiscal year.
(2) Granted in full. Enter the total number of FOIA appeals responded to and granted in full during the year.
(3) Denied in part. Enter the total number of FOIA appeals responded to and denied in part based on one or more of the FOIA exemptions. (Do not report “Other Reason Responses” as a partial denial here, unless a FOIA exemption is used also.)
(4) Denied in full. Enter the total number of FOIA appeals responded to and denied in full based on one or more of the FOIA exemptions. (Do not report “Other Reason Responses” as denials here, unless a FOIA exemption is used also).
(5) “Other Reason” responses. Enter the total number of FOIA appeals in which you were unable to provide the requested information based on an “Other Reason” response.
(6) Total actions. Enter the total number of FOIA appeal actions taken during the fiscal year. This number will be the sum of items 3b, through 3e, and should be equal to or greater than the number of Total Appeal Responses, item 3a on the report form.
(d) ITEM 4 Appeal Exemptions and Other Reasons—(1) Exemptions invoked on appeal determinations. Enter the number of times an exemption was claimed for each appeal that was denied in full or in part. Since more than one exemption may be claimed when responding to a single request, this number will be equal to or greater than the sum of items 3c, and 3d on the report form. Note that the (b)(7) exemption is reported by subcategory (A) through (F): (A) Interfere with Enforcement; (B) Fair Trial Right; (C) Invasion of Privacy; (D) Protect Confidential Source; (E) Disclose Techniques, and (F) Endanger Life or Safety.
(2) “Other Reasons” cited on appeal determinations. Identify the “Other Reason” response cited when responding to a FOIA appeal and enter the number of times each was claimed. This number may be equal to or possibly greater than the number in item 3e on the report form, since more than one reason may be claimed for each “Other Reason” response.
(3) (b)(3) Statutes invoked on appeal determinations. Identify the number of times a specific statute has been used to support each (b)(3) exemption identified in item 4a on the report form DD 2564. List the statutes used to support each (b)(3) exemption; the number of instances in which the statute was cited; note whether or not the statute has been upheld in a court hearing; and provide a concise description of the material withheld in each individual case by the statute's use. Ensure citation to the specific sections of the statute invoked. The total number of instances reported will be equal to or greater than the total number of (b)(3) exemptions listed in Item 4a on the report form.
(e) ITEM 5 Number and Median Age of Initial Cases Pending:
(1) Total initial cases pending:
(i) Beginning and ending report period: Midnight, 2400 hours, September 30, of the Preceding Year—or—0001 hours, October 1, is the beginning of the report period. Midnight, 2400 hours, is the close of the reporting period.
(ii) The number for the beginning report period must be the same number reported as of the end of the report period from the previous report.
(2) Median age of initial requests pending: Report the median age in days (including holidays and weekends) of initial requests pending.
(3) Examples of median calculation. (i) If given five cases aged 10, 25, 35, 65, and 100 days from date of receipt as of the previous September 30th, the total requests pending is five (5). The median age (days) of open requests is the middle, not average value, in this set of numbers (10, 25, 35, 65, and 100), 35 (the middle value in the set).
(ii) If given six pending cases, aged 10, 20, 30, 50, 120, and 200 days from date of receipt, as of the previous September 30th, the total requests pending is six (6). The median age (days) of open requests 40 days (the mean [average] of the two middle numbers in the set, in this case the average of middle values 30 and 50).
(4) Accuracy of calculations. Activities must ensure the accuracy of calculations. As backup, the raw data used to perform calculations should be recorded and preserved. This will enable recalculation of median [and mean values] as necessary. Activities may require subordinate elements to forward raw data, as deemed necessary and appropriate.
(5) Average. If an Activity believes that “average” (mean) processing time is a better measure of performance, then report “averages” (means) as well as median values (e.g., with data reflected and plainly labeled on plain bond as an attachment to the report). However, “average” (mean) values will not be included in the consolidated Army report unless all Activities report it.
(f) ITEM 6 Number of Initial Requests Received During the Fiscal Year. Enter the total number of initial FOIA requests received during the reporting period (fiscal year being reported).
(g) ITEM 7 Types of Requests Processed and Median Age. Information is reported for three types of initial requests completed during the reporting period: Simple; Complex; and Expedited Processing. The following items of information are reported for these requests:
(1) Total number of initial requests. Enter the total number of initial requests processed [completed] during the reporting period (fiscal year) by type (Simple, Complex and Expedited Processing) in the appropriate row on the form.
(2) Median age (days). Enter the median number of days [calendar days including holidays and weekends] required to process each type of case (Simple, Complex and Expedited Processing) during the period in the appropriate row on the form.
(3) Example. Given seven initial requests, multitrack—simple completed during the fiscal year, aged 10, 25, 35, 65, 79, 90 and 400 days when completed. The total number of requests completed was seven (7). The median age (days) of completed requests is 65, the middle value in the set.
(h) ITEM 8 Fees Collected From the Public. Enter the total amount of fees collected from the public during the fiscal year. This includes search, review and reproduction costs only.
(i) ITEM 9 FOIA Program Costs—(1) Number of full time staff. Enter the number of personnel your agency had dedicated to working FOIA full time during the fiscal year. This will be expressed in work-years [man-years]. For example: “5.1, 3.2, 1.0, 6.5, et al.”
Table 7-1—Sample Computation of Work Years for Full Time Staff
(2) Number of part time staff. Enter the number of personnel your agency had dedicated to working FOIA part time during the fiscal year. This will be expressed in work-years [man-years]. For example: “5.1, 3.2, 1.0, 6.5, et al.”
Table 7-2—Computation of Work Years for Part Time Staff
(3) Estimated litigation cost. Report your best estimate of litigation costs for the FY. Include all direct and indirect expenses associated with FOIA litigation in U.S. District Courts, U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
(4) Total program cost. Report the total cost of FOIA program operation within your agency. Include your litigation costs in this total. While you do not have to report detailed cost information as in the past, you should be able to explain the techniques by which you derived you agency's total cost figures if the need arises.
(i) Before the close of each fiscal year, the DoD OFOISR will dispatch the latest OSD Composite Rate Chart for military personnel to DoD Components. This information may be used in computing military personnel costs.
(ii) Army Activities should compute their civilian personnel costs using rates from local Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Salary Tables and shall add 16% for benefits.
(iii) Data captured on DD Form 2086, and DD Form 2086-1, shall be summarized and used in computing total costs.
(iv) An overhead rate of 25% shall be added to all calculated costs for supervision, space, and administrative support.
(j) ITEM 10 Authentication. The official that approves the agency's report submission to DA will sign and date; enter typed name and duty title; and provide both the agency's name and phone number for questions about the report. The consolidated Annual FOIA Report will be made available to the public in electronic format by DoD.
Appendix A to Part 518—References
(1) AR 1-20 Legislative Liaison;
(2) AR 20-1 Inspector General Activities and Procedures;
(3) AR 25-1 The Army Information Management;
(4) AR 25-11 Record Communications and the Privacy Communications System;
(5) AR 25-400-2 The Army Records Information Management System (ARIMS);
(6) AR 27-20 Claims;
(7) AR 36-2 Audit Reports and Follow-up;
(8) AR 40-66 Medical Record Administration and Health Care Documentation;
(9) AR 40-68 Quality Assurance Administration;
(10) AR 40-400 Patient Administration;
(11) AR 195-2 Criminal Investigation Activities;
(12) AR 25-71 The Army Privacy Program;
(13) AR 360-1 The Army Public Affairs Program;
(14) AR 380-5 Department of the Army Information Security Program;
(15) AR 381-10 U.S. Army Intelligence Activities;
(16) AR 381-12 Subversion and Espionage Directed Against The U.S. Army (SAEDA);
(17) AR 381-20 The Army Counterintelligence Program;
(18) AR 530-1 Operations Security (OPSEC);
(19) AR 600-85 Army Substance Abuse Program; and
(20) AR 608-18 The Army Family Advocacy Program.
(b) Related publications. A related publication is merely a source of additional information. The user does not have to read it to understand this part.
(1) AR 10-5 Headquarters, Department of the Army;
(2) AR 27-10 Military Justice;
(3) AR 27-40 Litigation;
(4) AR 27-60 Intellectual Property;
(5) AR 60-20 Army and Air Force Exchange Service Operating Policies AFR 147-14;
(6) AR 70-31 Standards for Technical Reporting;
(7) AR 190-45 Law Enforcement Reporting;
(8) AR 380-10 Foreign Disclosure and Contacts with Foreign Representatives;
(9) AR 381-45 Investigative Records Repository;
(10) AR 385-40 Accident Reporting and Records;
(11) DA Pam 25-30 Consolidated Army Publications and Index Forms;
(12) DA Pam 25-51 The Army Privacy Program—System of Records Notices and Exemption Rules;
(13) DoD Directive 5100.3 Support of the Headquarters of Combatant and Subordinate Joint Commands, November 15, 1999;
(14) DoD Directive 5230.24 Distribution Statements on Technical Documents, March 18, 1987;
(15) DoD Directive 5230.25 Withholding of Unclassified Technical Data From Public Disclosure, November 6, 1984;
(16) DoD Directive 5230.9 Clearance of DoD Information for Public Release, April 9, 1996;
(17) DoD Directive 5400.4 Provision of Information to Congress, January 30, 1978;
(18) DoD Directive 5400.7 DoD Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Program, September 29, 1997;
(19) DoD Directive 5400.11 DOD Privacy Program, December 13, 1999;
(20) DoD Directive 7650.1 Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Comptroller General Access to Records, September 11, 1997;
(21) DoD Directive 7650.2 Government Accountability Office Reviews and Reports, July 13, 2000;
(22) DoD Directive 8910.1 Management and Control of Information Requirements, June 11, 1993;
(23) DoD Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS), Part 227 Patents, Data, and Copyrights. See also 48 CFR part 227;
(24) Department of Defense Financial Management Regulation (Reimbursable Operations, Policy and Procedures) Volume 11A, April 2003 authorized by DoD Instruction 7000.14, DoD Financial Management Policy and Procedures, November 15, 1992;
(25) DoD Instruction 5400.10 OSD Implementation of DoD Freedom of Information Act Program, January 24, 1991;
(26) DoD 5200.1-R Information Security Program, January 1997, authorized by DoD Directive 5200.1, December 13, 1996, DoD Information Security Program;
(27) DoD 5400.7-R DoD Freedom of Information Act Program, September 4, 1998;
(28) DoD 5400.11-R Department of Defense Privacy Program, August 1983, authorized by DoD Directive 5400.11, December 13, 1999, DoD Privacy Program;
(29) Executive Order 12600 Predisclosure Notification Procedures for Confidential Commercial Information, June 23, 1987, 52 FR 23781;
(30) Public Law 86-36 National Security Information Exemption, Codified at 50 U.S.C. 402, as amended;
(31) Public Law 104-191 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, Codified at 42 U.S.C. 1171-1179, as amended;
(32) Section 822 of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 90 and 91 (Pub. L. 101-189, November 29, 1989: 103 Stat. 1382, 1503);
(33) 5 U.S.C. 551-559, Administrative Procedures Act;
(34) 5 U.S.C. 552, as amended: public information; agency rules, opinions, orders, records, and proceedings. (FOIA);
(35) 5 U.S.C. 552a, as amended: records about individuals, (PA of 1974);
(36) 10 U.S.C. 128, Physical Protection of Special Nuclear Material: Limitation on Dissemination of Unclassified Information;
(37) 10 U.S.C. 130, Authority to Withhold from Public Disclosure Certain Technical Data;
(38) 10 U.S.C. 130(b), Personnel in Overseas, Sensitive, or Routinely Deployable Units: nondisclosure of personally identifying information;
(39) 10 U.S.C. 1102(f), Confidentiality of Medical Quality Assurance Records: Qualified Immunity for Participants;
(40) 10 U.S.C. 2305(g) Prohibition on Release of Contractor Proposals;
(41) 10 U.S.C. 2320-2321, Rights in Technical Data;
(42) 10 U.S.C. 2328, Release of Technical Data under Freedom of Information Act: Recovery of Costs;
(43) 17 U.S.C. 106, Exclusive Rights in Copyrighted Works;
(44) 18 U.S.C. 798, Disclosure of Classified Information;
(45) 18 U.S.C. 3500, The Demands for Production of Statements and Reports of Witnesses (The Jencks Act);
(46) 31 U.S.C. 3717, Interest and Penalty on Claims;
(47) 32 CFR part 518, The Army FOIA Program;
(48) 35 U.S.C. 181-188, Secrecy of Certain Inventions and Filing of Application in Foreign Country;
(49) 41 U.S.C. 423, Restrictions on Disclosing and Obtaining Contractor Bid or Proposal Information or Source Selection Information;
(50) 42 U.S.C. 2162, Classification and Declassification of Restricted Data;
(51) 44 U.S.C. 3301-3324, Disposal of Records;
(52) 45 CFR part 164, Security and Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information; and
(53) 50 U.S.C. 403-3, War and National Defense, Protection of Intelligence Sources and Methods.
Appendix B to Part 518—Addressing FOIA Requests
(a) General. Army records may be requested from those Army officials who are listed in 32 CFR part 518 (see appendix A). Contact the DA FOIA/PA Office, to coordinate the referral of requests if there is uncertainty as to which Army activity may have the records. Send requests to particular installations or organizations as follows:
(1) Current publications and records of DA field commands, installations, and organizations. See also: http://books.army.mil/.
(2) Send the request to the commander of the command, installation, or organization, to the attention of the FOIA Official.
(3) Consult AR 25-400-2 (ARIMS) for more detailed listings of all record categories kept in DA offices.
(4) Contact the installation or organization public affairs officer for help if you cannot determine the official within a specific organization to whom your request should be addressed.
(b) Department of the Army publications. Send requests for current administrative, training, technical, and supply publications to the National Technical Information Service, U.S. Department of Commerce, 5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield, VA 22161. NTIS handles general public requests for unclassified, uncopyrighted, and nondistribution-restricted Army publications not sold through the Superintendent of Documents.
(c) Military personnel records. Send requests for military personnel records of information as follows:
(1) Army Reserve personnel not on active duty and retired personnel—Commander, U.S. Army Human Resources Command, St. Louis, 1 Reserve Way, St. Louis, MO 63132-5200.
(2) Army officer personnel discharged or deceased after July 1, 1917 and Army enlisted personnel discharged or deceased after November 1, 1912—Director, National Personnel Records Center, 9700 Page Ave., St. Louis, MO 63132-5100.
(3) Army personnel separated before the dates specified in paragraph (2), above—Old Military and Civilian Records Unit (Archives 1), National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC 20408-0001.
(4) Army National Guard officer personnel—Chief, National Guard Bureau. Army National Guard enlisted personnel—Adjutant General of the proper State.
(5) Active duty commissioned and warrant officer personnel—Commander, U.S. Army Human Resources Command, ATTN: AHRC-FOI, Alexandria, VA 22332-0404. Active duty enlisted personnel—Commander, U.S. Army Enlisted Records and Evaluation Center, ATTN: PCRE-RP, 8899 East 56th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46249-5301.
(d) Medical records. (1) Medical records of non-active duty military personnel. Use the same addresses as for military personnel records.
(2) Medical records of military personnel on active duty. Address the medical treatment facility where the records are kept. If necessary request locator service.
(3) Medical records of civilian employees and all dependents. Address the medical treatment facility where the records are kept. If the records have been retired, send requests to the Director, National Personnel Records Center, Civilian Records Facility, 111 Winnebago St., St. Louis, MO 63118-4199.
(e) Legal records. (1) Records of general courts-martial and special courts-martial in which bad conduct discharge was approved. For cases not yet forwarded for appellate review, apply to the staff judge advocate of the command having jurisdiction over the case. For cases forwarded for appellate review and for old cases, apply to the U.S. Army Legal Services Agency, ATTN: JALS-CCO, 901 North Stuart Street, Arlington, VA 22203.
(2) Records of special courts-martial not involving a bad conduct discharge. These records are kept for 10 years after completion of the case. If the case was completed within the past three years, apply to the staff judge advocate of the headquarters where it was reviewed. If the case was completed from 3 to 10 years ago, apply to the National Personnel Records Center (Military Records), 9700 Page Ave., St. Louis, MO 63132-5100. If the case was completed more than 10 years ago, the only evidence of conviction is the special courts-martial order in the person's permanent records.
(3) Records of summary courts-martial. Locally maintained records are retired 3 years after action of the supervisory authority. Request records of cases less than 3 years old from the staff judge advocate of the headquarters where the case was reviewed. After 10 years, the only evidence of conviction is the summary courts-martial order in the person's permanent records.
(4) Requests submitted under paragraphs (e) (2) and (3), of this appendix. These requests will be processed in accordance with subpart E of this part. The IDA is The Judge Advocate General, HQDA (DAJA-CL), Washington, DC 20310-2200.
(5) Administrative settlement of claims. Apply to the Chief, U.S. Army Claims Service, ATTN: JACS-TC, Building 4411, Llewellyn Avenue, Fort George G. Meade, MD 20755-5360.
(6) Records involving debarred or suspended contractors. Apply to U.S. Army Legal Services Agency (JALS-PF), 901 North Stewart Street, Arlington, VA 22203.
(7) Records of all other legal matters (other than records kept by a command, installation, or organization staff judge advocate). Apply to HQDA (DAJA-AL), Washington, DC 20310-2200.
(f) Civil works program records. Civil works records include those relating to construction, operation, and maintenance for the improvement of rivers, harbors, and waterways for navigation, flood control, and related purposes, including shore protection work by the Army. Apply to the proper division or district office of the Corps of Engineers. If necessary to determine the proper office, contact the Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 20 Massachusetts Avenue, ATTN: CECC-K, Washington, DC 20314-1000.
(g) Civilian personnel records. Send requests for personnel records of current civilian employees to the employing installation. Send requests for personnel records of former civilian employees to the Director, National Personnel Records Center, Civilian Records Facility, 111 Winnebago St., St. Louis, MO 63118-4199.
(h) Procurement records. Send requests for information about procurement activities to the contracting officer concerned or, if not feasible, to the procuring activity. If the contracting officer or procuring activity is not known, send inquiries as follows:
(1) Army Materiel Command procurement: Commander, U.S. Army Materiel Command, ATTN: AMCID-F, 5001 Eisenhower Ave., Alexandria, VA 22333-0001.
(2) Corps of Engineers procurement: Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 20 Massachusetts Avenue, ATTN: CECC-K, Washington, DC 20314-1000.
(3) All other procurement: HQDA (DAJA-KL), 2200 Army Pentagon, Washington, DC 20310-2200.
(i) Criminal investigation files. Send requests involving criminal investigation files to the Commander, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, ATTN: CICR-FP, 6010 6th St., Bldg. #1465, Ft. Belvoir, VA 22060-5585. Only the Commanding General, USACIDC, can release any USACIDC-originated criminal investigation file.
(j) Personnel security investigation files and general Army intelligence records. Send requests for personnel security investigation files, intelligence investigation and security records, and records of other Army intelligence matters to the Commander, U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, ATTN: IAMG-CIC-FOI/PO, 4552 Pike Road, Fort George G. Meade, MD 20755-5995.
(k) Inspector General records. Send requests involving records within the Inspector General system to HQDA (SAIG-ZXL), 1700 Army Pentagon, Washington, DC 20310-1700. AR 20-1 governs such records.
(l) Army records in Government records depositories. Non-current Army records are in the National Archives of the United States, Washington, DC 20408-0001; in Federal Records Centers of NARA; and in other records depositories. Requesters must write directly to the heads of these depositories for copies of such records. A list of pertinent records depositories is published in AR 25-400-2, table 10-1.