FOIAThe FOIA allows the general public to request records in writing from the Federal Government. Some records are released to the public under the FOIA and may therefore reflect deletion of some information in accordance with the FOIA's nine statutory exemptions or two law enforcement record exclusions. A consolidated list of such records is on Defense Link.

What is the FOIA?

The Freedom of Information Act Program (DODR 5400.7) allows the general public including foreign citizens, military and civilian personnel acting as private citizens, to request records electronically or in writing from the Federal Government. Some records are released to the public under the Freedom of Information Act, and may therefore reflect deletion of some information in accordance with the FOIA's nine statutory exemptions or two law enforcement record exclusions. A consolidated list of such records is on Office of Freedom of Information site and the U.S. Air Force FOIA site. Currently the law allows 20 working days to process a FOIA request upon receipt of the request in the FOIA office.

Who Can Submit a Request

Members of the public, including foreign citizens, military and civilian personnel acting as private citizens, organizations and businesses, and individual members of the Congress for themselves or constituents, may request records in writing. It is important to remember that the Freedom of Information Act applies only to federal agencies. It does not create a right of access to records held by Congress, the courts, state or local government agencies, or by private businesses or individuals. Each state has its own public access laws that should by consulted for access to state and local records.

Fees for a FOIA Request

As described in DoD Regulation 5400.7-R_AFMAN 33-302, Paragraph C1.4.3. DoD FOIA Program, requestors should indicate a willingness to pay fees associated with the processing of their request or, in the alternative, explain why a waiver of fees may be appropriate. Requestors will be contacted if the cost to provide the requested document(s) exceeds the amount they have authorized.

Fees are assessed depending on which group the request falls into. There are three fee categories:

Category 1: Commercial. Requesters pay all search, review, and duplication. Search and review time is chargeable at $44 per hour and reproduction is chargeable at fifteen cents per page.

Category 2: Educational or Noncommercial Scientific Institution or News Media or Union. The first 100 copies are free, additional copies are 15 cents per page. No charge for search or review. News media must be able to justify that they are actively gathering news for an entity that is organized and operated to publish or broadcast news to the public, such as a publication contract.

Category 3: All Others. The first 2 hours of search and review time are free. The remaining search and review time beyond 2 hours is chargeable at $44 per hour. The first 100 pages of copies are free. Reproduction beyond 100 pages is chargeable at 15 cents per page.

How to Make a FOIA Request

To submit a FOIA inquiry online, click here. Effective March 30, 2009, the Air Force has established a new Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) website for submitting request online to our Requester Service Centers (RSC). Click on the following AF eFOIA Public Access Link (PAL):

https://www.efoia.af.mil/palMain.aspx. Once there, we recommend you review all the links listed on the left side as they have been designed to provide information and guidance. Ensure you identify the physical location of the records being requested (i.e.; identify which base under the selected major command (MAJCOM) has the records you are requesting).

For Submitting Privacy Requests

If you are seeking records on yourself, this is a Privacy Act request and you will need to provide proof of identity. At this time, all Privacy Act requests must be submitted by mailing/faxing directly to the appropriate Requester Service Center.

NOTE: Air Force-affiliated requesters, to include military and civilian employees, should not use government equipment, supplies, stationery, postage, telephones, or official mail channels to make FOIA requests. Requests should be made through personal e-mail or postal service. 

Release of Email Addresses

Air Force policy is to deny requests for lists of e-mail addresses (both personal and organizational) using FOIA exemption (b)(6). We rely on FOIA exemption (b)(6) when denying lists of personal e-mail addresses. High (b)(2) is no longer to be used to protect internal information, the disclosure of which would risk circumvention of a statute or agency regulation. Because DOD e-mail systems are to be used only for official and authorized purposes, the addresses are considered primarily internal. The regulations at issue that could be circumvented include DOD and AF regulations that require us to limit use of e-mail to authorized purposes, and to protect the security of your computer and information systems. Exemption (b)(6) protects information that if released would permit a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. This does not prohibit an organization from including a single e-mail address on a Web page of in correspondence.