FOIA is a federal law that establishes the public's right to request existing records from Federal Government agencies. Requests are only for agency "records." The agency is not required to create documents in response to a request.
FOIA requests applicable to the Norfolk District should be made in writing.
No special form is required for a FOIA request. Electronic requests are permitted unless a signature is required, such as a request for records subject to the Privacy Act. Electronic requests should include the notation "Freedom of Information Act Request" in the subject.
Requests must state a willingness to pay the applicable fees and must describe the documents requested in sufficient detail to allow the FOIA Office to locate them with a reasonable amount of effort. In making a request you should be as specific as possible with regard to names, titles, dates, places, events, subjects, recipients, type of document, the offices likely to maintain the documents, etc.
A FOIA request can be made for any agency document. This does not mean, however, that all documents will be disclosed. There are statutory exemptions that authorize the withholding of information of a sensitive nature. Additionally, you should be aware that the FOIA does not require FOIA Offices to do research for you, to analyze data, to answer written questions, or to create records in order to respond to a request.
When a FOIA Office receives your FOIA request, it will ordinarily send you a letter acknowledging the request. If you do not provide the necessary information, the Office will advise you of what additional information is required before further processing your request.
In order to protect your privacy as well as the privacy of others, whenever you request information about yourself you will be asked to provide either a notarized statement or a statement signed under penalty of perjury stating that you are the person that you say you are
For additional assistance in submitting a request, see the Department of the Army’s A Citizen's Guide to Request Army Records under the Freedom of Information Act: http://www.epic.org/open_gov/citizens_guide_97.html
Q. How can I get more Information of FOIA?
A. Please visit the Army's FOIA website.
Q. What is the status of my FOIA request?
A. FOIA requesters who have questions about, or want to check the status of, their FOIA request, should contact the local FOIA Requester Service Center. The Corps of Engineers has established a Service Center for each major Office. Directing your questions to the Service Center at the FOIA Office to which the request was submitted, will speed up the Corps of Engineers’ response to your questions.
Q. Do I have to pay for my request and if so, how much?
A. The FOIA allows fees to be charged to certain types of requesters, but it also provides that waivers or reductions in fees be given if disclosing the information is in the public interest. Public interest is defined as information, which significantly enhances the public's knowledge of the operations and activities of the Army. The FOIA requires that requesters be placed into categories. For a more detail outline of the categories, please visit the Army's FOIA website <https://www2.arims.army.mil/rmdaxml/rmda/FreedomOfInformationAct.asp>. One of the most common categories is the one listed below: "Other" Requester. Requesters who do not qualify in another category are considered "other" requesters, and normally make requests for agency records for their personal use. "Other" requesters receive two hours search, all review costs, and the first 100 pages at no cost. A requirement under the Act is that all requesters must include a 'willingness to pay statement' in their request, however, fees are not charged unless they exceed $25. Also, the requester can set a limit on the costs to be incurred. For example, he/she may state "not to exceed $50." If the estimate for answering the request exceeds the limit, the FOIA Officer will call the requester to discuss his/her options. The requester has four options: accept the copied documents up to the previous specified amount of money, cancel the entire request, authorize the money needed to complete the request, or authorize additional funds up to another specified amount. Fee waivers may be granted when disclosure of the records is in the public interest because it is likely to ontribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government. The following factors are weighed in making a fee waiver determination.
The subject of the request.
The informative value of the information to be disclosed.
The contribution to an understanding of the subject by the general public likely to result from the disclosure.
The significance of the contribution to public understanding.
Disclosure of the information is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.