Home > Home > FOIA

Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), enacted in 1966, provides that any person has the right to request access to federal executive branch agency records. "Records" includes potentially all documents and electronic forms of information storage. Federal agencies are required to disclose records upon receiving a written request for them, except for those records protected from disclosure by the exemptions and exclusions of the FOIA. Any person includes non-U.S. citizens, but does not include other governmental agencies. The right of access provided for by the FOIA is enforceable in federal court. FOIA requests applicable to the Baltimore District should be made in writing and addressed to:

US Army, Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District
FOIA
P.O. Box 1715
Baltimore, MD 21203-1715

Requests must be in writing, and should include the notation "Freedom of Information Act Request" on the front of the envelope and also at the beginning of the letter. No special form is required for a FOIA request, but a Sample request is provided in the Defense Department FOIA Handbook. 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

Please direct inquiries regarding FOIA request status and processing to our Service Center Representative at:

Email: FOIA-NAB@usace.army.mil
Phone: 410-962-3385

Response Time

Under the FOIA statute, Corps of Engineer FOIA Offices are to respond to a FOIA request within twenty business days. This time period does not begin until the request is perfected, as discussed in the DoD and Army FOIA Regulations. Additionally, subject to the new time limits in the OPEN Government Act of 2007, time period will not begin until actually received by the FOIA Office that maintains the documents sought.

FOIA Liaison

If you are not satisfied with the Local FOIA Requester Service Center response about your FOIA request, you may contact the USACE FOIA Liaison.

Appeals

You may file an appeal if you are not satisfied with a FOIA Office's initial response. You should be advised of your right to file an appeal in the initial denial/determination letter sent by the FOIA Office. Ordinarily, your appeal must be received within 60 days of the date of the component's determination letter. All appeals must be made in writing and addressed to the local FOIA Office. That Office will prepare an appeal package to send through the FOIA Program Office to the Army General Counsel. Both the front of the envelope and the appeal letter should contain the notation "Freedom of Information Act Appeal." There is no specific form or particular language needed to file an appeal.

You may explain the reason or reasons why you disagree with the component's action, but a simple statement that you are appealing the ecision is normally sufficient. If, however, you are appealing because you believe there are additional records that have not been located in response to your request, you should specify why you think such records exist and, if possible, where you believe they might be located.

Sample Request Letter

FOIA Requester Service Center [or FOIA Officer] Name
DoD Component Name
Address
City, State, Zip Code

Dear :

     This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. § 552).

     I request that a copy of the following document(s) be provided to me: [identify the documents as specifically as possible].

     In order to help you determine my status for the purpose of assessing fees, you should know that I am [insert one of the descriptions below]

        a representative of the news media affiliated with the _______ newspaper (magazine, television station, etc.), and this request is made as part of news gathering and not for a commercial use.

        affiliated with an educational or noncommercial scientific institution, and this request is made for a scholarly or scientific purpose and not for a commercial use.

        affiliated with a private business and am seeking information for use in the company’s business.

        an individual seeking information for personal use and not for a commercial use.

     I am willing to pay the appropriate fees for this request up to a maximum of $___. If you estimate that the fees will exceed this limit, please inform me first.

     I also include a telephone number at which I can be contacted if necessary to discuss any aspect of my request.

                                Sincerely,

                                Name
                                Address
                                City, State, Zip Code
                                Telephone number

References