FOIA Requests

Freedom of Information Act Requests

Welcome to Headquarters United States Africa Command Requester Service Center.  The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requester Service was established in compliance with Executive Order 13392.  FOIA is a federal statute which generally provides that any person has a right to request federal agency records, except to the extent the records are protected from disclosure by any of the nine exemptions contained in the law or by one of three special law enforcement exclusions.

This Service Center was designed to assist the public in making FOIA requests for the HQ United States Africa Command records.  The information obtained herein is not intended to be definitive or exhaustive.  The FOIA, which is known by its legal cite as Title 5 U.S.C. § 552, along with the Department of Defense (DOD) Regulation 5400.7-R, governs how requests will be processed within the United States Africa Command.  Because the United States Africa Command must comply with national security laws, some documents or parts of documents may be exempt from release.  Please see FOIA exemptions under How to File a FOIA Request for more information.

Your FOIA request may be similar to previous requests approved for release.  Please review the Reading Room section of this web page to see if the information you are requesting is already posted.

Please note:  If you are making a request for personal records regarding yourself, you must provide a signed letter.  The letter, containing your signature, can be mailed, faxed or scanned and sent as an email attachment. 

This FOIA Requester Service Center is the initial point of contact for FOIA requesters to receive status, updates and appropriate information about their requests.  Any requesters which have concerns about the service they are receiving from this FOIA Requester Service Center can raise their concerns with Mr. James Hogan, FOIA Public Liaison, Chief of FOIA Policy, Appeals and Litigation.  He can be reached at 703-588-6820, DSN 425-6820 or email to foia.liaison@whs.mil.


  
Contact Information 

Standard Address
  HQ U.S. Africa Command
  FOIA Requester Service Center
  Unit 29951
  APO AE 09751 

Defense Courier (DCS) Two-Line Address
  438029 RS59
  HKR128 
  
Commercial Phone
  +49 (0)711 729-4287
  FAX +49 (0)711 729-4732

DSN Phone
 (314) 421-4287
 FAX (314) 421-4732 
  
Email address
 africom.stuttgart.accc.list.foia-mba@mail.mil

Handbook (DOD PDF Document)
o        How to make a FOIA Request

Essential Elements of a FOIA Request Letter

•Provide your full name and address
•Provide a reasonable description of the record(s) requested
•Provide a statement of your fee category and your willingness to pay applicable fees

Send the letter to the following address:
United States Africa Command
Attn: FOIA Requester Service Center
Unit 29951
APO AE 09751


Transmission via email is also acceptable.
The email address is foia@africom.mil

Sample FOIA Request

United States Africa Command
Attn: FOIA Requester Service Center
Unit 29951
APO AE 09751


Dear FOIA Officer,
Under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552), I request a copy of following document(s) be provided to me:


[identify the document(s) 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]

• representative of the news media affiliated with the [newspaper, magazine, radio, television station, etc.] and this request is made as part of news gathering and not for commercial use.
• affiliated with an educational or noncommercial scientific institution, and this request is made for a scholarly or scientific purpose and not for commercial use.
• affiliated with a private business seeking information for use in the company's business.
• an individual seeking information for personal use and not for commercial use.

If there are any fees for searching, reviewing, or copying the records, please let me know before you task my request. I am willing to pay fees for this request up to a maximum of $_______. If you estimate that the fees will exceed this limit, please inform me first.

[optional] I request a waiver of fees for this request because disclosure of the requested information to me is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the DOD and is not primarily in my commercial interest. [Include details about how the requested information will be disseminated by you to the general public.]
 

If you deny all or any part of this request, please cite each specific exemption you think justifies your refusal to release the information and notify me of appeal procedures available under the law.
 

[optional] I also include my telephone number and/or email address at which I can be contacted if necessary to discuss any aspect of my request.

Sincerely,

Name
Address
City, State, Zip Code
[optional] Telephone Number
[optional] Email Address


Fee Categories and Fees
Fee Categories

1.Educational and Scientific: Any accredited U.S. educational or research institution or instructor/researcher of such an institution using the information in a scholarly or analytical work contributing to public knowledge and disseminated to the public.
2.Commercial: Increases the commercial interest of the requester -- for example, book publishers and authors.
3.U.S. News Media: Representatives of U.S. newspapers, television stations, radio stations, and freelancers (if publishing through one of these news organizations) disseminating current events of interest to the general public to enhance its understanding of the operation or activities of the U.S. Government.
4.All Others: Requests from individuals who do not fit into the previous three categories.

Fees
The FOIA provides for the collection of fees for:

• Searches: Time spent in looking for and retrieving material, either paper or electronic files, that may be responsive to the request, including personnel hours (clerical and professional) or computer time.
• Reviews: Time spent to determine if the record is releasable under legal guidelines, excluding the resolution of legal or policy issues.  This includes blacking out or redaction of text.
• Reproduction: Generating a copy of a requested record in the appropriate medium, for example paper or computer disk.

Category Search Cost Review Cost Reproduction Cost
Educational & Scientific None None First 100 pages are free.  $.15 cents per page after that
Commercial & All others Clerical:
$20.00 per hr.
Professional:
$44.00 per hr.

Executive:
$75.00 per hr

Clerical:
$20.00 per hr.
Professional:
$44.00 per hr.

Executive:
$75.00 per hr.

$.15 cents per page
News Media None None First 100 pages are free.  $.15 cents per page after that

FOIA Exemptions
Records that meet the FOIA exemption criteria may be withheld from public disclosure and do not have to be published in the Federal Register, made available in a library reading room, or provided in response to a FOIA request.  The following types of records may be withheld in whole or in part from public disclosure under the FOIA:

Exemption # 1: Those properly and currently classified in the interest of national defense/security or foreign policy.  If the information qualifies as exemption 1, there is no-discretion regarding its release.

Exemption # 2: Those related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of the Department of Defense or any of its components.

Exemption # 3: Those concerning matters that a statute specifically exempts from disclosure by terms that permit no discretion on the issue.  A few examples of such statues are:  Patent secrecy, restricted data, communication intelligence, confidentiality of medical quality, contractor proposals, etc.

Exemption # 4: Those containing trade secrets or commercial or financial information that a DoD component receives from a person or organization outside the government.  The disclosure of such records will likely cause substantial harm to the competitive position of the source providing the information.

Exemption # 5: Those containing information considered privileged in litigation, primarily under the deliberative process privilege.

Exemption # 6: Information of personnel and medical files, as well as similar personal information in other files, that would result in a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

Exemption # 7: Records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes; i.e., civil criminal, or military law, including the implementation of Executive Orders or regulations issued pursuant to law.

Exemption # 8: Records pertaining to the regulation or supervision of financial institutions.

Exemption # 9: Those records containing geological and geophysical information and data (including maps) concerning wells.

Your Rights:

• You have the right to request records under the Freedom of Information Act.
• You have the right to appeal any denial of records under the Freedom of Information Act.
• You have the right to request a "fee waiver" if you can demonstrate that the requested record(s) is in the public interest and not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.
• Under Executive Order 13526, you have the right to request a review of specific documents for declassification and release to the public.

 

o        How to file a FOIA Appeal:

If your request was initially denied in whole or in part, the letter advising you of the denial of your request should also have advised you of your right to appeal the determination within 60 days. If you wish to make an appeal you must file your appeal with the correct appellate authority within sixty (60) days. The appellate authority for the United States Africa Command is the FOIA Appeals and Policy Branch, DFOISR. This information, including an address, will be located on all returned requests that are denied in whole or in part.
 

Resource Materials
o        Department of Defense FOIA Guidance
o        Department of Defense Directive 5400.07
o        Department of Defense Directive 5400.7R
o        Defense Freedom of Information Policy Office
o        Office of the Secretary of Defense & Joint Staff
o        United States Department of Justice


Reading Room
o        5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(2)(A) Records -- Final opinions and orders made in the adjudication of cases that may be cited, used, or relied upon as precedents in future adjudications.  Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals
o        5 U.S.C. § 552 (a)(2)(B) Records -- Statements of policy and interpretations that have been adopted by the agency and are not published in the Federal Register.      Directive Type Media

U.S. Africa Command Transcripts and Documents

o        5 U.S.C. § 552 (a)(2)(C) Records -- Administrative staff manuals and instructions, or portions thereof, that establish DoD policy or interpretations of policy that affect the public.  DoD Directive 5400.07
 

DoD Reading Room
o        5 U.S.C. § 552 (a)(2)(D) Records -- Records released to the public, under the FOIA, that are or will likely become the subject of subsequent requests.

U.S. Africa Command Organization Chart in PDF Format