FOIA (Freedom of Information Act Requests)

The Freedom of Information Act Requester Service was established in compliance with Executive Order 13,392. 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.

Freedom of Information Act requests

The U.S. Africa Command FOIA office supports all actions related to Freedom of Information requests submitted by the public for access to records under the control of U.S. Africa Command.

Requests are typically processed in the order they are received. FOIA litigations and litigation consultations are court order driven and take precedence over all other requests. As such, expect delays when litigations are in progress.

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Submit a request

Submit a FOIA request using the Contact Us form.

On the dropdown menu, select "FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) Request," fill out the form with all necessary information, and submit.


Fees and fee categories

A FOIA requester must fall within one of the fee categories:

  • Commercial use — The requester or a representative seeks the records to further the commercial interests of the requester. The requester must pay for all search time, review time, and the cost of duplication.
  • News media — The requester is actively gathering news for an entity that is organized and operated to publish or broadcast news to the public. The requester pays for the cost of duplication after the first 100 pages.
  • Representatives of scientific or educational organizations — The requester represents a school or educational institution operating a program of scholarly research, or a noncommercial scientific organization operating solely for the purpose of conducting scientific research and not intended to promote a particular product or industry. The requester pays for the cost of duplication after the first 100 pages.
  • All others — The requester is an individual seeking information for personal, not-for-profit, use and does not fall into any of the three categories above. The requester pays for search time after the first two hours and the cost of duplication after the first 100 pages.
Three types of requestersThree fee categories
Does this type pay for...SearchReviewDuplication
Commercial use requesters?YesYesYes
Educational instituations, non-commercial scientific institutions, and representatives of the news media?NoNoYes (1st 100 pages)
All other requesters?Yes (1st two hours of search time free)NoYes (1st 100 pages free)
  • Fee Waiver — If the requester wants to ask for a fee waiver they must address all 5 criteria below: 
    1. That the subject matter of the requested records concerns the operations or activities of the Federal Government;
    2. That the disclosure is likely to contribute to an understanding of Federal Government operations or activities
    3. That disclosure of the requested information will contribute to the understanding of the public at large, as opposed to the understanding of the individual requester or a narrow segment of interested persons (to establish this factor, the requester must show an intent and ability to disseminate the requested information to a reasonably broad audience of persons interested in the subject);
    4. That the contribution to public understanding of Federal Government operations or activities will be significant; and;
    5. That the requester does not have a commercial interest that would be furthered by the requested disclosure or that the magnitude of any identified commercial interest to the requester is not sufficiently large in comparison with the public interest in disclosure to render the disclosure one that is primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.

FOIA exemptions

Not all records can be released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  Congress established certain categories of information that are not required to be released in response to a FOIA request because release would be harmful to governmental or private interests.   These categories are called "exemptions" from disclosures.  Still, even if an exemption applies, agencies may use their discretion to release information when there is no foreseeable harm in doing so and disclosure is not otherwise prohibited by law.  There are nine categories of exempt information and each is described below.

  • Exemption 1: Information that is classified to protect national security.  The material must be properly classified under an Executive Order.
  • Exemption 2: Information related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency.
  • Exemption 3: Information that is prohibited from disclosure by another federal law. Additional resources on the use of Exemption 3 can be found on the Department of Justice FOIA Resources page.
  • Exemption 4: Information that concerns business trade secrets or other confidential commercial or financial information.
    Exemption 5: Information that concerns communications within or between agencies which are protected by legal privileges, that include but are not limited to: ◦Attorney-Work Product Privilege
    • Attorney-Client Privilege
    • Deliberative Process Privilege
    • Presidential Communications Privilege
  • Exemption 6: Information that, if disclosed, would invade another individual's personal privacy.
  • Exemption 7: Information compiled for law enforcement purposes if one of the following harms would occur.  Law enforcement information is exempt if it:  ◦7(A). Could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings
    • 7(B). Would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication
    • 7(C). Could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy
    • 7(D). Could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source
    • 7(E). Would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions
    • 7(F). Could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual
    • Exemption 8: Information that concerns the supervision of financial institutions.
  • Exemption 9: Geological information on wells.

Contact us

Reach the FOIA office by email:, or phone: +49 (0)711.7081.0066 or +49 (0)711.7081.0339