What is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)?

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a Federal release statute. The FOIA provides an important means through which the public can request access to records related to the Federal Government, unless the information is protected from disclosure by any of nine exemptions enacted by Congress to protect information that must be held in confidence.

Who can file a FOIA request?

Any “person” can file a FOIA Request, including U.S. Citizens, foreign nationals, organizations, universities, business, and state, local or foreign governments, not including federal agencies or fugitives from the law. When making a FOIA Request, please DO NOT provide any kind of personal information. For example, credit card numbers, photos of drivers’ license or other forms of identification.

How do I file a FOIA request?

1. All FOIA request must be in writing: (Email (a) or Letter (b)).

Complete the USACC FOIA-PA Request Form

a. Email: usarmy.knox.usacc.mbx.hq-foia@army.mil
b. United States Postal Service (USPS)

Headquarters, United States Army Cadet Command G-6
ATTN: Freedom of Information Act Officer
1307 3RD AVE
Fort Knox, KY 40121-2725
Official Business 690

2. State your willingness to pay applicable fees. If you seek a fee waiver, provide justification for such waiver.

3. Provide a reasonable description of the desired record that will enable the DoD Component to locate requested records with a reasonable amount of effort. Describe the records you are seeking as clearly and precisely as you can. If your request is vague or too broad, we may ask you to be more specific, and this will delay the processing of your request.

4. Please provide your contact information (Mailing address and phone number).

5. Please DO NOT submit a FOIA request using government equipment or email account if you are requesting information for personal use.

6. Time frames for processing simple PA requests are as follows:
1. Acknowledgment of receipt of request. Ten (10) business days.
2. Determination to release or deny. Twenty (20) business days.
3. The FOIA provides an additional ten (10) business days for extensions of initial time limits for three specific situations:

a. the need to search for and collect records from separate offices.
b. the need to examine a voluminous amount of records required by the request.
c. the need to consult with another agency or agency.

Are There any FEES?

There is no initial fee required to submit a FOIA request, but the FOIA does provide for the charging of certain types of fees in some instances.

For a typical requester the component can charge for the time it takes to search for records and for duplication of those records. For a typical requester there is no change for the first two hours of search time or for the first 100 pages of duplication.

You may always include in your request letter a specific statement limiting the amount that you are willing to pay in fees. You will not be charged for any fees amounting to $25 or less. If a component estimates that the total fees for processing your request will exceed $25, it will notify you in writing of the estimate and offer you an opportunity to narrow your request in order to reduce the fees, unless you have already indicated a willingness to pay fees as high as those anticipated. The component will not continue to work on your request until you commit in writing to pay the actual or estimated total fee, designate an amount you are willing to pay, or indicate that you only seek what can be provided for free (if you are a noncommercial use requester). If you agree to pay fees for a records search, be aware that you may be required to pay such fees even if the search does not locate any responsive records or, if records are located, even if they are determined to be entirely exempt from disclosure.

Can I Ask that any fees be waived?

You may request a waiver of fees. Under the FOIA fee waivers are limited to situations in which a requester can show that the disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.

Requests for fee waivers from individuals who are seeking records pertaining to themselves usually do not meet this standard. In addition, a requester’s inability to pay fees is not a legal basis for granting a fee waiver.

May I ask questions under the FOIA?

The FOIA does not require Federal agencies to answer questions formed as FOIA request. Render opinions or provide subjective evaluation.

What is a record?

The products of data compilation, such as all books, papers, maps, and photographs, machine readable materials or other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made and in DoD’s possession and control at the time the FOIA request is made.

What are the FOIA Exemptions

It is the DOD Policy to make records publicly available, unless they qualify for an exemption under one or more of the following nine exemptions or law enforcement exclusions.
Records (or portions of records) will be disclosed unless that disclosure harms an interest protected by a FOIA exemption. The nine FOIA exemptions are cited in the Act as 5 U.S.C. 552 (b)(1) through (b)(9):

  • (b)(1) – Records currently and properly classified in the interest of national security;
  • (b)(2) – Records related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of the DoD or any of the DoD Components;
  • (b)(3) – Records protected by another law that specifically exempts the information from public release;
  • (b)(4) – Trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a private source which would cause substantial competitive harm to the source if disclosed;
  • (b)(5) – Internal records that are deliberative in nature and are part of the decision making process that contain opinions and recommendations;
  • (b)(6) – Records which if released, would result in a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;
  • (b)(7) – Investigatory records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes;
  • (b)(8) – Records for the use of any agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions; and
  • (b)(9) – Records containing geological and geophysical information (including maps) concerning wells

What are the reasons for not releasing a record?

There are seven (7) reasons why the Army may not release a record requested under FOIA:
1. The request is transferred to another Army Component or Federal agency.
2. The Army component determines through knowledge of its files and reasonable search efforts that it neither controls nor otherwise possessed the requested records.
3. A record has not been described with sufficient detail to enable the Army component to locate by conducting a reasonable search.
4. The requester has failed unreasonably to comply with procedural requirements, including payment of fees, imposed by the FOIA and AR 25-55.
5. The request is withdrawn by the requester.
6. The information requested is not record with the meaning of the FOIA and AR 25-55.
7. The records is denied in whole or part in accordance with procedures set forth in the FOIA and AR 25-55 (Please review FOIA Exemptions).

How to check the status of a FOIA Request?

Requesters can check the status of their FOIA request at https://www.foia.army.mil/FACTS/CaseStatus.aspx and entering the FOIA Control Number below that was provided in their acknowledgement letter. The FOIA Control Number will be in the format FP-xx-xxxxxx. If you have any questions about the status of your request please contact the FOIA office where your request currently resides.

Breaches: What is a Breach and how to report a breach?

A breach is the actual or possible loss of control, unauthorized disclosure, or unauthorized access of Personally Identifiable Information (PII). All breaches must be reported to the USACC Privacy Act Office immediately: (502) 386-5958, (502) 624-7242, usarmy.knox.usacc.mbx.hq-privacy@army.mil.

Request for Individual Deceased Personnel files (IDPFs)

US Army Human Resources Command is the records custodian for IDPF’s from WWII through current conflicts.

Please submit requests to usarmy.knox.hrc.mbx.foia@army.mil or:
Department of the Army
US Army Human Resources Command
1600 Spearhead Division Avenue, Department 107
Fort Knox KY 40122-5743


The DOD SAFE (Safe Access File Exchange) application is used to send large files to individuals which would normally be too large to send via email. There are no user accounts for SAFE – authentication is handled via email and CAC. Everyone has access to SAFE, and the application is available for use by anyone.

SAFE is designed to provide DOD SAFE and its customers an alternative way to send files other than email. SAFE supports file sizes up to 2Gb. Instructions can be found by using the following link: https://safe.apps.mil

If I’m still dissatisfied, are there other options?

During the course of the request process, the USACC FOIA contact:

Headquarters, United States Army Cadet Command G-6
ATTN: Freedom of Information Act Officer
1307 3RD AVE
Fort Knox, KY 40121-2725
Official Business 690
(502) 624-7242

or the FOIA Public Liaison

U.S. Army Freedom of Information Office
Casey Building, Suite 150
7701 Telegraph Road
Alexandria, VA 22315-3905
(703) 428-6238

Either can assist you in a variety of ways, from:

  • Working with you on the scope of your request
  • The searches that will be done
  • To arranging an alternative time frame for processing your request
  • To providing information on the status of your request
  • Increasing your understanding of the request process