A FOIA request is the means by which an individual seeks records of an agency. A proper FOIA request should be as specific as possible to ensure an accurate and focused search for responsive material. A request that does not reasonably describe records cannot be processed, and the requester will be asked to clarify the subject of the request. In addition, a requester may be assessed fees for the processing of a request in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(4)(A)(ii) and Department of Defense Regulation 5400.7-R. A proper FOIA request must include willingness to pay fees. See the FOIA Handbook for instructions on submitting a proper FOIA request.
The FOIA does not compel government agencies to answer substantive questions or create records to respond to a request.
There are three convenient ways to submit a FOIA request (no special forms are required):
Average Processing Time - It is difficult to provide and "average" processing time, as requests vary in their scope and complexity. Actual processing time will depend upon:
Requests are processed on a "first-in, first-out" basis, based on the origination date of the request.
Expedited Processing - A request will be expedited if the requester seeks such processing and demonstrates a compelling need, as defined by the FOIA, or a need for expedited treatement, as detailed in Department of Defense Regulation 5400.7-R. The requester seeking expeditious processing must provide a statement of compelling need, certified by him/her to be true and correct to the best of his/her knowledge.