32 CFR 1285.2 - Policy.
(a) General. The public has a right to information concerning the activities of its Government. DLA policy is to conduct its activities in an open manner and provide the public with a maximum amount of accurate and timely information concerning its activities, consistent always with the legitimate public and private interests of the American people. A DLA record requested by a member of the public who follows rules established herein shall be withheld only when it is exempt from mandatory public disclosure under the FOIA. In order that the public may have timely information concerning DLA activities, records requested through public information channels by news media representatives that would not be withheld if requested under the FOIA should be released upon request. Prompt responses to requests for information from news media representatives should be encouraged to eliminate the need for these requesters to invoke the provisions of the FOIA and thereby assist in providing timely information to the public. Similarly, requests from other members of the public for information should continue to be honored through appropriate means even though the request does not qualify under FOIA requirements.
(b) Control system. A request for records that invokes the FOIA shall enter a formal control system designed to ensure compliance with the FOIA. A release determination must be made and the requester informed within the time limits specified in this rule. Any request for DLA records that either explicitly or implicitly cites the FOIA shall be processed under the provisions of this rule, unless otherwise required by paragraph (m) of this section.
(c) Compliance with the FOIA. DLA personnel are expected to comply with the FOIA and this rule in both letter and spirit. This strict adherence is necessary to provide uniformity in the implementation of the DLA FOIA program and to create conditions that will promote public trust. To promote a positive attitude among DLA personnel, each DLA Primary Level Field Activity (PLFA) will establish education and training programs described in part 286, subpart H, of this title. Training materials, including supplements, will be coordinated with DLA-XAM prior to publication or issuance.
(d) Openness with the public. DLA shall conduct its activities in an open manner consistent with the need for security and adherence to other requirements of law and regulation. Records not exempt from disclosure under the Act shall, upon request, be made readily accessible to the public in accordance with rules promulgated herein, whether or not the Act is invoked.
(e) Avoidance of procedural obstacles. DLA activities shall ensure that procedural matters do not unnecessarily impede a requester from obtaining DLA records promptly. DLA activities shall provide assistance to requesters to help them understand and comply with procedures established by this rule and any rules published by the DLA PLFA's.
(f) Prompt action on requests. When a member of the public complies with the procedures established in this rule for obtaining DLA records, the request shall receive prompt attention; a reply shall be dispatched within 10 working days unless a delay is authorized. When a DLA activity has a significant number of requests, e.g., 10 or more, the requests shall be processed in order of receipt. However, this does not preclude an activity from completing action on a request which can be easily answered, regardless of its ranking within the order of receipt. A DLA activity may expedite action on a request regardless of its ranking within the order of receipt upon a showing of exceptional need or urgency. Exceptional need or urgency is determined at the discretion of the activity processing the request.
(g) Public domain. Nonexempt records released under the authority of this rule are considered to be in the public domain. Such records may also be made available in reading rooms to facilitate public access. Exempt records released pursuant to this rule or other statutory or regulatory authority, however, may be considered to be in the public domain only when their release constitutes a waiver of the FOIA exemption. When the release does not constitute such a waiver, such as when disclosure is made to a properly constituted advisory committee or to a Congressional committee, the released records do not lose their exempt status. Also, while authority may exist to disclose records to individuals in their official capacity, the provisions of this rule apply if the same individual seeks the records in a private or personal capacity.
(1) There is no obligation to create nor compile a record to satisfy an FOIA request. A DLA activity, however, may compile a new record when doing so would result in a more useful response to the requester or be less burdensome to the activity provided the requester does not object. The cost of creating or compiling such a record may not be charged to the requester unless the fee for creating the record is equal to or less than the fee which would be charged for providing the existing record. Fee assessments shall be in accordance with § 1285.6 of this part and part 286, subpart F, of this title.
(2) With respect to electronic data, the issue of whether records are actually created or merely extracted from an existing database is not always readily apparent. Consequently, when responding to FOIA requests for electronic data where creation of a record, programming, or particular format are questionable, DLA activities should apply a standard of reasonableness. In other words, if the capability exists to respond to the request and the effort would be a business-as-usual approach, then the request should be processed. However, the request need not be processed where the capability to respond does not exist without a significant expenditure of resources, thus not being a normal business-as-usual approach.
(1) Identification of the record desired is the responsibility of the member of the public who requests a record. The requester must provide a description of the desired record that enables DLA to locate the record with a reasonable amount of effort. When a DLA activity receives a request that does not reasonably describe the requested record, it shall notify the requester of the defect. The requester may be asked to provide the type of information outlined in paragraph (i)(2) of this section. Activities are not obligated to act on the request until the requester responds to the specificity letter. When practicable, DLA activities shall offer assistance to the requester in identifying the records sought and in reformulating the request to reduce the burden on the agency in complying with the Act.
(2) The following guidelines are provided to deal with “fishing expedition” requests and are based on the principle of reasonable effort. Descriptive information about a record may be divided into two broad categories.
(i) Category I is file-related and includes information such as type of record (for example, memorandum), title, index citation, subject area, date the record was created, and originator.
(ii) Category II is event-related and includes the circumstances that resulted in the record being created or the date and circumstances surrounding the event the record covers.
(3) Generally, a record is not reasonably described unless the description contains sufficient Category I information to permit the conduct of an organized, nonrandom search based on the activity's filing arrangements and existing retrieval systems, or unless the record contains sufficient Category II information to permit inference of the Category I elements needed to conduct such a search. The decision of the DLA activity concerning reasonableness of description must be based on knowledge of its files. If the description enables DLA activity personnel to locate the record with reasonable effort, the description is adequate.
(4) The following guidelines deal with requests for personal records. Ordinarily, when only personal identifiers are provided in connection with a request for records concerning the requester, then only records retrievable by personal identifiers need be searched. The search for such records may be conducted under Privacy Act procedures contained in DLAR 5400.21. 2 No record may be denied that is releasable under the FOIA.
2 Copies may be obtained, at cost, from DASC-PD, Cameron Station, Alexandria, VA 22304-6130.
(j) Possession and control. A record must exist and be in the possession and control of DLA at the time of the search to be considered subject to this rule and the FOIA. Mere possession of a record does not presume Agency control. Information created or originated by another activity shall be referred to that activity for release determination and direct response to the requester.
(1) Referring requests. A DLA activity having no responsive records to an FOIA request may refer the request to another DLA activity, DoD component, or Federal agency if, after consultation with such activity, component, or agency, the intended recipient confirms that it has the requested record. In cases where the DLA activity receiving the request has reason to believe that the existence or nonexistence or the record may in itself be classified, that activity shall consult the DoD component having cognizance over the record in question before referring the request. If the DoD component that is consulted determines that the existence or nonexistence of the record is in itself classified, the requester shall be so notified by the DLA activity originally receiving the request, and no referral shall take place. Otherwise, the request shall be referred to the other DoD component, and the requester shall be notified of any such referral. Any DLA activity receiving a request that has been misaddressed shall refer the request to the proper address and advise the requester.
(i) Whenever a record or a portion of a record is, after prior consultation, referred to another DLA activity, DoD component, or to a Government agency outside of the DoD for a release determination and direct response, the requester shall be informed of the referral. Referred records shall only be identified to the extent consistent with security requirements.
(ii) A DLA activity shall refer an FOIA request for a classified record that it holds to another DoD component or agency outside the Department of Defense if the record originated in the other DoD component or outside agency or if the classification is derivative. In this situation, provide the record and a release recommendation on the record with the referral action.
(iii) A DLA activity may refer a request for a record that it originated to another DoD component or agency when the record was created for the use of the other DoD component or agency. The DoD component or agency for which the record was created may have an equally valid interest in withholding the record as the DLA activity that created the record. In such situations, provide the record and a release recommendation on the record with the referral action.
(iv) Within DLA, an activity shall ordinarily refer an FOIA request for a record that it holds but that was originated by another activity or that contains substantial information obtained from another activity to that activity for direct response after coordination and obtaining concurrence from the activity. The requester shall then be notified of such referral. DLA activities shall not, in any case, release or deny such records without prior consultation with the other activity.
(3) On-loan documents. A DLA activity shall refer to the agency that provided the record any FOIA request for investigative, intelligence, or any other type of records that are on loan to DLA for a specific purpose if the records are restricted from further release and so marked. However if, for investigative or intelligence purposes, the outside agency desires anonymity, a DLA activity may only respond directly to the requester after coordination with the outside agency.
(4) General Accounting Office (GAO) documents. On occasion, the DoD receives FOIA requests for GAO documents containing DoD information. Even though the GAO is outside the executive branch and not subject to the FOIA, all FOIA requests from GAO documents containing DoD information received either from the public or on referral from GAO will be processed under the provisions of the FOIA.
(5) Agencies not subject to the FOIA. A DLA activity may refer an FOIA request for any record that originated in an agency outside the DoD or that is based on information obtained from an outside agency to the agency for direct response to the requester after coordination with the outside agency, if that agency is subject to FOIA. Otherwise, the DLA activity must respond to the request.
(6) Time to respond. DLA activities that receive referred requests shall answer them in accordance with the time limits established by the FOIA and this rule. Those time limits shall begin to run upon proper receipt of the referral by the PLFA FOIA manager to respond.
(7) Accumulating fees. Requesters receiving the first two hours of search and the first 100 pages of duplication without charge (see part 286, subpart F, of this title) are entitled to such only once per request. Consequently, if a DLA activity, after completing its portion of a request, finds it necessary to refer the request to another DLA activity or another DoD component to action their portion of the request, the referring activity shall inform the recipient of the expended amount of search time and duplication cost to date.
(k) Requests for authentication of records. FOIA requests for authentication of records shall be authenticated with an appropriate seal, whenever necessary, to fulfill an official Government or other legal function according to DLA Regulation 5105.5. 3 This service, however, is in addition to that required under the FOIA and is not included in the FOIA fee schedule. DLA activities may charge for the service at a rate of $5.20 for each authentication.
3 See Footnote 2 to § 1285.2(i)(4).
(l) Records management. FOIA records shall be maintained and disposed of in accordance with DLA Manual 5015.1. 4
4 See Footnote 2 to § 1285.2(i)(4).
(m) Relationship between the FOIA and the Privacy Act. Not all requesters are knowledgeable of the appropriate statutory authority to cite when requesting records. In some instances, they may cite neither Act but will imply one or both Acts. For these reasons, the following guidelines are provided to ensure that requesters receive the greatest amount of access rights under both Acts:
(1) Requesters who seek records about themselves contained in a Privacy Act system of records and who cite or imply the Privacy Act, will have their requests processed under the provisions of the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a.
(2) Requesters who seek records about themselves which are not contained in a Privacy Act system of records and who cite or imply the Privacy Act, will have their requests processed under the provisions of the FOIA, since they have no access rights under the Privacy Act.
(3) Requesters who seek records about themselves which are contained in a Privacy Act system of records and who cite or imply the FOIA or both Acts will have their requests processed under the time limits of the FOIA and the exemption and fee provisions of the Privacy Act.
(4) Requesters who seek access to Agency records and who cite or imply the Privacy Act, the FOIA, or both will have their requests processed under the FOIA.
(5) Requesters should be advised in final responses why their request was processed under a particular act.
(1) DLA activities may provide a facility or room where the public may inspect and copy or have copied the so-called “(a)(2)” material (see § 1285.3(b) of this part). At those activities where it is impractical to set up a formal reading room, the FOIA manager will arrange for a review of “(a)(2)” material at a suitable time and location. Identifying details that, if revealed, would create a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy may be deleted from “(a)(2)” materials prior to placement in reading rooms. However, in every case, justification for the deletion must be fully explained in writing. The public's right to inspect first and then decide what is to be copied applies only to “(a)(2)” material. Activities may elect to place other documents in their reading room, including so-called “(a)(1)” material (see § 1285.3(a) of this part), as a means to provide public access to such documents and allow the public to first inspect them before copying. When appropriate, the cost of copying may be imposed on the person requesting the material in accordance with § 1285.6 of this part and part 286, subpart F, of this title.
(2) “(a)(2)” materials index. Each activity maintaining a reading room shall maintain an index of the “(a)(2)” materials that are issued, adopted, or promulgated after 4 July 1967. No “(a)(2)” materials issued, promulgated, or adopted after 4 July 1967 that are not indexed and either made available or published may be relied upon or used or cited as precedent against any individual unless such individual has actual and timely notice of the contents of such materials. Each index shall be arranged topically or by descriptive words rather than by case name or numbering system so that members of the public can readily locate material. Case name and numbering arrangements, however, may also be included for the convenience of the DLA activity. Such materials issued, promulgated, or adopted before 4 July 1967 need not be indexed but must be made available upon request if not exempted under part 286, subpart C, of this title.
(3) DLA publications and PLFA supplements may, at the discretion of the DLA activity, be regarded as “(a)(2)” material and placed in reading rooms subject to the restrictions in paragraph (o)(2) of this section. Otherwise, requests for publications will be handled according to paragraph (o)(1) of this section.
(1) Since most DLA publications are available to the public through the publications distribution sales outlet, the requester may be referred to that outlet.
(2) Requests for DLA publications which are classified, marked “FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY,” or have limited distribution statements will be referred to the issuing activity for release determination and, if appropriate, formal denial. Such publications will not be placed in reading rooms. However, where a public reading room also serves as an activity's library, restricted publications may be maintained provided they are appropriately safeguarded and not commingled with other nonensitive regulations.
(3) For DoD regulations, manuals, directives, handbooks and similar issuances, the FOIA manager may refer the requester to the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), 5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield, VA 22161-2171.
(p) Exemptions. The types of records described in part 286, subpart C, of this title may be withheld in whole or in part from disclosure under the FOIA unless otherwise prescribed by law.
(q) Requests for the examination of DLA records. Only those materials described as “(a)(2)” (and “(a)(1)” at the discretion of the PLFA head) are subject to the examination clause of the FOIA. Such requests will be submitted directly to the appropriate DLA activity listed in appendix A. FOIA managers will inform requesters of the location and time the requested record may be examined. Requesters may be charged for the cost to reproduce copies subject to the guidelines § 1285.6 of this part and part 286, subpart F, of this title.
(r) Requests for copies of records. Individuals seeking copies of DLA records should address their FOIA requests to the FOIA manager of the appropriate activity. Addresses and brief descriptions of functions are included in appendix A to this part.
(s) Requests from private parties. The provisions of the FOIA are reserved for persons with private interests as opposed to Federal Governments seeking official information. Requests from private persons will be made in writing and will clearly show all other addressees within the Federal Government to whom the request was also sent. This procedure will reduce processing time requirements and ensure better inter- and intra-agency coordination. DLA activities are under no obligation to establish procedures to receive hand delivered requests. Release for records to individuals under the FOIA is considered public release of information, except as provided for in paragraph (g) of this section and § 286.13(a) of this title.
(t) Requests from government officials. Requests from Members of Congress for records on behalf for a Congressional Committee, Subcommittee, or either House sitting as a whole will be processed according to DLA Regulation 5400.12. 5 Requests from officials of foreign governments which do not invoke the FOIA shall be referred to HQ DLA-I or the appropriate foreign disclosure channel for processing and the requester so notified. Requests invoking the FOIA from the following government officials will be considered the same as any other requested and processed according to this rule:
5 See Footnote 2 to § 1285.2(i)(4).
(1) Records determined to be exempt from public disclosure under one or more of FOIA exemptions may be authenticated and released to U.S. Government officials requesting them on behalf of Federal governmental bodies, whether legislative, executive, administrative, or judicial, as follows:
(i) To a Committee or Subcommittee of Congress or to either House sitting as a whole in accordance with DoD Directive 5400.4. 6
6 See Footnote 1 to § 1285.1.
(ii) To the Federal courts, whenever ordered by officers of the court as necessary for the proper administration of justice. However, receipt of a subpoena duces tecum does not automatically compel disclosure of DLA records. To qualify for privileged release under this section, the subpoena must be signed by the judge of a court of competent jurisdiction. A subpoena which has been sent through FOIA channels and signed by a litigating attorney, a subpoena service agent, or an official of a state or local court will be treated as any other FOIA request and subject to the exemptions in part 286 subpart C, of this title. Consult with Counsel before acting on such subpoenas.
(iii) To other Federal Agencies, both executive and administrative, as determined by the DLA Director or designee.
(2) Disclosure under these privileged release circumstances does not set a precedent for disclosure to the general public under the FOIA.
(3) DLA activities shall inform officials receiving records under the provisions of this paragraph that those records are exempt from public release under the FOIA and are privileged. DLA activities will also advise officials of any special handling instructions. See part 286, subpart D, of this title for marking requirements under privileged release circumstances.
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