32 CFR Appendix A to Part 295, For Official Use Only (FOUO)
Information that has not been given a security classification pursuant to the criteria of an Executive Order, but which may be withheld from the public for one or more of the reasons cited in FOIA exemptions (b)(2) through (b)(9) shall be considered as being for official use only. No other material shall be considered or marked “For Official Use Only” (FOUO), and FOUO is not authorized as an anemic form of classification to protect national security interests.
The prior application of FOUO markings is not a conclusive basis for withholding a record that is requested under the FOIA. When such a record is requested, the information in it shall be evaluated to determine whether, under current circumstances, FOIA exemptions apply in withholding the record or portions of it. If any exemption or exemptions apply or applies, it may nonetheless be released when it is determined that no governmental interest will be jeopardized by its release.
Records such as notes, working papers, and drafts retained as historical evidence of actions enjoy no special status apart from the exemptions under the FOIA.
The marking of records at the time of their creation provides notice of FOUO content and facilitates review when a record is requested under the FOIA. Records requested under the FOIA that do not bear such markings, shall not be assumed to be releasable without examination for the presence of information that requires continued protection and qualifies as exempt from public release.
Information in a technical document that requires a distribution statement pursuant to DoD Directive 5230.24, 1 “Distribution Statements on Technical Documents”, shall bear that statement and may be marked FOUO, as appropriate.
1 Copies may be obtained, at cost, from the National Technical Information Service, 5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield, VA 22161.
(1) An unclassified document containing FOUO information shall be marked “For Official Use Only” at the bottom on the outside of the front cover (if any), on each page continuing FOUO information, and on the outside of the back cover (if any).
(2) Within a classified document, an individual page that contains both FOUO and classified information shall be marked at the top and bottom with the highest security classification of information appearing on the page.
(3) Within a classified document, an individual page that contains FOUO information but no classified information shall be marked “For Official Use Only” at the bottom of the page.
(4) Other records, such as, photographs, films, tapes, or slides, shall be marked “For Official Use Only” or “FOUO” in a manner that ensures that a recipient or viewer is aware of the status of the information therein.
(5) The FOUO material transmitted outside the Department of Defense requires application of an expanded marking to explain the significance of the FOUO marking. This may be accomplished by typing or stamping the following statement on the record prior to transfer:
Until FOUO status is terminated, the release and transmission instructions that follow apply:
(1) The FOUO information may be disseminated within DoD Components and between officials of DoD Components and DoD contractors, consultants, and grantees to conduct official business for the Department of Defense. Recipients shall be made aware of the status of such information, and transmission shall be by means that preclude unauthorized public disclosure. Transmittal documents shall call attention to the presence of FOUO attachments.
(2) The DoD holders of FOUO information are authorized to convey such information to officials in other departments and agencies of the executive and judicial branches to fulfill a Government function, except to the extent prohibited by the Privacy Act. Records thus transmitted shall be marked “For Official Use Only”, and the recipient shall be advised that the information has been exempted from public disclosure, pursuant to the FOIA, and that special handling instructions do or do not apply.
(3) Release of FOUO information to Members of Congress is governed by DoD Directive 5400.4, 2 “Provision of Information to Congress”. Release to the GAO is governed by DoD Directive 7650.1, 3 “General Accounting Office Access to Records”. Records released to the Congress or GAO should be reviewed to determine whether the information warrants FOUO status. If not, prior FOUO markings shall be removed or effaced. If withholding criteria are met, the records shall be marked FOUO and the recipient provided an explanation for such exemption and marking. Alternatively, the recipient may be requested, without marking the record, to protect against its public disclosure for reasons that are explained.
2 See footnote 1 to section I.E. of this appendix.
3 See footnote 1 to section I.E. of this appendix.
Records containing FOUO information shall be transported in a manner that precludes disclosure of the contents. When not commingled with classified information, FOUO information may be sent via first-class mail or parcel post. Bulky shipments, such as distributions of FOUO Directives or testing materials, that otherwise qualify under postal regulations may be sent by fourth-class mail.
Each part of electrically transmitted messages containing FOUO information shall be marked appropriately. Unclassified messages containing FOUO information shall contain the abbreviated “FOUO” before the beginning of the text. Such messages shall be transmitted in accordance with communications security procedures in ACP-121 (United States Supplement 1) for FOUO information.
During normal working hours, records determined to be FOUO shall be placed in an out-of-sight location if the work area is accessible to non-governmental personnel.
At the close of business, FOUO records shall be stored so as to preclude unauthorized access. Filing such material with other unclassified records in unlocked files or desks, etc., is adequate when normal U.S. Government or government-contractor internal building security is provided during nonduty hours. When such internal security control is not exercised, locked buildings or rooms normally provide adequate after-hours protection. If such protection is not considered adequate, FOUO material shall be stored in locked receptacles such as file cabinets, desks, or bookcases. FOUO records that are subject to the provisions of Public Law 86-36, National Security Agency Act shall meet the safeguards outlined for that group of records.
The originator or other component authority, e.g., initial denial and appellate authorities, shall terminate “For Official Use Only” markings or status when circumstances indicate that the information no longer requires protection from public disclosure. When FOUO status is terminated, all known holders shall be notified, to the extent practical. Upon notification, holders shall efface or remove the “For Official Use Only” markings, but records in file or storage need not be retrieved solely for that purpose.
(1) Nonrecord copies of FOUO materials may be destroyed by tearing each copy into pieces to preclude reconstructing, and placing them in regular trash containers. When local circumstances or experience indicates that this destruction method is not sufficiently protective of FOUO information, local authorities may direct other methods but give due consideration to the additional expense balanced against the degree of sensitivity of the type of FOUO information contained in the records.
(2) Record copies of FOUO documents shall be disposed of in accordance with the disposal standards established under 44 U.S.C. chapter 33, as implemented by Inspector General Defense Manual (IGDM) 5015.2, 4 “Records Management Program”.
4 Copies may be obtained, if needed, from the Information and Operations Support Directorate, Publications Management Branch, room 420, 400 Army Navy Drive, Arlington, VA 22202-2884.
The unauthorized disclosure of FOUO records does not constitute an unauthorized disclosure of DoD information classified for security purposes. Appropriate administrative action shall be taken, however, to fix responsibility for unauthorized disclosure whenever feasible, and appropriate disciplinary action shall be taken against those responsible. Unauthorized disclosure of FOUO information that is protected by the Privacy Act may also result in civil and criminal sanctions against responsible persons. The DoD Component that originated the FOUO information shall be informed of its unauthorized disclosure.