policies and procedures by which those functions are
performed in relation to the public.
The FOIA requires publication in the Federal Reg-
ister of information that affects the public; for example,
descriptions of agency organization, functions, proce-
dures, substantive rules, and statements of general pol-
icy. Additionally, materials such as opinions rendered
in the adjudication of cases, specific policy statements,
and certain administrative staff manuals must be made
available for public inspection. All other Navy
recordsthose not required to be published in the
Federal Register or made available for public
opinionare subject to disclosure upon receipt of a
proper request for access, unless exempt.
An agency record includes all books, papers, maps,
photographs, machine-readable materials, or other
documentary materials, regardless of physical form or
characteristic, made or received by an agency of the
United States Government under federal law or in con-
nection with the transaction of agency business and in
the agencys control at the time the FOIA request is
made. An agency record does not include the following
. Objects or articles such as structures, parts from
wrecked aircraft and ships, furniture, paintings, sculp-
ture, three-dimensional models, and vehicles and equip-
. Anything that is not a tangible record such as an
individuals memory or oral communications.
. Computer software, if not created or used as
primary sources of information about organizations,
policies, functions, decisions, or procedures of the
. Personal records not subject to Navy creation or
retention requirements, created or maintained primarily
for a Navy employees personal convenience, and not
distributed to other agency employees for their official
use. For example, a supervisors personal notes on an
employees performance, not required to be maintained
and used solely as a memory aid in preparing evalu-
ations and then destroyed, are not an agency record.
The minimum requirements for an FOIA request
are the request (1) cites or implicates the FOIA, (2)
contains a reasonable description of the information or
records requested, and (3) contains a clear statement of
the requesters willingness to pay fees, a willingness to
pay fees up to a stated amount, or a request for a fee
waiver. If the FOIA request does not meet these require-
ments, the naval activity should answer the inquiry,
within 10 working days, to inform the requester of the
contents of a proper request.
Identify the Records Requested
Commands must search their filing systems and
existing retrieval systems if the description provided by
the requester enables naval personnel to locate the
records with reasonable effort.
The FOIA does not authorize fishing expeditions,
nor are commands required to respond to blanket re-
quests for all documents. The naval activity will notify
the requester if the description does not reasonably
describe the records sought and provide guidance on the
specificity required to begin a search.
If the requested record was originated by another
activity, the receiving activity will not release or deny
such records without consulting the other naval activity.
The receiving activity will coordinate with that activity
before referring the FOIA request and copies of the
requested documents for direct response.
A naval activity does not have to create or compile
a record. A record may be compiled if it is either a more
useful response to the requester or a lesser burden to the
naval activity than providing existing records, and the
requester does not object.
Requests Requiring Special Handling
Detailed instructions for records requiring special
handling are in paragraph 62(4) of SECNAVINST
5720.42E. The most common requests requiring special
handling are briefly outlined as follows:
. Classified recordsIf the existence or nonex-
istence of the requested information is classified, the
naval activity will refuse to confirm or deny its exis-
tence or nonexistence. If the documents requested are
classified by another agency, or if the head of the agency
is not the classifying authority, the agency will refer the
request and copies of the requested documents to the
originating agency or classification authority.
. Naval Criminal Investigative Service Command
reportsRequests should be sent to the Naval Criminal
Investigative Service Command, Washington, DC
20374-5000, and the requester so notified.
l JAG Manual investigative reportsRequests
should be referred to the Office of the Judge Advocate