FOIA Process

Upon receipt of a valid FOIA request, NRL Code 1030 will forward the request to the cognizant office for appropriate action and return to NRL 1030. In order to meet statutory constraints, a deadline date for reporting back to NRL Code 1030 is assigned. The cognizant office is specifically responsible for determining if the requested records exist within NRL; for providing NRL Code 1030 with copies of the responsive documents or for providing a statement if requested records do not exist in NRL.

The cognizant office shall, within the assigned deadline date, take the following action:

  • If the requested record can be located and obtained, forward a copy of the record with your comments as to its releasability and, if applicable, justification for withholding any portion of the record.
  • If the requested record can be located, but not readily obtained, notify NRL Code 1030 when the record will be available.
  • If it becomes apparent that action cannot be completed on a FOIA request within the deadline time period, advise NRL Code 1030 so that an extension of time may be requested.
  • If an extensive search or duplication of a large number of pages is required in order to respond to the FOIA request, notify NRL Code 1030 immediately so that the requester can be advised of the anticipated cost.
  • If the requested record cannot be located or does not exist, notify NRL Code 1030. There is no obligation under reference(a) to "create" or "compile" a record to satisfy a FOIA request.
  • For each FOIA case, report the number of pages duplicated and the amount of time spent in search by either clerical or professional employees. This information will be used in determining the fees chargeable to the requester.

Requests relating to classified records are directed to NRL Security Division for determination of current classification status and releasability.

NRL Code 1030 maintains a record of FOIA requests received, action taken, charges made, and such other records as may be required.

First-in, first-out processing. NRL receives numerous requests and has a small staff available to process them. Further, NRL does not maintain a centralized filing system. In fairness to all requesters, we process requests in chronological order by date-of-receipt and complexity. Requests for "clearly releasable" portions of other types of documents are processed as quickly as the individual record custodian can provide "clearly releasable" portions (usually within 20 days). Requests for entire documents that are difficult to locate and/or require a line-by-line review, such as a technical proposal, technical data, or classified information can take considerably longer.

Expedited FOIA requests. NRL does not currently have a backlog of FOIA requests that are not being actively processed. If you believe that the processing of your request should be expedited, your request must include a signed statement explaining why you believe that you qualify for expedited processing.

Clearly releasable records are those which we routinely release. If you agree to "clearly releasable" records, we will collect the requested documents as quickly as possible. If neither the records custodian nor the originator object to their release, the documents or portions of documents will be provided immediately. For example, processing of requests for "clearly releasable" portions of documents created by contractors or potential contractors usually takes more than 60 days because we must comply with Presidential Executive Order 12600. Requesting "clearly releasable" portions is a time-saving measure that may result in getting information more quickly and at less cost. If you are not satisfied with what you receive, you can submit another FOIA request for the entire document to receive a formal agency decision with administrative appeal rights.

Administrative appeal

If we determine that the documents you requested are not appropriate for release, either in whole or in part, and you disagree, you will have an opportunity to file an administrative appeal prior to taking judicial action. You should include information in your appeal explaining why you disagree. Depending on the subject matter of your request, we will notify you that the appeal authority is the General Counsel or the Judge Advocate General.

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