Freedom of Information Act


The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a Federal law that establishes the public’s right to request existing records from federal government agencies. The FOIA provides for prompt, maximum release of Department of Defense records to the public unless such requested records (or portions of them) are specifically exempt from mandatory public disclosure. Only the Secretary of the Army and the Initial Denial Authority (IDA) may deny a request for Army records.

Download sample FOIA letter.

Download FOIA request form.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a FOIA request?

A FOIA request is a written request for records. Records include files, e-mails, CDs/DVDs, books, maps, photographs, machine-readable materials, or other documentary materials. Regardless of form, an agency record refers to any record made or received by an agency of the U.S. government under federal law in connection with the transaction of public business.

Who can file a FOIA request?

Any person can file a FOIA request, including U.S. citizens, foreign nationals, organizations, universities, businesses, and state and local governments. Requests may also be made through an attorney or other representative on behalf of any individual. Federal employees may not use government time or equipment when requesting information under the FOIA.

How do I file a FOIA request?

Write a letter to the military command or installation likely to have the information you seek; annotate "Freedom of Information Act" on the request and envelope. FOIA requests should be submitted to the agency that originated the record.

For records 25 years or older: Please direct your request to the National Archives and Records Administration.

For all DoD personnel records of retired military or civilian personnel: Please direct your request to the National Personnel Records Center.

How long will it take until I receive a reply?

Agencies are required to respond within 20 working days of receipt of a request. An interim reply will be provided when an extension of the initial time limit is needed to search for and collect records from separate offices, examine a voluminous amount of records, or the need to consult with another agency.

How much does a FOIA request cost?

Fees vary based on the type of FOIA request and processing time. All requesters should submit a willingness to pay fees regardless of the fee category. However, this does not mean you will be charged fees. Except for commercial requesters whose fees total more than $15, waivers may be considered. Fee waivers may be granted when disclosure of the records is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government.

For additional information, email the Garrison Freedom of Information Act officer.


Soldier Support Center
1401 B Avenue, Bldg 3400, Room 114
Fort Lee, VA 23801-1724

Contact Information

Email the Records Manager

Phone: (804) 765-3204

Last Updated: 2/15/2018 10:26:38 PM

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