Unless a fee waiver is granted, your FOIA request will not be accepted for processing until you agree to pay all applicable fees or fees up to the estimated cost to process your request. Fee Assessments for documents are determined by how the record will be used and how much effort is required to locate, review, and prepare a copy of the requested document for release, in whole or in part.
Because of the nature of SPAWAR's functions, most fees are assessed at the "commercial" rate unless it is obvious that you are a member of the news media, a non-profit organization or an individual personally involved in the event relating to the records you requested. Fee assessments for data are the same, regardless of who you are or why you are requesting data. If you believe that you should be granted a fee waiver, your request must include a detailed justification to support fee waiver.
Parameters for Determining FOIA Fees
Manual Search Time. Search time includes all time spent looking for requested documents, including a page-by-page or line-by-line identification of material in a document to determine if it, or portions thereof, are responsive to the request. Manual search fees are assessed depending on the rate of pay of the individual actually conducting the search.
Computer Search Time. Computer search is based on the direct cost of the central processing unit, input-output devices, and memory capacity of the computer configuration. The cost of the computer operator/programmer's time in determining how to conduct and subsequently execute the search is charged at the rate of a manual search.
Review Time. Review time refers to examining documents responsive to a FOIA request to determine whether one or more of the statutory exemptions permit withholding the document or portions thereof. It also includes processing the documents for disclosure, such as excising them for release. Review does not include time spent resolving general legal or policy issues on application of the exemptions. Review time is assessed depending on the rate of pay of the individuals conducting the review.
Duplication. Duplication refers to the process of making a copy of a document in response to a FOIA request. Every effort is made to ensure that the copy provided is in a reasonably usable form. If the best available copies are not usable, the master copy can be made available for review upon appointment. Paper office copies are 15 cents per page. Costs for other types of records are based on the actual cost of duplication, including the operator's time and cost of materials. Duplication fees are only assessed for pages actually released, in whole or in part.
Minimum Fees. Minimum fees are not normally assessed. When the billable fees are under $15, they are normally waived. However, there is a minimum fee for processing technical data requests.
FOIA requesters do not pay any indirect processing costs. Further, only commercial requesters are assessed all direct costs incurred in processing their requests. Qualified educational or non-commercial scientific institutions and news media requesters do not pay search and review fees and receive up to 100 pages before incurring fees. All other requesters receive two hours search fees, all review fees, and 100 pages of duplication at no cost. Billable costs under $15 are not normally assessed. Additional waivers are granted when disclosure "is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government" Fee waiver requests must include a justification addressing the following issues.
Subject of the Request. Explain how the subject matter of the request involves issues which will significantly contribute to the public's understanding of Navy operations or activities.
Informative Value of the Information to be Disclosed. Explain how disclosure of non-exempt portions of the requested document will provide new, meaningful information about Navy operations or activities to the public.
Contribution to Public's Understanding. Explain how disclosure will have the potential to inform the public rather than the requester or a small segment of interested persons. Demonstrate the capability to disclose information in a manner informative to the general public. Describe your qualifications, the nature of the research, the purpose of the requested information, and the intended means of dissemination.
Significance of the Contribution to Public Understanding. Explain how disclosure of the requested document will be unique in contributing previously unknown facts, thereby enhancing public knowledge, and why disclosure will not basically duplicate what is already known by the general public.
Commercial Interest. Explain why disclosure of the requested document is not primarily in your commercial interest.
Examples of Insupportable Fee Waiver Requests.
Requests for press clippings, magazine articles, or records forwarding a particular opinion or concern from a member of the public regarding a naval activity, as well as requests for documents to assist in plans to write a book, research a particular subject, doctoral dissertation work, or claims of indigence.
Requests for information already in the public domain or nearly identical information that would add no new meaningful information on Navy operations and activities.
Requests for information that would further the requester's commercial, trade, or profit interest such as requests from data brokers or others who compile government information for marketing purposes.