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FOIA Frequently Asked Questions



How do I submit a FOIA request...? 

A FOIA request must be in writing. NSC will accept FOIA requests mailed, faxed, or sent by e-mail.

Send your request for records maintained by the Naval Safety Center to:

Commander, Naval Safety Center
FOIA Service Center
ATTN: Code 023
375 A Street
Norfolk, VA 23511-4399
Fax (757) 445-9125
Email safe-foia@navy.mil

You may also request records by clicking here  (This is a PDF form which may not be compatible with your computer system) Manual submission may be necessary.

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What kind of information should be in a FOIA request?

Both written and E-FOIA requests should contain the following:

  • A specific statement that the request is being made pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act.
  • A detailed description of the information being requested. If all you want from a mishap report is engineering data, say so. Limiting the amount of information requested may result in a substantially expedited response.
  • Details of the mishap. Before we can provide you with the information you want, we have to be able to identify the event. Be sure to include: 

    ~ the type of incident (plane crash, collision at sea, etc.);
    ~ the date it occurred (if the specific date is unknown, 
    then give time frame);
    ~ the geographic location of the mishap (as specifically as possible);
    ~ any additional details you may know (type of aircraft, 
    bureau number, name of command)

IF YOU ARE REQUESTING INFORMATION ABOUT MORE THAN ONE INCIDENT, BE CERTAIN TO GIVE ALL OF THIS INFORMATION ABOUT EACH SEPARATE EVENT.

  • Indicate that you are willing to pay any fees that may apply. (See information on fees below).
  • Be sure to give your name, complete mailing address and phone number. If applicable, also include your e-mail address. 

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Where can I find the custodians for other Navy records?

The Department of the Navy's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Program is decentralized to provide you with faster response times to your FOIA requests. This means that you should send your FOIA request directly to the Navy Command most likely to have the record(s) that you are seeking under FOIA. If you aren't sure which command is the best place to start or just need an address, these are some good starting points:

Department of the NAVY FOIA

The Standard Navy Distribution List (SNDL) - alphabetic lists.

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How long does it take to process a FOIA request...?

Each agency is required to determine within 20 days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays) after the receipt of a request whether to comply with the request. The actual disclosure of documents is required to follow promptly thereafter. 

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Is there a fee involved when filing a request?

FOIA requesters may have to pay fees covering some or all of the costs of processing their request. Fees can be imposed to recover the cost of copying documents. All agencies have a fixed price for making copies using copy machines. A requester is usually charged the actual cost of copying computer tapes, photographs, and other nonstandard documents.
Fees can also be imposed to recover the costs of searching for documents. This includes the time spent looking for material responsive to a request. A requester can minimize search charges by making clear, narrow requests for identifiable documents whenever possible.

Fees can be charged to recover review costs. Review is the process of examining documents to determine whether any portion is exempt from disclosure. Review charges only include costs incurred during the initial examination of a document. An agency may not charge for any costs incurred in resolving issues of law or policy that may arise while processing a request.

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Are different fees applied to different requestors...?

Yes. Currently there are five categories of FOIA requesters.

COMMERCIAL REQUESTER. Requesters who seek information for a use or purpose that furthers their commercial, trade, or profit interest are considered commercial requesters. Commercial requesters pay all fees for search, review and duplication incurred in processing their requests.

EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION. Preschools, public or private elementary or secondary schools, institutions of graduate higher education, institutions of undergraduate higher education, institutions of professional education, or institutions of vocational education operating programs of scholarly research qualify as educational institutions. When an educational institution can demonstrate that its request was made in furtherance of scholarly research rather than commercial use, only duplication fees are assessed. Further, the first 100 pages are provided at no cost. 

NON-COMMERCIAL SCIENTIFIC INSTITUTION. A non-commercial scientific institution is operated solely for conducting scientific research, the results of which are not intended to promote any particular product or industry and is not operated on a "commercial" basis. The institution must demonstrate that its request is being made as a qualifying institution and the records are not sought for commercial use, but in furtherance of scientific research. When a non-commercial scientific institution can demonstrate that its request was made in furtherance of scientific research rather than commercial use, only duplication fees are assessed. Further, the first 100 pages are provided at no cost. 

NEWS MEDIA REQUESTERS. A representative of the news media is a person actively gathering news for an entity organized and operated to publish or broadcast news to the public. "News" means information about current events or of current interest to the public. Examples of news media entities include television or radio stations broadcasting to the public at large and publishers of periodicals, when qualifying as disseminators of "news," who make their products available for purchase or subscription by the general public. "Freelance" journalists may be considered as working for a news organization if they can demonstrate a basis for expecting publication by that organization, even if not an actual employee. Proof may be by publication contract. A requester's past publication record may also be considered in determining their status. Private libraries, private repositories of Government records, or middlemen such as information vendors or data brokers do not qualify as news media requesters. News media requesters only pay duplication fees. Further, the first 100 pages are provided at no cost. 

ALL OTHER REQUESTORS. Requestors who do not qualify in another category are considered other requesters. Examples are nonprofit organizations and persons having a personal interest in an accident or incident in which they were directly involved. Individuals who request commercial documents must demonstrate that the records are not sought for commercial use. Other requesters receive two hours search, all review, and the first 100 pages at no cost. 

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Who is the point of contact for the Naval Safety Center?

All electronic correspondence should be addressed to:

NAVAL SAFETY CENTER (NSC) FOIA REQUESTER SERVICE CENTER (Contact NSC with questions regarding your pending request.)

If you are not satistified with NSC's processing of your request, you may contact:

  • Department of the Navy (DON) FOIA Requester Public Liaison
    (Contact if you have general questions about FOIA processing or if you have concerns about your pending FOIA request that the NSC FOIA Requester Service Center could not answer.)
  • Other Department of the Navy
    FOIA Requester Service Centers

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What should I do if my request is denied...?

Whenever a FOIA request is denied, either in whole or in part, you have a right to appeal this determination in writing to the designee of the Secretary of the Navy under the above statute. Address your appeal to: 

OFFICE OF THE JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL 
(CODE 14)
NAVY DEPARTMENT
1322 PATTERSON AVE, SE
SUITE 3000
WASHINGTON NAVY YARD, DC 20374-5066

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Contact Info: 757-444-3520 Ext: 6055 | POC: SAFE-FOIA@navy.mil Last Revision: February 25, 2014