FOIA Introduction

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) generally provides that any person has a right, enforceable in court, to obtain access to federal agency records, except to the extent that such records (or portions of them) are protected from public disclosure by one of nine exemptions, or by one of three special law enforcement record exclusions ((b)(7)).

The principles of government openness and accountability underlying the FOIA are inherent in the democratic ideal: "The basic purpose of the FOIA is to ensure an informed citizenry, vital to the functioning of a democratic society, needed to check against corruption and to hold the governors accountable to the governed."

Proactive Disclosures: The Freedom of Information Act requires agencies to proactively disclose certain categories of nonexempt records or information to the public. As further discussed below, there are two distinct provisions in the FOIA requiring proactive disclosure of records in one of two different ways: by publishing them in the Federal Register or posting them online. The FOIA's nine exemptions apply as appropriate to any records that are required to be disclosed under the FOIA's proactive disclosure provisions

Click here for the full text of the Freedom of Information Act. 

Click here for The Air Force Electronic FOIA Library.

Click here for The Air Force Compliance Division and submit a FOIA request.

On June 30, 2016 President Obama signed into law the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016. An important change to the Act lies within Section 2.

Proactive Disclosures:

The “Rule of 3” is Codified for Frequently Requested Records: 

  • Agencies are now required to “make available for public inspection in an electronic format,” records “that have been requested 3 or more times.”