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Freedom of Information Act: Rights &Information
The government has the responsibility to keep the public informed on how it conducts business. One of the tools available to the public to attain this type of information is access to government records.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)/ Freedom of Information Law ( FOIL) are Records Access Laws pertaining to agency records. The FOIA is a federal statute which governs federal records, i.e. those maintained on behalf of a federal agency. FOIL is the equivalent New York State Law.
Every government employee plays a vital role with regard to release of information to the public. The following are specific roles within the Division of Military and Naval Affairs:
- Release Authority. Records Access Officers (RAOs) are officials designated by The Adjutant General to release records requested under the FOIA/FOIL. The Directorate of Administrative Support and Headquarters, New York Air National Guard the only offices with designated RAOs. This does not include media relations in which Public Affairs personnel have authority to release information, or personnel records which may be accessed by the individual to whom they pertain. Air Wings have personnel assigned that have release authority for federal records only. The United State Property and Fiscal Officer may process requests for federal contracts.
- Action Officer. Person detailed to search and forward records requested to the RAO for further processing under appropriate law. May have been initial receiver of request for records.
- Legal Counsel. Judge Advocate General provides advice to RAO and Appellate Authority concerning legal admisibility on interpretation of FOIA and FOIL provisions with regard to release, redaction or denial of access to record.
Any request for records protected under the FOIA or FOIL made by parties outside of DMNA, must be forwarded directly to an RAO. Authority to release records or deny access to records, does not exist at unit/office level. RAOs are trained to assess fees, apply waivers and protect Non-Public Data/Information.
Authority to deny access to records is reserved to the following:
- State Records - RAO in MNAS-IS or MNAF-DO.
- Federal Records - Chief, National Guard Bureau
All requests for records exempted from release under the FOIA must be forwarded to the National Guard Bureau with a recommendation to not release the records based on the appropriate citation from the FOIA.
Persons denied access to records have the right to appeal. Appellate Authorities are:
- State Records - DMNA Chief of Staff
- Federal Records - Secretary of the Army, Secretary of the Air Force
All requests for information under federal or state records access laws must be forwarded to a designated RAO:
- State Records - Assigned RAO in MNAS-IS or MNAF-DO
- Federal Records - Assigned FOIA Officer in MNRM-IT, MNAF, USP&FO or Air Wing.
- State Appeals - RAO forwards opinion to the New York State Committee on Open Government.
- Annual Reports - RAOs will prepare state and federal reports based on guidance set forth in The Public Officer's Law and appropriate guidance from the National Guard Bureau.
Privacy Act (PA) and The Personal Privacy Protection Law (PPPL). Both the PA and the PPPL are intended to protect the rights of individuals from unwarranted collection, maintenance, use or disclosure of information. The PA and the PPPL are federal and state statutes in this regard.
AR 340-21 and DA Pamphlet 25-51 provide further information on the maintenance and release of PA information.© NYS DMNA: Freedom of Information Act: Rights & Information
Page Last Modified: 28 Sep 07 (ba)