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FOIA

YOU HAVE QUESTIONS. WE HAVE ANSWERS.

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a law that gives you the right to access information from the federal government. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government. Since 1967, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has provided the public the right to request access to records from any federal agency. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government. Federal agencies are required to disclose any information requested under the FOIA unless it falls under one of nine exemptions which protect interests such as personal privacy, national security, and law enforcement.

DoD FOIA HANDBOOK –  https://open.defense.gov/Transparency/FOIA/FOIA-Handbook/

TYPES OF RECORDS THAT CAN BE REQUESTED –  https://www.rmda.army.mil/readingroom/ 

  • The (a)(2)(A) Records contain final opinions and orders made in the adjudications of cases that may be cited, used, or relied upon as precedents in future adjudications.
  • The (a)(2)(B) Records contain statements of policy and interpretations that have been adopted by the agency and are not published in the Federal Registry.
  • The (a)(2)(C) Records contain administrative staff manuals and instructions, or portions thereof, that establish DoD policy or interpretation of policy that affect the public.
  • The (a)(2)(D) Records contain records released to the public, under the FOIA, that are or will likely become the subject of subsequent requests.


FOIA LIBRARY –  https://www.rmda.army.mil/readingroom/

FOIA REQUESTS  Requests may be made during office hours of 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except for legal holidays. Requests may be made orally, in writing, or via  electronic form, and must be reasonably specific as to subject matter or time period. 

As soon as practical and without delay, the custodian will either notify you of the availability of the records requested, or deny the request in whole or in part because the records do not exist or are not accessible. The time it takes the custodian to respond to the request will depend on factors including the nature and extent of the request and the availability of staff and other resources necessary to process the request. If the custodian denies a written request, the requester has a right to receive the denial in writing. A requestor can obtain the status of their FOIA request by contacting the FOIA manager or through the applicable Requestor Service Center (RSC).

Wisconsin National Guard – Freedom of Information Act Office

P.O. Box 8111

Madison, WI 53708-8111

Comm: (608) 242-3057

Air Force Requestor Service Centers –  https://www.foia.af.mil/Offices/

Army Requestor Service Centers –  https://www.rmda.army.mil/foia/RMDA-FOIA-Links.html?param=40V-ROS-YQE-EBN

DoD FOIA Program Public Liaison,  Ms. Alecia Bolling, (703) 428-6462 


Prior Service
Military Records

In order to obtain Wisconsin National Guard records, your request must be processed in accordance with The Freedom of Information Act (5 USC 552) and The Privacy Act (5 USC 552a). The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a) requires that all requests for military/personnel records be submitted in writing.

A Standard (SF) Form 180 must be completed and signed and dated by the veteran or next of kin of a deceased veteran.

Others requesting information from military personnel/health records must have the release authorization in Section III of the SF 180 signed by the member or legal guardian. These forms can be found online at the National Archives & Records Administration site.

Employers and others needing proof of military service are expected to accept the information shown on documents issued by the military service departments at the time a service member is separated.

To request Prior Service Military Records please print and read the Statement Request For Records, print and fill out Standard Form 180 and mail or fax to:

Wisconsin National Guard

ATTN WIAR-G1-RHA

PO Box 8111

Madison WI 53708-8111

Fax Number: (608) 242-3400

State of Wisconsin Open Records Request

Provided pursuant to § 19.34, Wisconsin Statutes. You have a right to inspect and copy certain records under Wisconsin’s Public Records Law, §§ 19.31-19.39, Wis. Stats

PROCEDURE FOR MAKING REQUESTS

Under the authority of Chapter 19 of the Wisconsin Statutes, the Adjutant General and, in certain instances, the WEM Administrator are the legal custodians of the Department’s records. The most efficient method of requesting and receiving records is by filling out an online  Open Records Request. Further requests for access to public records, and questions concerning the application of the public records law, should be directed to: 

Department of Military Affairs

Legal Counsel, WING-LGL

2400 Wright Street

P.O. Box 8111

Madison, WI 53708-8111

Fax: (608) 242-3082

Requests may be made during DMA’s normal office hours of 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except for legal holidays. Requests may be made orally or in writing, and must be reasonably specific as to subject matter or time period. As soon as practicable and without delay, the custodian will either notify you of the availability of the records requested, or deny the request in whole or in part because the records do not exist or are not accessible under the public records law. The time it takes the custodian to respond to the request will depend on factors including the nature and extent of the request and the availability of staff and other resources necessary to process the request. If the custodian denies a written request, the requester has a right to receive the denial in writing.

FEES

DMA may charge the actual, necessary, and direct cost of reproducing or transcribing a record. When the request calls for a copy of a record, and the record can be photocopied, DMA may charge its standard fee of $.25 for each impression produced in response to the request. If the record requested is not in readily comprehensible form (e.g. computer file, database entry), DMA may charge the actual cost of creating a readily comprehensible copy. If the cost of locating a record or removing confidential information is greater than $50, DMA may charge the requester the actual, necessary and direct location or redaction cost. If the records are mailed to the requester, DMA may charge the actual, necessary and direct shipping cost. Regardless of who processes the request, fees will be calculated based on the hourly wage of the lowest paid staff member capable of performing the work. The above fees apply except where a different fee is authorized by law. DMA may request pre-payment if the total costs are greater than $5. Make checks payable to Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT WISCONSIN’S OPEN RECORDS LAW

Frequently Asked Questions

Wisconsin Statute Ch. 19.31-39

WI Department of Justice Compliance Outline

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a “record”?

A record is any material on which written, drawn, printed, spoken, visual or electromagnetic information is recorded or preserved, regardless of physical form or characteristics, which has been created or is being kept by an authority in connection with official purpose or function of the agency. A record includes handwritten, typed or printed documents; maps and charts; photographs, films and tape recordings; computer tapes and printouts, CDs and optical discs; and electronic records and communications.

What is not subject to Wisconsin’s Open Records Law?

There are numerous federal and state laws that exempt particular records from disclosure.

Common exemptions include:

Drafts, notes, preliminary documents and similar materials.

Published material available for sale or at the library.

Purely personal property with no relation to the office.

Material with access limited due to copyright, patent or bequest.

Trade secrets.

Social security numbers.

Plans or specifications for state buildings.

Information obtained for law enforcement purposes, when required by federal law or regulation as a condition to receipt of state aids.

Computer programs (but the material input and the material produced as the product of a computer program is subject to the right of inspection and copying).

Certain employee information.

Identities of certain applicants for public positions.

Identifies of law enforcement informants.

Attorney-client privilege.

Who can make an open records request?

Generally, any person may make an open records request. Wisconsin statutes limit access when the requestor is incarcerated or mentally committed to records that contain specific references to the requestor or his or her minor children. See WI Department of Justice Compliance Outline. pdfT

Do I have to identify myself when making the request?

No. Generally the requestor need not identify himself or herself; however, substantive statutes, such as those concerning student records and health records, restrict record access to certain persons. See Wis. Stat. § 19.35(1)(i). pdfT

Am I required to state the reason for my request?

No. A requester is not required to state the purpose of the request.

Can I inspect records?

Yes. Upon request, DMA will make the requested records available to you to inspect.

Can I request copies of records?

Yes. The Department will provide copies of open records at the cost of 0.25/page. Where the request involves copying of a large volume of records, you may request copies be made by a bonded copying service in which case, if approved by the Department, the requestor would pay the rate charged by the service.

How long until I receive the requested records?

By law, open records must be provided “as soon as practicable and without delay.” Wis. Stat. §19.35(4)(a) pdfT. A reasonable time for response to any specific request depends on the nature of the request, the staff and other resources available to the authority to process the request, the extent of the request, and related considerations. Although the public records law does not require response within any specific time, average record requests are generally available within ten working days. See WI Department of Justice Compliance Outline.

Can I get electronic records?

Electronic records are subject to the open records law. Computer programs are not subject to the open records law, but records produced as the product of a computer program are subject to inspection and copying. A person can not require the Department to create a new record by extracting and compiling information from existing records in a new format. When information is stored in a database, a person can “within reasonable limits” request a data run to obtain the requested information. See DOJ Compliance Outline.

What is the cost of requesting records?

DMA may charge the actual, necessary, and direct cost of reproducing or transcribing a record. When the request calls for a copy of a record, and the record can be photocopied, DMA may charge its standard fee of $.25 for each impression produced in response to the request. If the record requested is not in readily comprehensible form (e.g. computer file, database entry), DMA may charge the actual cost of creating a readily comprehensible copy.

If the cost of locating a record or removing confidential information is greater than $50, DMA may charge the requester the actual, necessary and direct location or redaction cost. If the records are mailed to the requester, DMA may charge the actual, necessary and direct shipping cost.

Regardless of who processes the request, fees will be calculated based on the hourly wage of the lowest paid staff member capable of performing the work. The above fees apply except where a different fee is authorized by law. DMA may request pre-payment if the total costs are greater than $5. Make checks payable to Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs.