FOIA Log 1st Quarter CY 2013 (OSD)

Jason Smathers filed this request with the Department of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Defense of the United States of America.
Est. Completion None
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Partially Completed

Communications

From: Jason Smathers

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

A FOIA Log or other record that shows either:
1) each foia request for Jan-March 2013 including whether or not "unusual circumstances" were claimed for each request and whether or not the request was processed or rejected for some reason without processing or
2) any other document which shows the number of total FOIA request for 1st Quarter caldendar year 2013 and the number of those in which "unusual circumstances" existed and the total number that were rejected before an inital search took place.

In summary, my goal is to learn: 1) How many FOIA requests were made to the OSD in 1st quarter of calendar year 2013. 2) Of those requests, how many were rejected without a search taking place. 3) The number of requests that were processed in less than 20 days where an actual search for records took place in 1st Q CY 2013. and 4) the number of requests where an usual circumstances letter was sent out in 1st Q CY 2013.

Any record that provides the above four statistics will be accepted, since the FOIA does not require you to create such a record if it doesn't exist, I will accept a FOIA log with each request for 1st Q CY 2013 where the above four issues are indicated in the log. If for some reason the log does not exist, you could respond with the first response to every FOIA request made in 1st quarter of calendar year 2013, however, the statistics are prefered and the log is a second choice.

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Jason Smathers

From: Aldorfer, Susan CIV WHS-ESD

Dear Mr. Smathers,

This is in response to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, as stated below. Your request was received in this office and assigned FOIA case number 13-F-0836.

I believe the most effective way for me to respond is to address each of your itemized goals, one at a time. In general, the type of information you are interested in is already publicly available on our web site at http://www.dod.gov/pubs/foi/. However, it is not captured in the way you requested it. I will address your goals as they apply to an entire fiscal year, since we report and post this information annually, not quarterly. After you have analyzed my response, please feel free to contact me directly with any questions. I am hopeful that my below response will provide you with the information that fully addresses and meets your goals.

1) How many FOIA requests were made to the OSD?

Our web site contains FOIA logs at http://www.dod.gov/pubs/foi/administration_and_Management/FOIA_Logs/ for fiscal years 2000-2012. As you can see, FOIA logs provide only six data elements (request ID, requester name, organization, received date, closed date, and request description). Although FOIA logs provide the number of requests received, they do not contain information concerning "unusual circumstances" or the other statistical data you requested.

Nevertheless, our Annual FOIA Reports for 1975-2012, available at http://www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/dfoipo/Annual_FOIA_reports.html, GENERALLY contain the kinds of information you are interested in. For example, the 2012 Report contains the following information.

Page 2: "Reasons why some requests are not granted and general categories of agency records. This is a summary of the most frequent reasons for a FOIA request not to be granted." These reasons (reportable dispositions) include referral to another DoD component or Federal Agency, request withdrawn, fee issue, not sufficiently described, not a record, duplicate request.

Page 16: "Disposition of FOIA Requests - Number of full Denials Based on Reasons Other Than Exemptions." Note that the second-to-last line provides the disposition breakdown statistics for OSD/JS for its 1,494 requests for 2012.

2) Of those requests, how many were rejected without a search taking place?

We do not "reject" requests, we process them. As you can see from the Annual FOIA Reports, "rejected" is not a reportable disposition. Page 2 of the 2012 Report describes reportable dispositions; and page 16 contains the statistical breakdown for reasons other than a denial or no records response (i.e., referral to another DoD component or Federal Agency, request withdrawn, fee issue, not sufficiently described, not a record, duplicate request - in other words, the reasons why a records search was not conducted).

3) The number of requests that were processed in less than 20 days where an actual search for records took place.

We do not capture whether or not a records search was conducted in relation to the number of processing days. Requests are placed in "simple" or "complex" processing queues, depending on anticipated processing time. If we determine it will likely take longer than 20 days to process, it will be in the complex queue. Those statistics are on page 42 (578 simple) and page 44 (916 complex) for 2012. Although page 16 provides the statistical breakdown for reasons other than a denial or no records response, those statistics do not directly correlate to the number of processing days.

4) The number of requests where an unusual circumstances letter was sent.

For 2012, we had 916 complex requests. Our practice is to send an acknowledgement letter for those requests, stating that we will be unable to respond within the FOIA’s 20 day statutory time period as there are unusual circumstances which impact on our ability to quickly process the request. These unusual circumstances are: (a) the need to search for and collect records from a facility geographically separated from this Office; (b) the potential volume of records responsive to the request; or (c) the need for consultation with one or more other agencies or DoD components having a substantial interest in either the determination or the subject matter of the records.

Again, I hope you find this information helpful. We have a lot of information on our web site for the requester community and others as a public service, which is available at no cost.

Please let me know if you have further questions, or if you desire readily retrievable information as described above for the time period of January-March, 2013, if the above information does not satisfy your goals.

This action closes your request in this office.

Respectfully,

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