The Chairman
of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs requested
that the DoD Office of Inspector General (DoD OIG) determine whether noncareer
officials (political appointees or persons nominated by the President and
confirmed by the U.S. Senate) were adversely affecting the Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA) process at the DoD between January 2007 and July 2015.

In response,
we determined whether DoD noncareer officials unduly influenced the FOIA
response process through unnecessary delays or withholding of information that
would have otherwise been released absent the noncareer official’s involvement.


evaluation did not disclose any instances of DoD noncareer officials
unduly influencing t he F OIA r esponse p rocess. On November 9,
2015, we advised the Chairman of the Senate Committee on
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of our evaluation results
(see Appendix D). During the course of this evaluation, however, we
determined that DoD FOIA policies a re outdated.

The DoD
Deputy Chief Management Officer (DCMO) had not updated DoD FOIA
policies, as required by DoD Instruction 5025.01, “DoD Issuance
Program,” to ensure currency and accuracy. The DoD FOIA policies
did not include requirements established in Executive Order 13392,
“Improving Agency Disclosure of Information,” and the
“OPEN Government Act of 2007.”

According to
the Executive Order and the Act, agencies must review their FOIA
processing operations, report on their FOIA improvement
plan implementation, and strengthen procedures related to
FOIA administration. Additionally, the DCMO did not
incorporate guidance being used for “significant” FOIA releases
into DoD Regulation 5400.7-R, “DoD Freedom of Information
Act Program.”

“significant” FOIA request is defined as any FOIA request in which the
subject matter of the released documents may be of interest to DoD senior
leadership, the public, the media, or Congress.

Full Report

Report: DoD Freedom of Information Act Policies Need Improvement, August 16,
[34 Pages, 3.1MB]