Freedom of Information Act

The Office of Naval Research Privacy Office (ONR) is responsible for processing Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, requests. FOIA allows members of the public to obtain a wide range of information from federal agencies. In most cases, ONR information is subject to the provisions of the Privacy Act, with information releasable subject to the restrictions set forth in those laws. More about how to submit a FOIA request for records maintained by ONR.

What are the statutes/regulations that apply to the Freedom of Information Act?

The federal statute that established FOIA is 5 U.S.C § 552. FOIA is implemented in the Department of the Navy by Secretary of the Navy Instruction 5720.42F: Department of the Navy Freedom of Information Act Program (SECNAVINST 5720.42F).

Why was the Freedom of Information Act created?

The act allows members of the public to obtain a wide range of information from federal agencies.

How do I request documents under the Freedom of Information Act?

All FOIA requests must be in writing and include the following information:

  • A statement that you are making a FOIA request.
  • A reasonable description (see below) of the specific record(s) you are seeking, in sufficient detail for the privacy office to identify the records, to include timeframe.
  • A statement indicating you agree to pay any fees associated with the release of the material or that you request a waiver of the fees (see Navy FOIA website). The fee schedule is provided at SECNAVINST 5720.42F, enclosure (3).
  • Your name, complete mailing address and telephone number.

A reasonable description of the specific record(s) you are seeking. If you want a copy of an ONR contract or grant, the contract or grant number is the most useful piece of information you can provide. If you cannot obtain a contract/grant number, identify the agency involved in the contract or grant, the timeframe, and the general subject matter of the document, and any other identifying information that you may have available.

Where do I send a request for an ONR document?

Mail the request to:

Office of Naval Research
Attn: Privacy Office, Code BD04C
875 North Randolph Street
Room 620
Arlington, VA 22203-1995

Send email requests to or fax to 703-696-4097.*

Are "FOIA" and "For Official Use Only" (FOUO) the same?

No. FOIA establishes the rules for determining what information in official records may be released or withheld from the public.

FOUO is simply a designation applied to records to warn federal employees that the record may contain information that should be withheld under the FOIA or Privacy Act. The absence of the FOUO designation does not mean all of the information in a record may be released in response to a FOIA or Privacy Act request.

FOIA Public Liaison

The FOIA public liaison serves as a supervisory official to whom a FOIA requester can raise concerns about the services received from the ONR FOIA/PA Office. Curtis Howard is the FOIA public liaison for the Office of Naval Research, and may be reached via email at

Reading Room

For More Information

The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) handles FOIA requests independently of ONR. Find information about NRL-related FOIA requests on NRL's website.

Visit the Navy FOIA website for more information. Or, for details on the Privacy Act:

* Some pages on this website provide links which require a plug in to view.