A FOIA request is the means by which an individual seeks records of an agency. A proper FOIA request should be as specific as possible to ensure an accurate and focused search for responsive material. A request that does not reasonably describe records cannot be processed, and the requester will be asked to clarify the subject of the request. In addition, a requester may be assessed fees for the processing of a request in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(4)(A)(ii) and Department of Defense Manual 5400.07. A proper FOIA request must include willingness to pay fees.
Please note: The FOIA does not require government agencies to answer substantive questions or create records to respond to a request.
There are three convenient ways to submit a FOIA request:
- Electronically: FOIA.gov
- By postal service or other commercial delivery:
National Reconnaissance Office
Attn: COMM/Information Review and Release Group
14675 Lee Road
Chantilly, VA 20151-1715
- By fax: 703-745-0833
If you plan to submit directly to the NRO, your request letter (see letter template) must include:
- A statement that you are making a FOIA request;
- A description of the specific records you are requesting in enough detail that they can be located with a reasonable amount of effort. Generally, a record is adequately described when the description contains sufficient file-related information (type of document, title, subject area, date of creation, originator, etc); or the request contains enough event-related information (date and circumstances surrounding the event the record covers) to permit the conduct of an organized search; and
- A statement of your willingness to pay applicable fees. Requests for fee waivers must include a justification.
Average Processing Time - It is difficult to provide an "average" processing time, as requests vary in their scope and complexity. Actual processing time will depend upon:
- how extensive a search is required;
- the complexity, volume and sensitivity of the records located;
- the need for consultation among various offices within the NRO;
- the need to consult with other entities having an equity in the material; and
- the number of cases preceding a request in the processing queue.
Requests are processed on a "first-in, first-out" basis, based on the origination date of the request.
Expedited Processing - A request will be expedited if the requester seeks such processing and demonstrates a compelling need, as defined by the FOIA, or a need for expedited treatment, as detailed in Department of Defense Manual 5400.07.
To check the status of a request, please contact the NRO FOIA Requester Service Center at (703) 745-0600.
For any additional questions, please see FOIA.gov Frequently Asked Questions.