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Legal Services

How to Submit a FOIA Request 
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 United States Code 552, allows you to request information from various agencies of the federal government, including the Department of the Navy. FOIA is implemented by the Navy in Secretary of the Navy Instruction 5720.42F, Department of the Navy Freedom of Information Act Program (SECNAVINST 5720.42F).

Commander, Navy Region, Southwest (CNRSW) maintains records consistent with CNRSW mission shore-based installation support for naval operating forces throughout the CNRSW area of responsibility (AOR). If you desire records which are not within the above mission or AOR, click on links for further assistance.

Submitting a FOIA Request
Label your request "FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST," on the request and also on the envelope (if you submit by mail).

Describe the specific record(s) you are seeking with enough detail so that a knowledgeable official or employee of the activity may locate the record with a reasonable amount of effort. Such detail should include descriptive information, time frame to be searched, etc. Because most Navy records are not retained permanently, the more information provided, the better opportunity there is to determine if the records still exist and where. The FOIA clearly states that records must exist at the time of the request. Also, agencies are not required to create a record to comply with your request.

The FOIA does not require agencies to answer questions, venture opinions, or conduct independent inquiries to satisfy queries from the public. Please ensure that your request asks for records, not answers to questions.

FOIA authorizes agencies to estimate and collect fees associated with the search for, review, and duplication of, federal records. State your willingness to pay all fees (or those up to a specified amount) or provide a justification to support a fee waiver. Currently we charge search, review (for commercial requesters only), and duplication costs. Ordinarily, if the duplication, search and review fees exceed $250.00, we will not commence retrieval of the documents until we have received payment. If fees are below $250.00, we routinely will copy and forward responsive documents to you with a letter, which itemizes search, review and duplication. (The fee schedule is provided at enclosure (3) of SECNAVINST 5720.42F.)

Submit your request in writing to:
Commander Navy Region, Southwest (N51)
750 Pacific Hwy
San Diego, CA 92132-5190
Submit your request online

Processing Your Request
Activities are required to process your request within 20 working days (does not include Saturdays, Sundays, or legal holidays). Due to the complexity of certain requests, on occasion we may not be able to respond within that period. To ensure fair and equitable treatment, your request will be placed in a multi-track "first-in, first out" queue; one for simple requests, one for complex requests, and one for expedited requests. By narrowly focusing your request, you can assist us to more quickly and thoroughly process your request.

In limited instances, information may be withheld from disclosure if it is:

· currently and properly classified in the interest of national defense or foreign policy;
· related solely to internal personnel rules and practices, the release of which would allow circumvention of a statute or rule;
· protected by a statute that specifically exempts the information;
· trade secrets and commercial or financial information that was obtained from a private source which would cause substantial competitive harm to the source;
· pre-decisional opinions and recommendations, inter-agency or intra-agency memoranda or letters that show foreseeable harm if released. Also, attorney-client privilege and attorney-work product are covered;
· personnel and medical information, the release of which would result in a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy; and/or
· investigatory records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes

To learn more about the Department of the Navy FOIA Program, click on

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Commander, Navy Region Southwest   |   750 Pacific Highway   |   San Diego, CA 92132
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