FOIA Improvement Plan

American Battle Monuments Commission
Freedom of Information Act Improvement Plan
June 2006

A.  Nature of ABMC FOIA Operations

  • The American Battle Monuments Commission is a small independent agency of the federal government responsible for the maintenance and operation of America’s overseas commemorative military cemeteries and memorials.
  • Information and databases relevant to ABMC commemorative sites is available through the agency Web site at www.abmc.gov.  The agency also responds annually to thousands of written, telephonic and email requests for general information, no-fee passport authorizations, certificates, photos and lithographs that are received outside the formal Freedom of Information Act program.
  • The agency received fewer than 10 FOIA requests each of the last three years.

B.  Areas Selected for Review

  • Affirmative disclosure
  • Proactive disclosure
  • Reference Guide
  • Electronic processing
  • Acknowledgments
  • Training
  • Centralization / decentralization

C.  Review Results

  • ABMC FOIA program officials considered the 27 potential improvement areas listed in Executive Order 13392 Implementation Guidance.  Twenty of the potential improvements areas were determined to be acceptable in current practice based on performance evaluation or not warranted for review by the small number of requests the agency receives.
  • Of the seven areas selected for closer review, three—electronic processing, acknowledgments, and centralization/decentralization—also were determined to be acceptable or not warranted.

D.  Areas Selected for Improvement 

  • Affirmative disclosure
  • Proactive disclosure
  • Reference Guide
  • Training

E.  Improvement Area Details

Affirmative Disclosure

Objective: Evaluate additional agency records and documents to determine those which should be placed on the agency website for direct public access.

Steps:
1.  Survey staff directorates for applicable records and documents
2.  Scan applicable records and documents as PDF files
3.  Place records and documents on FOIA pages of agency Web site

Milestones:
Step 1 – December 31, 2006
Step 2 – March 31, 2007
Step 3 – June 30, 2007
Step 4 – Ongoing review and posting of agency records and documents

Means of Measurement:

  • Assessment of Step completion by Milestone dates
  • Annual review of records and documents created dudring the previous year

Proactive Disclosure

Objective:  Add to the Web site searchable databases of burials at Corozal American Cemetery; names of the missing from the Korean and Vietnam Wars listed on the Honolulu Memorial; and Medal of Honor recipients buried in ABMC cemeteries or memorialized on Tablets of the Missing.

Steps:
1.  Create and load database of Corozal American Cemetery burials
2.  Create and load database of names of the missing from the Korean and Vietnam Wars listed on the Honolulu Memorial
3.  Create and load database of Medal of Honor recipients buried in ABMC cemeteries or memorialized on Tablets of the Missing

Milestones:
Step 1 – December 31, 2006
Step 2 – March 31, 2007
Step 3 – June 30, 2007

Means of Measurement:  Assessment of Step completion by Milestone dates 

Reference Guide

Objective:  Write and post on agency Web site a FOIA Reference Guide to increase public awareness of FOIA processing.

Steps:

1.  Benchmark other federal agency examples of FOIA Reference Guides
2.  Write a FOIA Reference Guide tailored to the scope of the ABMC FOIA program and incorporating best practices of other agencies
3.  Publish the Reference Guide for distribution to the public and post it to the agency Web site

Milestones:
Step 1 – July 31, 2006
Step 2 – September 30, 2006
Step 3 – December 31, 2006

Means of Measurement:

  • Assessment of Step completion by Milestone dates
  • Annual review of Reference Guide for currency 

Training

Objective:  Obtain appropriate FOIA training for the agency’s Chief FOIA Officer and FOIA Public Liaison.

Steps:
1.  Research availability of appropriate government-wide FOIA courses
2.  Schedule and attend courses determined to be appropriate to the scope of the ABMC FOIA program

Milestones:
Step 1 – September 30, 2006
Step 2 – June 30, 2007

Means of Measurement:

  • Assessment of Step completion by Milestone dates
  • Annual review of training requirements  

F.  Estimated Completion Dates

Areas to be completed by December 31, 2006

  • Reference Guide
  • Proactive disclosure (partial)

Areas to be completed by December 31, 2007

  • Affirmative disclosure
  • Proactive disclosure
  • Training

Areas to be completed after December 31, 2007

  • None – some annual reviews and adjustments will be ongoing