FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT (FOIA) ANNUAL REPORT

 

Fiscal Year 2006

 

 AMERICAN BATTLE MONUMENTS COMMISSION

 

 

I.  Basic Information Regarding Report

 

  1. Name, title, address, and telephone number of person(s) to contact with

Questions about the report.

   

 Martha Sell

 American Battle Monuments Commission

 Courthouse Plaza II, Ste 500

 2300 Clarendon Blvd.

 Arlington, Virginia 22201

 Telephone:  703-696-6897

 

 Michael G. Conley

 American Battle Monuments Commission

 Courthouse Plaza II, Ste 500

 2300 Clarendon Blvd.

 Arlington, Virginia 22201

 Telephone:  703-696-6778

 

  1. Electronic address for report on the World Wide Web.

 

www.abmc.gov

 

  1. How to obtain a copy of the report in paper form.

 

Contact Ms. Sell or Mr. Conley at the address or telephone numbers listed above.

 

II.  How to Make a FOIA Request

 

A.     Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all individual agency components and offices that receive FOIA requests.

 

        Martha R. Sell

        American Battle Monuments Commission

        Courthouse Plaza II, Ste 500

        2300 Clarendon Blvd.

        Arlington, VA 22201

        Telephone:  703-696-6897

 

Michael G. Conley

American Battle Monuments Commission

Courthouse Plaza II, Ste 500

2300 Clarendon Blvd.

        Arlington, VA 22201

        Telephone:  703-696-6778

 

        Theodore Gloukhoff

        American Battle Monuments Commission

        Courthouse Plaza II, Ste 500

        2300 Clarendon Blvd.

        Arlington, VA 22201

        Telephone:  703-696-6908

       

B.     Brief description of the agency’s response-time ranges.

 

      Average processing time in FY 06 was 10 days.

 

C.     Brief description of why some requests are not granted.

 

N/A – there was no denial of records during FY 06.

 

III.  Definition of Terms and Acronyms Used in the Report

 

A.  Agency-specific acronyms or other terms.

 

       None

 

B.  Basic terms, expressed in common terminology.

 

1.  FOIA/PA Request – Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act request.  A FOIA request is generally a request for access to records concerning a third party, an organization, or a particular topic of interest.  A Privacy Act request is a request for records concerning the requester; such requests are also treated as FOIA requests.  (All requests for access to records, regardless of which law is cited by the requester, are included in this report.)

 

2.  Initial Request – a request to a federal agency for access to records under the Freedom of Information Act.

 

3.  Appeal – a request to a federal agency asking that it review at a higher administrative level a full denial or partial denial of access to records under the Freedom of Information Act, or any other FOIA determination such as a matter pertaining to fees.

 

4.  Processed Request or Appeal – a request or appeal for which an agency has taken a final action on the request or the appeal in all respects.

 

5. Multi-track processing – a system in which simple requests requiring relatively minimal review are placed in one processing track and more voluminous and complex requests are placed in one or more other tracks.  Requests in each track are processed on a first-in/first-out basis.  A requester who has an urgent need for records may request expedited processing (see below).

 

6.  Expedited processing – an agency will process a FOIA request on an expedited basis when a requester has shown an exceptional need or urgency for the records which warrants prioritization of his or her request over other requests that were made earlier.

 

7.  Simple request – a FOIA request that an agency using multi-track processing places in its fastest (non-expedited) track based on the volume and/or simplicity of records requested.

 

8.  Complex request – a FOIA request that an agency using multi-track processing places in a slower track based on the volume and/or complexity of records requested.

 

9.  Grant – an agency decision to disclose all records in full in response to a FOIA request.

 

10. Partial grant – an agency decision to disclose a record in part in response to a FOIA request, deleting information determined to be exempt under one or more of the FOIA’s exemptions; or a decision to disclose some records in their entireties, but to withhold others in whole or in part.

 

11.  Denial – an agency decision not to release any part of a record or records in response to a FOIA request because all the information in the requested records is determined by the agency to be exempt under one or more of the FOIA’s exemptions, or for some procedural reason (such as because no record is located in response to a FOIA request).

 

12.  Time limits – the time period in the Freedom of Information Act for an agency to respond to a FOIA request (ordinarily 20 working days from proper receipt of a “perfected” FOIA request).

 

13.  “Perfected” request – a FOIA request for records which adequately describes the records sought, which has been received by the FOIA office of the agency or agency component in possession of the records, and for which there is no remaining question about the payment of applicable fees.

 

14.  Exemption 3 statue – a separate federal statue prohibiting the disclosure of a certain type of information and authorizing its withholding under FOIA subsection (b) (3).

 

15.  Median number – the middle, not average, number.  For example, of 3, 7, and 14, the median number is 7.

 

16.  Average number – the number obtained by dividing the sum of a group of numbers by the quantity of numbers in the group.  For example, of 3, 7, and 14, the average number is 8.

 

IV.  Exemption 3 Statutes

 

A.  List of Exemption 3 statutes relied on by agency during current fiscal year.

 

1.  Brief description of type(s) of information withheld under each statute.

 

No Exemption 3 statutes were used as a basis for denying information in FY 06.

 

2.  Statement of whether a court has upheld the use of each statute.  If so, then cite example.

 

 N/A

 

V.  Initial FOIA/PA Access Reports

 

A.  Number of initial requests.

 

1.  Number of requests pending as of end of preceding fiscal year: ___0___

 

2.  Number of requests received during current fiscal year: ___11___

 

3.  Number of requests processed during current fiscal year: ___11_

 

4.  Number of requests pending as of end of current fiscal year: ___0___

 

B. Disposition of initial requests.

 

1.  Number of total grants: ___11___

 

2.  Number of partial grants: ___0___

 

3.  Number of denials: ___0___

 

C.  Number of times each FOIA exemption used (counting each exemption once per request).

 

(1)  Exemption 1: ____0____

 

(2)  Exemption 2: ____0____

 

(3)  Exemption 3: ____0____

 

(4)  Exemption 4: ____0____

 

(5)  Exemption 5: ____0____

 

(6)  Exemption 6: ____0____

 

(7)  Exemption 7(A): ____0____

 

(8)  Exemption 7(B): ____0_____

 

(9)  Exemption 7(C): _____0____

 

(10) Exemption 7(D): ____0____

 

(11) Exemption 7(E): ____0____

 

(12)  Exemption 7(F): ____0____

 

(13)  Exemption 8: _____0_____

 

(14)  Exemption 9: _____0_____

 

4.  Other reasons for nondisclosure (total): ___0___

 

a.  no records: ____0____

 

b.  referrals: _____0_____

 

c.  request withdrawn: ____0____

 

d.  fee-related reason: ____0____

 

e.  records not reasonably described: ____0____

 

f.  not a proper request for some other reasons: ____0____

 

g.  not an agency record: ____0____

 

h.  duplicate request: ____0____

 

i.  other (specify): ____0____

 

VI:  Appeals of Initial Denials of FOIA/PA Requests

 

A.  Number of appeals.

 

1.      Number of appeals received during fiscal year: ____0____

 

2.      Number of appeals processed during fiscal year: ____0____

 

B.  Disposition of appeals.

 

1.      Number completely upheld:  ____N/A____

 

2.      Number partially reversed: ____N/A_____

 

3.      Number completely reversed: ____N/A____

 

C.  Number of times each FOIA exemption used (counting each exemption once per appeal).

 

(1)  Exemption 1: ____0____

 

(2)  Exemption 2: ____0____

 

(3)  Exemption 3: ____0_____

 

(4)   Exemption 4: ____0_____

 

(5)   Exemption 5: ____0_____

 

(6)   Exemption 6: _____0_____

 

(7)   Exemption 7(A): ____0____

 

(8)   Exemption 7(B): ____0____

 

(9)   Exemption 7(C): ____0_____

 

(10)  Exemption 7(D): ____0____

 

(11)  Exemption 7(E): ____0_____

 

(12)  Exemption 7(F):  _____0_____

 

(13)  Exemption 8: ____0_____

 

(14)  Exemption 9: ____0_____

 

4.      Other reasons for nondisclosure (total): ____0____

 

a.   no records: ____0____

 

b.   referrals: ____0____

 

c.   request withdrawn: ____0____

 

d.  fee-related reasons: ____0____

 

e.  records not reasonably described: ____0____

 

f.  not a proper FOIA request for some other reason: ____0____

 

g.  not an agency record: _____0____

 

h.  duplicate request: ____0_____

 

i.   other (specify): ____0____

 

VII. Compliance with Time Limits/Status of Pending Requests.

 

A.  Median processing time for requests processed during the year.

 

1.  Simple requests (if multiple tracks used).

 

a.  number of requests: ____11____

 

b.  median number of days to process: ____10 ____

 

2.  Complex request (specify for any and all tracks used).

 

a.  number of requests processed: ____0____

 

b.  median numbers of days to process: ____N/A____

 

3.  Requests accorded expedited processing.

 

a.  number of requests processed: ____0___

 

b.  median number of days to process: ____N/A____

 

B.  Status of pending requests.

 

1.  Number of requests pending as of end of current fiscal year: ____0____

 

2.  Median number of days that such requests were pending as of that date: ___N/A___

 

VIII.  Expedited processing.

 

A.  Number of requests accorded expedited processing.

 

1.  Number received: ____0____

 

2.  Number granted: ____N/A____

 

IX.  Costs/FOIA Staffing.

 

1.  Number of full-time FOIA personnel: ____0____

 

2.  Number of personnel with part-time or occasional FOIA duties (in total work-years):

      __Unknown: not calculated separately by agency___

 

3,  Total number of personnel (in work years):

      __Unknown: not calculated separately by Agency___

 

A.  Total costs (including staff and all resources).

 

1.  FOIA processing (including appeals): 

      __Unknown: not separately calculated by agency___

 

2.  Litigation-relation activities (estimated): ____N/A____

 

3.  Total costs: __ Unknown: not separately calculated by agency____

 

4.  (Optional) Comparison with previous year(s) (including percentage of change):

     ___Unknown:  not separately calculated by agency____

 

5.  (Optional) Statement of additional resources needed for FOIA compliance: __N/A __

 

X:  Fees

 

A.  Total amount of fees collected by agency for processing requests: __$12.32___

 

B.  Percentage of total costs: ____ Unknown:  not separately calculated by agency___

 

XI:  FOIA Regulations (Including Fee Schedule)

 

Commission regulations appear at CFR 36 Part 404 and at http://www.abmc.gov    

 

XII. Report on Executive Order 13,392 implementation

 

On December 14, 2005, the President issued Executive Order 13,392, entitled "Improving Agency Disclosure of Information," which established a "citizen-centered" and "results-oriented" approach to administration of the Freedom of Information Act. The Executive Order required each agency to conduct a review of its FOIA operations, to develop an agency-specific plan to improve its administration of the Act, and to include in its annual FOIA report a description of its progress in meeting the milestones and goals established in its improvement plan.

 

This section of the annual FOIA report contains the American Battle Monuments Commission’s description of its progress in implementing the milestones and goals of the Commission’s FOIA Improvement Plan.  The reporting period for Section XII is different from that used for the rest of this report, which is based on data compiled for Fiscal Year 2006.

 

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan.

 

N/A

 

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area.

       

Affirmative DisclosureThe 2006 Step 1 milestone was achieved as scheduled.  Goal completion continues to be projected for June 30, 2007.

 

Proactive Disclosure:  The 2006 Step 1 milestone was not achieved as scheduled.  See paragraph C below for explanation.

 

Reference Guide:  All 2006 milestones were not achieved as scheduled.  See paragraph C below for explanation.

 

TrainingThe 2006 Step 1 milestone was achieved as scheduled.  Goal completion continues to be projected for June 30, 2007.

 

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones.

 

Proactive DisclosureThe 2006 Step 1 milestone was not achieved as scheduled.  The Corozal American Cemetery burial database that was to have been loaded onto the agency Web site by December 31, 2006, has been created and is in design for loading onto the agency Web site; completion of this milestone is now projected for March 31, 2007.  The delay resulted from competing, higher-priority database workload requirements of the part-time contract employee who creates and maintains the databases of war dead honored at ABMC commemorative sites.  

 

The programmed 2007 Proactive Disclosure milestones should be met as scheduled.  Goal completion continues to be projected for June 30, 2007.

 

Reference GuideThe 2006 Step 1 milestone was achieved as scheduled.  However, the second milestone projected for completion in September 2006 was not completed until January 2007, thus pushing the projected goal completion into 2007.  As with the Proactive Disclosure improvement area, the delays resulted from competing duty requirements of the individual who manages the agency FOIA program as an additional duty and whose primary responsibility is responding to public inquiries regarding the war dead honored at ABMC memorial cemeteries worldwide and facilitating public visitation to those sites.  The reference guide has been drafted and should be completed and posted on the agency Web site by February 28, 2007  

 

D.  Additional narrative statement regarding other executive order-related activities.

 

N/A

 

E.  Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions.

 

N/A

 

F.  Additional statistics:

 

1.  Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency). 

 

N/A

 

2.  Time range of consultations pending with other agencies, by date of initial interagency communication. 

 

N/A

 

G.  Attachment:  Agency 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

 

 

E.  Improvement Area Details

 

 

§       Objective:  Evaluate additional agency records and documents to determine those which should be placed on the agency Web site 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 during the previous year

 

 

§       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 

 

 

 

 

§       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 

 

 

§       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

 

§         Reference Guide

§         Proactive disclosure (partial)

 

§         Affirmative disclosure

§         Proactive disclosure

§         Training

 

§         None – some annual reviews and adjustments will be ongoing