Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs

Freedom of Information Act


Freedom of Information Act

ďA popular Government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance and a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives.Ē

James Madison

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Title 5 of the United States Code, section 552, generally provides that any person has the right to request access to federal agency records or information.  All agencies of the U.S. Government are required to disclose records upon receiving a written request, except those records that are protected from disclosure pursuant to nine exemptions and three exclusions.  The FOIA applies only to federal agencies and does not create a right of access to records held by Congress, the courts, or by state or local government agencies.  Any requests for state or local government records should be directed to the appropriate state or local government agency. To access Department of Military Affairs or Wisconsin Emergency Management records under Wisconsin Open Records laws click here.

Public Notice: Access to Federal Agency Records or Information.
You have a right to inspect and copy certain records under Title 5 United States Code section 522.

The information contained herein is not intended to be definitive or exhaustive.


To make a FOIA request, simply write or fax a letter to the appropriate agency. To ensure quick handling of your request, mark both your envelope and your letter "Freedom of Information Act Request". You do not have to give the records title, but try to be as specific as possible to increase the likelihood that the agency will be able to locate the information you seek. You are not required to state why you want the records or information.

To make a FOIA Request to the Wisconsin Army National Guard, please contact:

To make a FOIA request of the National Guard Bureau, click on the following link: http://www.ngb.army.mil/sitelinks/foia.aspx.

To find out who to contact for other federal agencies click on the following link: http://www.usdoj.gov/oip/04_4.html


The FOIA permits agencies to charge fees to FOIA requesters. For noncommercial requesters, the Wisconsin Army National Guard may charge only for the actual cost of searching for records and the cost of making copies. Search fees usually range from about $15 to $40 per hour, depending upon the salary levels of the personnel needed for the search. WING charges $.25 for copies. However, for noncommercial requests, WING will not charge for the first two hours of search time or for the first 100 pages of document copying. WING also will not charge if the total cost is minimal. The WING will notify you before proceeding with a request that will involve large fees, unless your request letter already states your willingness to pay fees as large as that amount. If fees are charged, you may request a waiver of those fees if you can show that the records, when disclosed to you, will contribute significantly to the publicís understanding of the operations or activities of the government.

Related Information

FOIA: Frequently Asked Questions

FOIA: The Law (46Kb pdf)

Sample FOIA Request (11kb pdf)

Sample FOIA Request (23kb Word)

Helpful Links

National Guard Bureau FOIA

Department of Justice components FOIA contacts

Principal FOIA contacts at other federal agencies

Links to other federal agencies FOIA websites

Code of Federal Regulations

The Privacy Act of 1974

Freedom of Information Act

Department of Defense FOIA Website

DOD FOIA Program

The Army FOIA Program