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USAMRAA Webmaster



Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Freedom of Information Act requests concerning solicitations, contracts or assistance agreements issued by the US Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity may be submitted to:

Freedom of Information Act Officer
U. S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity
ATTN: MCMR-AAP
820 Chandler Street
Fort Detrick, MD 21702-5014
Frequently Asked Questions
What legal recourse may a contractor invoke if the Government decides to release data that he requested be withheld? The submitter of such information may file suit in District Court under the Administrative Procedures Act to prevent the release.
If the Government decides to release information that the contractor requested be withheld, must the contractor in question be informed prior to release, after release or at all? If the submitter of information has raised an objection to its release, the government must notify the submitter of the information that it intends to release the disputed information at least 10 working days in advance of the release date. The purpose of the advance notice is to allow the submitter of the information to seek judicial action, generally in the form of an injunction prohibiting the government from releasing the disputed information.
In answer to a FOIA request, does a response that a current record or set of records does not exist constitute a denial? It may seem strange but telling a requester that the information requested does not exist (a "no record" determination) is considered an adverse determination. It should be signed by the Inital Denial Authority (IDA) and provide the requester with a notification of his appeal rights.
Does a FOIA requester have a legal right to the Curriculum Vitae of a competitor's staff? Curriculum Vitae, resumes, and biographies are personal information that is exempt from release under 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(6), otherwise known as Exemption 6. The nine exemptions of the FOIA are not mandatory in nature. The exemptions merely provide a basis for nondisclosure. Generally, disclosure is discretionary with the Agency unless nondisclosure is mandatory under an exemption or other statute. If a submitter of information has no objection to release though an exemption may apply, the Agency may use its discretion and release the information unless prohibited. It is USAMRAA policy to not release personal information.
Are unsuccessful proposals releasable? According to direction from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense all contractor submitted bids or proposals are considered to be voluntarily submitted as discussed in Critical Mass Energy Project v. NRC and shall not be released under the FOIA. Even successful proposals will only be released to the extent that they are incorporated into contracts or other public documents and are not subject to some other prohibition or inhibition on release.
Does the government have the right to disclose processes, procedures, or methods developed by a contractor at their own expense? What authority gives the government this right? Generally, the government may not, without coordination with the contractor, disclose information marked as proprietary pertaining to processes, procedures, or methods developed by the contractor at its own expense. The contract provisions pertaining to proprietary information and preexisting data rights control disclosure and must be consulted.
Does the FOIA supercede the Trade Secrets Act, the Privacy Act, the Procurement Integrity Act, etc? The FOIA does not supercede any other federal law unless that law (or FOIA) specifically states that it will be superceded by FOIA or unless there is a treaty, which is "the supreme law of the land." FOIA is intended to be applied in conjunction with other federal laws and regulations, though that interaction may be quite complex and seemingly contradictory. Some laws can, however, specifically exclude information from coverage by the FOIA.