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Memorandum on FOIA Training

U.S. Department of Justice - Office of the Associate Attorney General

October 28, 2015

MEMORANDUM FOR: Agency General Counsels and Chief FOIA Officers of Executive Departments and Agencies

FROM: Stuart F. Delery, Acting Associate Attorney General

SUBJECT: Freedom of Information Act Training

As President Obama declared on his first full day in office, "[i]n our democracy, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which encourages accountability through transparency, is the most prominent expression of a profound national commitment to ensuring an open Government." A proper understanding of the FOIA, including the correct application of the statute's provisions and the Attorney General's 2009 FOIA Guidelines, is fundamental to any successful FOIA operation.

In an effort to ensure that FOIA training resources are available to all agency employees, the Department of Justice's Office oflnformation Policy (OIP) released a suite of new electronic FOIA training resources this past March. Embracing the principles from the Attorney General's 2009 Guidelines that "FOIA is everyone's responsibility," this new suite of resources provides training material for all levels of the federal workforce from senior executives, to the FOIA professionals who process requests, to all other employees in your agency whose records are subject to FOIA requests. These new resources include:

  • A FOIA Infographic - A one page handout covering FOIA basics for all employees new to the federal workforce. The infographic can be accessed directly from the Training page of OIP's website.
  • A Senior Executive Briefing - A short video from the Director of OIP for agency senior executives, providing a general overview of the FOIA and emphasizing the importance of their support to their agency's FOIA program. This video is available on both the Justice Department website (available to view and download) and on the Justice Department's YouTube channel.
  • FOIA e-Learning Modules - Two modules designed for use in agency e-Learning systems. The first module is an in-depth course specifically designed for FOIA professionals, addressing all of the major procedural and substantive requirements of the law. The second is a brief module designed for all federal employees that provides a primer on the FOIA and highlights ways in which they can assist their agency in the administration of the law. Your agency's e-Learning staff may request a copy of the training modules by contacting OIP's Training Coordinator at

I encourage your agencies to take advantage of these new training materials and to ensure that all of your employees have a proper understanding of the FOIA and the important role they play in implementing this law.

Thank you for your continued hard work to improve the government's administration of the FOIA. If you have questions about the administration of the FOIA or would like further assistance in conducting training, please contact the Office of Information Policy at

Updated December 3, 2021