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I '.5. D~flllrlm~n' Q( 'IQm~l.

nd SffUTi~'
Pri"aty Office
Arlington, VA 22101

Homeland
Security

February 15. 2006

MEMORANDUM FOR: DHS Directorate,~ponent. and Office Leadership

FROM: Maureen Cooney ~C~


Acting ChiefPriva Officer and cJ
Chief Freedom of [nformation Act Oflicer

SUBJECT: Executive Order 13392. Improving Agency Disclosure of


Infonnation

This past December, President George W. Bush issued an Executive Order requiring Executive
Branch departments to reform their Freedom of Information Act (FOlA) programs in order to be
more "citizen-centered." As a first requirement, the President ordered eaeh department to appoint a
Chief Freedom of Infonnation Act Officer to have "agency-wide responsibility for efficient and
appropriate compliance with the FOJA." As the appointed official for the Department of Homeland
Security. I am writing to solicit your help in complying with the remaining requirements of the
Executive Order.

The Executive Order contains several "deliverables." Departments must

• Establish onc or more FOJA Requester Service Centers (RSC) to "sen·c as the first place that a
FOJA requester can contact to seek infonnation concerning thc status of the person's FOlA
request." To support the RSC. the ChiefFOIA Officer can designate FOIA Public Liaisons to
whom a FOIA requester can raise concerns about service on FOrA requests.

• Conduct a review and develop a report on the department's FOIA operations, including the use
of infonnation technology, practices with respect to requests for l.:xpedited processing,
implementation ofmulti~track processing. and availability of public infomlation through
websites and other means. The n..-port should also identify ways to diminate or reduce the
FOIA backlog.

• Develop a FOIA Improvement Plan that includes specific activities to eliminate or reduce the
FOIA backlog, including changes to streamline ForA processing and activities to increase
public awareness. The FOrA Improvement Plan should have concrete milestones, specific
timetables. achievable outcomes. and metrics to measure success.
The Chief FOrA Otlicer for each department must submit a report by April I~. 2006, that addresses
these deliverables.

THIS is forlUnate to have an experienced cadre of FOI t\ professionals to carry out the important and
necessary \\ork of achieving transparency thwugh FOIA Today I met with our senior FOrA
officers to apprise them of the requirements of the Executive Order und to enlist their assistance.
Our discussions demonstrated that DHS aln:ady has in place many mechanisms that will allo\\.- me to
complete the required report on the items described above. All the components represented at our
meering indicated that they have in place a dedicated individual (one or more) \\ho is <lvaiJahle by
telephone to respond to status inquiries. \tIuch of the infom1utioll required fnr the FOIA rcvie\'o" is
available through the annual FOIA report that each component has completed pursuant to FOJA's
statutory requirements (5 USc. § 552(el( I ». And because we have had several years of FOJA
(;.·xperiL'nce -- and our legacy component agencies have had many -- it should be relaLIvely easy to
develop a FOIA Improvement Plan.

I intend to ensure that rhe DHS FOIA wehpage contains a link for a FOIA RSC with telephone
numbers and names of individuals in each component, directorate or office who can be contacted for
status inquiries. I will therefore appreciate your assistance in fOf'\\-arding the appropriate names and
telephone numbers to t:. (b)(1) J. no later than "larch 17,2006. I also encourage
each ofyuu to rc\ise your own FOIA webpage to include the FOrA Public Liaison's name and
telephone number so that requesters can have this information available if (hey visit your wcbsites.
This is an important step for improving FOIA operations, one that will make our programs more
'\:itizen-centric," as required by (he Executive Order.

I also have begun to prepare a comprehensive report analyzing current rOIA operations at OHS and
offering a FOJA Improvement Plan, as required by the Executive Order, )"1y report will. of
necessity, be based on the submission of component reports. To provide adequate time for
departmental review, I am asking each of you to \\-ork with your rOJA Officer to review your
CUIT(;.'m FOIA operations and to prepare a report describing them and suggesting a FOIA
Jmprovt:ment Plan. Much of the FOIA re' iew of operations work has been completed as a result of
the FOIA annual reporting requirements. Similarly. much of the FOIA Improvement Plan content
can be derived from the FOlA annual report and from ~·our o~n experience with the rOJA. While I
intend to provide a template for (his repon in the very near future, I wanted to alert you to this
reporting requirement as J will need your submissions no later than March 17,2006.

\\-'e can he proud of the important work thar \'ie have C1ccomplished in the fc\-\ yeCirs of OilS's
..:xistence. and J am confident that we will he able to present to the Secretary and then to the Anomt·y
General and the Oftice of Managcmem and Rudger. as required by [he Executiw Order. a
comprehensive report explaining the FOIA Program at DHS and ways that it can be improved.
look forward to working with all of you on this important matter.

to r('iratlll!, /ll'il/ need hy .lfarch /7, 2006, the names and refephone n/lmhl!rs 1I!.1 'Our F()/A I'uh!ic
!.iwsom, and / encII/waKe you to make rhi.l· il/formalion anlilahlc on . ,,'our Ij('hsirc Hr . thl! \'ame dmi!.
J )I'il! also require <l repvrt.f/"orr!.\I1U aho!" ('I/(rem F()I.-!ilj1<,,.a{UJlls (/I/d prlljl(l,\rI/S/or improl'cmclIf.
1. In 111m, \lil! ensure rhal your Puh/it- Lioi\o/l.\ urI.' !lokd in II/lr F(}JA Sal·in' (·('lJ{er. which Ij ill
appear Oil lhe DHS F()J,-/ \1"ch.~ite anJ will prr:pa/"c a wmpn.:ht:'l/sil·e rCj)orrliJr {he SeLTC1<Jn's
approral and rr/.Jf1.1'mis,l·ion 10 IIII,' Auorney (Jcnera! and OJJB,

;
If you have lju(:stions or comments please feel free to call me at (571) ~27-3813. Our Director (If
Departmental Disclosure and FOIA. Tony Kendrick, and his Deputy Din::cwr. Cltherine Pap0i. \\ hll
l:an be rcached at the same telephone number. can also provide additinnal int(mnution to you and
your FOIA staff regarding the requirements (lfthe ExecutiH: Order.

rhank you for your help.

.Altachmt·nt

Distribution List:

George Foresman, Under Secretary for Preparedness


Janet Hale. Under Secretary for Management
Charles McQueary. Under Secretary tor Science and Tcclmology
Stewart Baker. Assistant Secretary for Policy
Julie L \-hers. Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Kip Hawley. Assistant Secretary for Transportation Security
James Williams. Director. US-VISIT
Matthew Broderick. Director, Operations Coordination
Connie L Patrick, Director. Federal Law Enforcement Training Center
Ralph Basham. Director of the Secret Service
Emilio Gonzalez. Director. Citizenship and Immigration Services
David Paulison, Acting FEMA Director
Admiral Tom Collins, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard
Deborah Spero. Acting Commissioner, Customs and Border Protection
Phil Perry, General Counsel
Richard Skinner. Inspector General
John \Vuod. Chief of StafT, Office of the Secretary

cc:

Chad Boudreaux. Deputy Chid of Staff, Office of the Secretary


Malt Mayer. Counsel to the Deputy Secretary
Blair Birkeland. Chief of StatT. Management Directorate
Paul Rosenzweig, Counselor to the ,\ssistant Secretary for Policy
~kollt: Sciara-Rippeon. Chid of Stan: Policy Directorate
Victor ·Iambone. Chief of Staff. Science & Technology Dirl't:toratc
John Cha.<;e. ChitdofStaff. Preparedness Directorate
(Jary Lang. Chief of Statf.lmmigration and Customs [nforc~l1lent
Jane Titus. Chief of StatIo Federal Law Enforcement Training Ccoter
Tom Paar. Chief of Staff. Citizenship and Immigration Seryiccs
rhad Allen. Chid of Staff. U.S. Coast Guard
Chris Clark. Chief of Staff. Customs and Border Protection
Derek Riek:;;ts. Chief (,r StafT. Operations Coordinatioll
lamara \1il/er. Special Counselor. Transponation Securit) Administration