THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE has a lot of problems — a series of warsin Iraq that never seem to fully end, a conflict in Afghanistan that just won’t end, quasi-wars in Pakistan and Yemen and Somalia with no end in sight; a proliferation of terror groups around the globe; and its numerous failed, failing, and scuttled training efforts to create local proxy armies.
And then there’s me.
Last week, the Department of Defense issued its annual “Chief Freedom of Information Act Officer Report to the Department of Justice.” At a cost of roughly $41,449, this study, according to the Defense Department’s Chief FOIA Officer, Peter Levine, found that “DoD has continued to improve its administration of the FOIA and develop new initiatives to further streamline our FOIA processes and promote openness and transparency.” Never mind that, at this very moment, the Defense Department is seeking to add exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act that would allow it to deny requests for unclassified materials pertaining to military operations. The report suggests that sunshine is abundant at the Pentagon — even if there are some conspicuous traces of gloom beyond their control.
The report, for instance, laments that “despite their best efforts to provide helpful details, great customer service and efficient responses,” some DoD components were “still overwhelmed by one or two requesters who try to monopolize the system by filing a large number of requests or submitting disparate requests in groups which require a great deal of administrative time to adjudicate.” The study went on to call out: