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A record is archival (publicly available), 62 years after the service member's separation from the military; the ownership of the record transfers from the service branch to the legal custody of NARA. Separation from service is defined as discharge, retirement or death in service based on a rolling date. For example, if today's date is January 1, 2015, then the discharge, retirement or date of death must be January 1, 1953 or before for the record to be considered archival. Based on a rolling date of 62 years, all military personnel records will eventually become archival records, open to the general public. Copies of archival records are provided for a fee.
Records of individuals who left service less than 62 years ago are non-archival and are maintained under the Federal Records Center program. Federal (non-archival) OMPFs are subject to access restrictions, and only limited information or copies of documents from these records may be released to the general public within the provisions of the law. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act provide balance between the right of the public to obtain information from military service records and the right of the former military service member to protect his/her privacy.