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Freedom Of Information Act FOIA

 

FOIA Leadership

John D. Oswalt
Deputy Chief Information Officer for FOIA, Records Management and Assessment Compliance 

John Oswalt is a Senior Executive Service (SES) member under Compliance, Risk and Remediation (CRR), a service area under the Department of Veteran Affairs’ Office of Information and Technology.  In August 2022, Mr. Oswalt assumed the role of Deputy Chief Information Officer (DCIO) for the Office of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Records Management and Assessment Compliance and is responsible for the daily operations of the VA Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Records Management and Privacy and Records Assessment Compliance; Data Breach Response Service Office; Privacy Services Office; and Enterprise Mail Management Program office. As the DCIO, Mr. Oswalt directs VA Records, FOIA and Assessment Compliance activities concerned with the analysis, evaluation and development of a robust gold standard VA FOIA Service, VA Enterprise Records Management Service and a critical assessment compliance directorate. Each of these functions will feed department-wide compliance and provide guidance and policy updates on program operations and/or planned management initiatives. Mr. Oswalt also oversees the policy and implementation and operation of the Department's FOIA and Records Management programs across all Administrations, Staff Offices and field sites. He ensures that the agency adheres to all the legislatively mandated requirements of the FOIA and the Federal Records Act.  

Mr. Oswalt ensures the FOIA team reviews, redacts, and refers incoming FOIA to the appropriate office with ownership of the information being requested. This includes oversight to the appeals process and all communication with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Department of Justice and other Federal agencies.  He also ensures the Federal Records Act and all related activities are processed in an accurate timely manner within the confines of the law.  Mr. Oswalt provided guidance and oversight of the Privacy and Records Assessment Division which performs independent facility assessments of FOIA, Records and Privacy compliance. 

Prior to Mr. Oswalt current role in CRR, he served as the Deputy Chief Information Officer for IT Resource Management (ITRM), Mr. Oswalt directed the financial management, multi-year programming, budget formulation and execution, human capital management, space and facilities, strategic planning, analysis, and governance for the Office of Information Technology. He was responsible for linking the budgeting process with IT planning and programs and directs and oversees fiscal activities and human capital initiatives across all IT operational elements, with a combined budget of $4.1 billion and 8,000 employees, that supports VA’s mission and its 300,000+ IT end-users. 

Mr. Oswalt has served as a member of OIT’s Senior Executive Service since 2008. Previously as Executive Director for Privacy, Information, and Identity Protection, he coordinated compliance with VA and federal government policies and directives concerning privacy, records management, and information security incident mitigation. Prior to this position, he served as the acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for IT Budget and Finance and advised the Deputy Assistant Secretary for IT Resource Management, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Assistant Secretary for OIT on all matters relating to the office’s financial operations. In addition, he served as the Program Analysis Officer for the Office of Human Resources & Administration (HR&A), where he coordinated policies on resources and performance measures and served as the primary advisor to the Assistant Secretary on all budget and finance matters. 

Mr. Oswalt is a graduate of VA’s Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program and is the former President of the Leadership VA Alumni Association (LVAAA), where he established LVAAA as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

Career Chronology
2022 – Present Deputy Chief Information Officer for FOIA, Records Management and Assessment Compliance
2018 – 2022 Deputy Chief Information Officer for IT Resource Management
2011 – 2018 Executive Director for Privacy, Information, and Identity Protection; Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary (ADAS) for Policy, Planning and Incident Management, OIT
2008 – 2011 Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for IT Budget and Finance, OIT (Deputy CFO)
2003 – 2008 Program Analysis Officer, Office of Human Resources & Administration
2001 – 2003 Office of the Assistant Secretary; Director of Resources, Office of Human Resources Management
Education
1987 M.P.A. American University, Washington, DC 
1985 B.S. Political Science, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Michael Sarich
Director, Veterans Affairs (VA) Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 

Prior to joining the VA FOIA Office, Mike was charged with leading VHA’s FOIA program with over 300 FOIA Officers, processing 15,000 plus requests across 151 facilities and 12 time zones. During his tenure, the program won multiple awards from the Department of Justice for tech advances and for reducing the VHA FOIA backlog by over 90% in just 14 months.  In addition to previously leading the VHA FOIA program, Mike’s served in the Office of General Counsel at the Social Security Administration where he handled FOIA litigation issues, significant FOIA cases, and led a major rewrite of SSA FOIA Regulations in accordance with the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 and at the Bureau of Land Management where he helped establish a central FOIA office.

Mike’s a licensed attorney and a class of 2011 Presidential Management Fellow, he’s worked in the Irish Parliament, was elected to three terms on his hometown's City Council and continues to be active in his community. Mike is also a United States Army veteran who served in Korea, Germany, Texas, and Maryland. He lives in Laurel, Maryland and is raising two boys alongside his amazing wife, Angela.

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