Archival military records are considered part of the public record, but non-archival records remain subject to the Privacy Act, allowing the release of only limited information to the public. According to the National Archives, military records become archival 62 years after a service member leaves the military.
Non-archival records of veterans can be accessed in full only with the authorization of a veteran or the veteran's next-of-kin. For public requests under the Freedom of Information Act without veteran authorization, the government can release some information, such as the service member's name, rank, branch of service, final duty status, final rank salary, awards and photograph. Records of active military personnel may be further restricted due to Privacy Act and national security concerns.