Modernizing and Reorganizing the Department of Interior (DOI)
Deputy Director External Affairs
Office of the Secretary
U.S. Department of the Interior
Desk: (202) 208-6015
Secretary Zinke’s vision for reorganization is to improve overall operations, internal communication, service to the American public, and stakeholder engagement. Aligning geographic jurisdictions across the Department will enhance coordination of resources and will simplify how the American public engages with DOI - particularly within the realm of recreation, conservation, and federal permitting.
As you may recall, DOI has been working on reorganization since last year. In January of 2018, DOI launched a major step in the reorganization effort by hosting meetings and calls with Governors, local governments and external stakeholders to discuss a draft map of the Unified Regional Boundaries concept. In addition to connecting with our intergovernmental and external partners, we invited our career Senior Executive Service (SES) employees from all over the country to a series of meetings in Washington, D.C. to collaborate on the concept.
Since those initial discussions and the hundreds of meetings across the country with intergovernmental partners and external stakeholders, we have established a final version of DOI’s twelve new Unified Regions for all of Interior’s Bureaus except for those which fall under the leadership of the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs. The new Unified Regions are displayed in the attached map.
In the coming weeks, we will take actions to align DOI into the twelve unified regional boundaries. Bureau regional boundaries will transition from their current regional structures to participate in the new twelve unified regional boundaries. We are not reprogramming funds or making other specific organizational changes in the bureaus at this time. The Department does not anticipate mission, budget, or personnel impacts as the twelve new unified regions stand up virtually and begin operation.
These new Unified Regional Boundaries provide the framework for a new way of doing business. As we move forward, with your support, our new Unified Regions will allow important decisions to be made closer to where our stakeholders and intergovernmental partners live and work, and will greatly simplify our operations, and improve the services we provide.
Here are the next most immediate steps in this process:
- Create Regional Leadership Teams composed of SES employees from each Bureau in each Unified Region.
- The SES Leadership Team of each Unified Region will identify a Regional Facilitator.
The Regional Facilitator is tasked with collectively organizing activities of the Unified region on six specific areas: collaborative conservation, recreation, permitting, acquisition, human resource management, and information technology management.
- Regional Leadership Teams will then identify key personnel and create six individual teams to work on the six areas of focus in each region. Tasks to be addressed by the Regional Facilitator and specific deliverables will be developed during this period.
- The Regional Facilitators and the Regional Leadership Teams will identify the “as is” and “future state” operations for their Unified Region.
- The Regional Facilitators and the Regional Leadership Teams will also develop an options paper to be used in selecting the Interior Regional Director (IRD) and in establishing an IRD rotation process. The IRD duties for each Unified Region will be similar, but geographic areas of the country will require slightly different skills and experience depending on the priority issues for that Unified Region.
Below are links to the new FAQ that has been updated to include more information about the twelve unified regions and the role of the Interior Regional Directors, and a link to where you can find more information on this effort including the final Unified Regional Boundary Map.
Also, we are sending two letters updating DOI staff of the changes. One letter will be sent to all DOI employees and one specifically to our Senior Executive Service employees who have played an integral role in the development of the reorganization.
We value your input and feedback as we continue with this process. Please continue to send us ideas, thoughts, and concerns. Also, if you would like to set up a conference call or meeting to discuss in further detail, I am happy to help facilitate.