Frequently Asked Questions

How does DOI’s role compare to the duties of the Ministry of Interior in other countries?

In many countries, the Ministry of Interior is responsible for policing functions and internal security.  In the United States, similar functions fall under other agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security. At the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) our mission is quite different: “to protect and manage the Nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage; provide scientific and other information about those resources; and honor trust responsibilities or special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives and affiliated island communities”.

Why does the Department of the Interior conduct international activities?

For more than 100 years, DOI has conducted international activities as part of DOI’s mission and to advance U.S. foreign policy objectives.  The resources we manage, species we protect, and science we conduct all extend beyond the borders of the United States, and international partnerships we maintain are essential for fulfilling DOI’s responsibilities.  DOI cooperates with nearly every country in the world on a wide range of topics including environmental protection, wildlife conservation, natural resource management, volcano and earthquake monitoring, scientific and technical exchanges, cultural resource protection, and indigenous affairs.

How does DOI work with the U.S. State Department and other U.S. government agencies in support of U.S. foreign policy?

DOI works internationally with other U.S. government partners to help fulfill U.S. treaty obligations and foreign policy objectives on subjects such as foreign disaster assistance, conservation, economic development, science and technology, water resources management, dam safety, sustainable development of energy and mineral resources, law enforcement, and commitments to and support for indigenous communities.  DOI’s unique technical expertise complements the State Department’s diplomacy and foreign policy direction, as well as the specialized expertise of other Federal agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the Department of Commerce.   

What authority does DOI have to work internationally?

Numerous statutes authorize DOI to conduct international activities, as indicated in this list of selected legal authorities.

How do I work with DOI internationally?

DOI’s partners include foreign governments, other U.S. government agencies, non-governmental organizations, private citizens, and academia.  For more information, please contact the Office of International Affairs.

For DOI employees and retirees with relevant expertise, there are opportunities to participate in our international technical assistance activities.  More information can be found here

I am a DOI employee preparing to travel internationally for work:  what are the travel policy and guidelines?

Information for DOI employees traveling internationally can be found here.