The Department of the Interior is committed to the U.S. government’s long-standing partnerships with the governments of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau (collectively, the freely associated states or FAS), including their respective local governments. The Department respects the authority and responsibility of local governance and the exercise of democratic rights and responsibilities in all Insular Areas. The Department has consistently sought to promote the well-being and equity for all Insular Area communities, which includes the FAS and the territories of American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Under the leadership of the Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs, the Office of Insular Affairs prioritizes any opportunity to enhance and improve the effective and efficient use of United States taxpayer funds.
In response to a request by the Mayor and Council of the Kili-Bikini-Ejit (KBE) Local Government in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, in 2017, Department leadership accepted a proposed rescript related to the administration and management of the Bikini Resettlement Trust Fund, effectively entrusting KBE elected leaders to exercise management and decision-making authority over the Bikini Resettlement Trust Fund without annual approval of budgets, which had been the customary practice for more than three decades. The Department has received the current balance of the Bikini Resettlement Trust Fund along with other financial documents. The Department is currently reviewing what actions are necessary or appropriate given its surviving role with respect to the resettlement program and the trust fund documents.
The Assistant Secretary of Insular and International Affairs and the Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) carry out the Secretary of the Interior’s responsibilities for the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Additionally, OIA administers and oversees federal assistance under the Compacts of Free Association to the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. OIA also administers a discretionary Technical Assistance Program for all the Insular Areas. Find information about OIA and its work on www.doi.gov/oia, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.