Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
Seasoned backpacker and adventurer Yang Lu earned the grand prize in the 2015 Share the Experience photo contest with this image of a sunburst captured at sunrise in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah. Yang has made the outdoors part of his daily life and finds deep connection to the land through his lens.
“My photography is not just for recreation, it is to inspire people to explore these areas." -- Yang Lu
Photo by Yang Lu (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The plantings of cherry trees originated in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan. In Japan, the flowering cherry tree, or "Sakura," is an exalted flowering plant. The beauty of the cherry blossom is a potent symbol equated with the evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the ages.
The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget serves as the enterprise management entity responsible for providing overall policy direction, leadership, guidance, and assistance on a broad range of management and operational issues that directly affect the Interior Department's ability to fulfill its mission. The Assistant Secretary serves in a number of statutorily designated positions and is the agency's Chief Financial Officer, Chief Acquisition Officer, Chief Human Capital Officer, and Chief Performance Officer. The Assistant Secretary also has responsibility for major operation al components that support Interior-wide functions, including the Interior Business Center, Office of Valuation Services, Office of Aviation Services, Natural Resource Damage Assessment program, Central Hazardous Materials Fund, and the Payments in Lieu of Taxes program. The AS-PMB also oversees the Wildland Fire program in coordination with the three land management bureaus and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
The AS-PMB plays a pivotal role in the stewardship of Interior's fiscal resources. The Assistant Secretary leads budget formulation and execution activities. The Office is responsible for financial reporting and annual audit activities. The AS-PMB serves as a driver for leveraging performance-based information into decision making and leads the development of the strategic plan, priority goals, the annual performance plans, and quarterly performance reviews. The Assistant Secretary also ensures Departmental compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements related to annual appropriations b ills and related to Department-wide functions such as performance, finance, acquisition and property management, budget, general management, administration, civil rights, and equal access.
The AS-PMB advances management reforms to align efforts among the bureaus and offices and ensure they are complementary to maximize resource sharing across Interior. The Assistant Secretary leads the development of long-term strategies to optimize mission and administrative services and empowers and supports bureau-level, regional and field-based reforms. In addition, AS-PMB is a service provider for the Department for several administrative-oriented functions.
The AS-PMB plays an important role in cross-cutting policy development, analysis and enforcement. The Assistant Secretary guides programs requiring Departmental attention due to their international or national concern, budgetary significance, legislative requirements, precedent-setting nature, or issues crossing bureau or office lines. The AS-PMB promulgates policies, processes, and tools to ensure operationalization of priorities. Through its policy functions, AS-PMB drives management reforms and administrative efficiencies and ensures standardization and cohesion across the Department.
The AS-PMB has led the development of an Inclusive Workforce Strategy that guides Department-wide efforts in creating an inclusive culture where employees are respected, quality of work life is valued, and people have the opportunity to reach their full potential.