Public Safety, Resource Protection and Emergency Services is responsible for leadership and strategic guidance in four primary areas: law enforcement, security, intelligence, and technology. Interior has nearly 4,000 full time, seasonal and tribal law enforcement officers, rangers, and investigators that make it the third largest contingent in the Federal government. The Office provides program direction and oversight on law enforcement policy, border security, drug enforcement, training, internal affairs, program compliance and inspections, oversight of the Department’s physical, personnel, and national security programs in addition to the protection of critical infrastructure such as dams and national monuments and icons, emergency deployment of Departmental law enforcement resources, and the Incident Management and Reporting System, the first cross-cutting records management system used by all Departmental law enforcement personnel to document incidents, collect crime data, and interface with other key Federal information sharing systems. The Department’s Intelligence program ensures the Secretary and senior leadership maintain situational awareness both internationally and domestically on the threats to the homeland, critical infrastructure, and other interests of the Interior Department.
Public Safety, Resource Protection, and Emergency Services Overview
The organizations under the umbrella of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Safety, Resource Protection, and Emergency Services (DAS-PRE) include the Offices of Law Enforcement and Security (OLES), Wildland Fire (OWF), Aviation Services (OAS), Emergency Management (OEM), and the Interagency Borderlands Coordinator (IBC). Although each Office has a distinct mission, their missions intertwine to ultimately achieve a common goal; ensure appropriate policies, response protocols, and safe practices are in place to keep the more than 70,000 Department employees and the American public who visit or live in the close proximity to the Department’s over 500 million acres safe. Currently, a senior advisor, four office directors, and the interagency borderlands coordinator support the DAS-PRE.
Common Threads and Issues
Common to the missions of the PRE Offices is the development and implementation of policy and the performance of bureau oversight responsibilities. This is important because, with the exception of OWF that receives a separate Congressional appropriation, the Working Capital Fund provides a fair to significant portion of the other Office budgets (from 18 percent for OLES to 92 and 95 percent, respectively for OAS and OEM). This means the very bureaus these Offices oversee are the same that provide customer service performance feedback to Department leadership and review and approve subsequent funding. This risk may warrant a review of this funding mechanism for the affected Offices.
Roles and Responsibilities of the DAS-PRE Offices
Established in October 2001, in the wake of September 11 terrorist attack, OLES was implemented “to lead the Department’s law enforcement, security, and intelligence activities by providing effective direction, oversight, guidance, and coordination.” Five organizational divisions support OLES—Law Enforcement, Security, Intelligence, Technology, and Interior Security Complex. Overall, OLES develops law enforcement, security, and intelligence policies and procedures and assists the bureaus in program development and implementation. OLES is responsible for the crime information collection, analysis, and reporting system, physical security for the Washington D.C. facilities, and the HSPD-12/PIV employee/contractor credential program. During critical incidents or national emergencies, OLES facilitates special law enforcement and security operations. OLES serves as the Department’s Principal Planner to support the Emergency Support Function #13 (ESF13), Public Safety and Security, under the National Response Framework (NRF).
The OWF and four bureaus with wildland fire programs—Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service, comprise the Department’s fire program. The Department established OWF to provide governance, policy guidance, budget oversight, and operational accountability for the program. OWF closely coordinates and fosters essential partnerships with the U.S. Forest Service and other Federal, tribal, state, and local governments and other non-governmental partners to accomplish their mission. The Department supports the ESF4, Wildland Firefighting, activities under the NRF.
The Department established OAS to, “raise the safety standards, increase the efficiency, and promote the economical operation of aircraft activities in the Department,” and the vision is, “to attain and sustain zero aircraft accidents across the Department.” OAS has four major roles and responsibilities: 1) aviation policy and program development, implementation, and oversight and compliance with the Federal aviation regulations; 2) annual delivery of safe, mission-ready, inspected aircraft, qualified pilots, training bureau personnel in support of Department missions; 3) conduct aircraft and equipment research and development efforts, and 4) represent the Department to the Federal interagency community and aviation industry/academia. OAS has the government’s leading unmanned aircraft system program.
OEM establishes/disseminates policy and coordinates the development of bureau and OEM programs for an integrated, comprehensive program, which spans the continuum of prevention, planning, response, recovery, and mitigation. The program covers all types of emergencies affecting Federal and tribal lands, facilities, infrastructure, and resources. OEM supports three divisions—Emergency Operations Division (Interior Operations Center [IOC]), Continuity Programs Division (CPD), and Preparedness and Response Division (PRD). The IOC is a 24/7/365 day sole fusion center, that integrates all-threat, all-hazard emergency management information across the Department and interagency community into a single, coherent common operating picture. The IOC is the primary point of contact for Department emergency management operations, including classified communications to Top Secret/ Special Compartmentalized Information, in support of the Secretary. CPD manages Departmental activities related to implementation of Presidential Policy Directive-40, National Continuity Policy. PRD develops policies and procedures to plan and prepare for all-hazard response and recovery activities, and for emergencies that affect Departmental and tribal lands, insular areas, and facilities.
Interagency Borderlands Coordinator (IBC)
The Department established the IBC position in response to increased border security activities initiated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as a result of increased illegal activities along the U.S./Mexico border. At the time, Congress waived much of the required environmental review process on Department-affected lands; and eventually, DHS established a mitigation fund, managed by the IBC. This funding is spent; and now, the IBC coordinates meetings with Department and bureau executives to address Arizona border issues, chairs the Radio Executive Steering Committee to improve communications for employees that work in close proximity to the Southwest border, and is a member of the Good Neighbor Environmental Board, a group established to address issues along the border. The board reports to the Council on Environmental Quality and White House every two years.