The mission of the DOI Strategic Sciences Group as stated in Secretarial Order 3318 is to:

"…provide the Department of the Interior (Department) with science-based assessments and interdisciplinary scenarios of environmental crises affecting Departmental resources; rapidly assemble trained teams of scientists to conduct such work during environmental crises; and, provide the results of this work to the Secretary and Departmental leadership to support decision making during crises."


It is at the discretion of the Secretary to identify the appropriate crises to deploy the SSG. The following are "triggering" criteria for identifying crises for which the SSG may be deployed:

  • an acute event of immediate, significant impact and of relatively defined duration,
  • an event for which the SSG can add value, using a strategic approach of scenario development to assist decisionmakers,
  • unanticipated, improbable events with multiple, synergistic or cascading environmental, economic, and social consequences, and
  • events with a potential high degree of risk or loss (social/economic/environmental).

The Secretary may direct the SSG to assist other Federal, State, local, or tribal agencies, and may direct the SSG to provide international assistance as necessary, subject to applicable authorities and availability of appropriations.


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