Scope of the Position:

The Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior (Interior/DOI) is charged with the mission to promote and protect our nation's natural and cultural resources. In action, the position serves as a Chief Operating Officer for the Department, managing everyday operations throughout the nine bureaus and various offices. The Deputy Secretary also serves as a key leader for the implementation of several important departmental initiatives, including the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations, the land consolidation component for the Cobell Settlement, and water policy and relations throughout the Western drought season. There are 2,400 regional locations for Interior, and the Department requested a budget of slightly over $13 billion for FY 2016.

Illustrative Management Challenges:

The Department of the Interior has several management challenges, many of which the Inspector General's office has identified. Similar to HUD, Interior failed to comply with the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act (IPERA) during the 2015 fiscal year.1 According to the IG's report, DOI did not complete risk assessments for all of its programs that it had promised to complete in FY 2012. There is also the issue that DOI did not report a valid improper payment rate related to disaster-relief as required by OMB and as outlined by IPERA.2 There has also been continued concerns over the security of electronic information stored on Department laptops. There are still thousands of laptops on which confidential information is vulnerable to outside access due to the lack of pre-boot authentication, which the IG has recommended be installed on all of the Department's laptops.3 Until all laptop computers are equipped with this security protocol, the danger of unsecured sensitive information will remain a Departmental concern.


      1U.S. Department of the Interior's Compliance With the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act of 2010 in its Fiscal Year 2015 "Agency Financial  
       Report";; May 11, 2016.
      2U.S. Department of the Interior's Occupational Safety and Health Worker's Compensation Programs;; February 9, 2016.
      3Failure to Adequately Protect Sensitive Data on Thousands of U.S. Department of the Interior Laptop Computers;; December 21, 2015.

Deputy Secretaries of the Interior:

Most Deputy Secretaries of the Interior have had some experience in federal, state, or local environmental organizations or trade associations.

Current Incumbent:

Mike Connor (2014-Present): Prior to his current position, Connor's professional career consisted of serving as the Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, Counsel to the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, an employee in Interior's Solicitor's Office, and Director of the Secretary's Indian Water Rights Office. Connor received his JD from the University of Colorado Law School.

Previous Deputy Secretaries:

David J. Hayes (2009-2013): Hayes is currently serving as a Distinguished Visiting Lecturer in Law at Stanford University Law School, and also a consulting professor at Stanford's Woods Institute for the Environment. His past positions have consisted of serving as the leaders of President Obama's Transition Team, Counselor to former Interior Seurity Bruce Babbitt, and Partner with the international law firm Latham and Watkins. He received a JD from Stanford University's Law School.

Lynn Scarlett (2005-2009): Scarlett is currently serving as the Global Managing Director for Public Policy with The Nature Conservancy. She has served on the advisory boards of multiple environmental organizations, and she is an author or co-author of multiple publications on climate change and other environmental issues.

James Steven Griles (2001-2004): Prior to his appointment as Deputy Secretary, Griles served as a Principal with National Environmental Strategies, Inc. (NES), a public affairs group that provided advice to companies and trade associations regarding environmental and energy issues. Prior to joining NES, Griles worked at the United Company as Senior Vice President for Public, Environmental, and Marketing Activities. He received his bachelor's degree from University of Richmond.

John Garamendi (1995-1998): Garamendi is currently a U.S. Representative for California, and he is on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. Garamendi's past positions have consisted of serving as a California State Legislator, California's Insurance Commissioner, California's Lieutenant Governor, and Regent of the University of California and California State University school systems.

Additional Resources: