USDA FOREST SERVICE : Strategic Planning and Resource Assessment

Appendices

Appendix C. Discussion of the 2002 Organizational Structure

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service organization chart was last officially approved on June 16, 1997. Since then, the agency has been operating under informally approved organizations. The following is a justification for the changes that have taken place since June 16, 1997.

Newly Established Staffs and Positions

Establishment of the Deputy Chief for Budget and Finance

A new Forest Service Deputy Chief for Budget and Finance was created with responsibilities to serve as the agency’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Performing as a CFO, this Deputy Chief is charged with responsibilities closely mirroring those prescribed for the USDA CFO. Creating this position highlighted the importance of financial management activities within the agency and will result directly in improving Forest Service financial and performance accountability.

An organizational realignment of agency budget and fiscal activities, as well as the creation of additional staff director areas, was completed to facilitate execution of the new Deputy Chief’s duties. The agency’s historic Fiscal and Accounting Services Director staff area was organizationally realigned from reporting to the Deputy Chief for Business Operations to the Deputy Chief for Budget and Finance, with key duties reassigned to the four new Director areas, excluding the Program and Budget Staff. The Program and Budget Staff was also organizationally realigned from reporting directly to the Deputy Chief for Programs, Legislation, and Communication to the Deputy Chief for Budget and Finance. This realignment was necessary to bring the agency’s budget function under the purview of the CFO.

Establishment of the Conservation Education Staff

In 1999, the Forest Service moved the functional organization component and personnel of conservation education from the Cooperative Forestry Staff and created a new staff within State and Private Forestry (S&PF), reporting directly to the S&PF Deputy Chief. The Conservation Education Task Force Report of May 1998 indicated that in some areas of the country, conservation education programs were fragmented and disconnected and lacked consistent direction. The creation of a separate Conservation Education Staff elevated the program to a level equal to that of other S&PF staff, and provided agency emphasis, national visibility, continuity, and improved program delivery.

Establishment of the Urban and Community Forestry Staff

The Forest Service created a separate Urban and Community Forestry (U&CF) Program within the S&PF Deputy Area. This function had previously resided in the Cooperative Forestry Staff. This proposed reorganization elevated the program to a level equal to that of other staff within the S&PF Deputy Area. By elevating U&CF programs, the agency increased its ability to expand capacity, strengthen and develop new partnerships, use resources, and advance research and technology transfer. The U&CF staff is headed by a GS-15 and is composed of a total of six positions. This reorganization did not require additional resources.

Establishment of the National Fire Program Staff

The National Fire Program Staff is responsible for coordinating all aspects of the National Fire Plan (NFP) and for integrating and collaborating with Federal, State, local, and tribal governments in policy formulation and program implementation. The NFP is one of the highest priorities of the Forest Service. To focus the program at the highest levels of the agency, the National Fire Program leader reports to the Chief of the Forest Service. The day-to-day supervision is under the Deputy Chiefs for S&PF and National Forest System (NFS) so that complete integration of the program across all areas of the agency can be ensured. The organization for the National Fire Program includes two deputy coordinators and five staff, who are responsible for data collection and management, coordination with U.S. Department of the Interior NFP staff, document preparation, and briefings. The National Fire Program leader also directs the work of an inter deputy fuels management group that ensures that internal agency policies and procedures are compatible and facilitate the NFP implementation in the field.

Establishment of a Chief of Staff Position

This newly established Senior Executive Service position is located in the immediate Office of the Chief. The Chief of Staff is responsible for the overall management and oversight of the Washington Office, including budget, workforce management processes, and oversight of all management functions and processes. The Chief of Staff also provides leadership in assisting the Chief and Associate Chief in establishing priorities, determining appropriate implementation actions, and providing oversight and monitoring to ensure that actions are taken.

Merged Staffs

Merger of the Wildlife, Fish, and Rare Plants Staff and the Watershed and Air Management Staff

During FY 2000 and 2001, NFS combined these two staffs by merging them under the leadership of one staff director. The objective of this action was to improve cooperation and collaboration between the staffs and mission areas and to begin implementing recommendations set forth by the National Academy for Public Administration (NAPA). The benefits of such a merger were numerous, and included the following:

The reorganization better mirrors many existing Forest Service regional organizations.

The Washington Office director’s role changed to focus on integration, strategic issues, and program delivery.

Field staff and stakeholders now have one-stop shopping in the Washington Office for key issues (e.g., watershed and fisheries).

The new organizational structure provides greater staff capacity where no backups existed previously for critical support functions.

Merger of the Forest Management Staff and the Range Management Staff

During FY 2000 and 2001, NFS combined these two staffs by merging them under the leadership of one staff director. The objective of this action was to improve cooperation and collaboration between the staffs and mission areas and to begin implementing recommendations set forth by NAPA. The benefits of such a merger are the same as those described above for the merger oft he Wildlife, Fish, and Rare Plants Staff and the Watershed and Air Management Staff. An added benefit is that one Senior Executive Service position was moved out to the field, in line with the Administration’s and Chief’s desire to stop growth in the WO.

Change in Reporting Relationship for the Office of Communication

The Office of Communication (OC) is now located within the Programs, Legislation, and Communication Deputy Area. The Director of OC reports to the Deputy Chief for PL&C instead of to the Chief. The organizational integration of OC within the PL&C Deputy Area ensures coordination of information across a gency deputy areas and allows the Forest Service to market its programs more effectively. This change is part of an overall emphasis to get as much of the day-to-day oversight of staffs and individuals out of the Chief’s Office, so that the Chief and Associate Chief are more available to deal with the strategic issues and the critical cases that affect Forest Service overall management.

Change in Reporting Relationship for the Office of Civil Rights

The day-to-day operations of the Civil Rights Staff report informally to the Deputy Chief for Business Operations, but the formal reporting relationship remained with the Chief’s Office. The Director of Civil Rights remained a member of the National Leadership team, the Chief’s Team, and the Staff Team, but significant changes in policy, programs, and case management issues are approved by, and coordinated through, the Deputy Chief for Business Operations before being brought to the attention of the Chief’s Office. This change captured the advantages of having a direct reporting relationship to this office while also providing advantages through improved coordination activities of the Deputy Chief for Business Operations.

This reorganization did not result in any reduction in-force, yet improved the efficiency and effectiveness of program delivery. Please refer to the approved FY2002 USDA Forest Service Organization Chart, in the Management’s Discussion and Analysis section of this report.