United States Department of the Interior
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Washington, D.C. 20240
 
October 24, 2007
 
In Reply Refer To:
1211 (100) P         
 
EMS TRANSMISSION 10/25/2007
Instruction Memorandum No. 2008-015
Expires: 09/30/2009
 
To:                  All WO and Field Officials
 
From:               Director
 
Subject:            The Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Policy on Remotely-Located, Washington Office Positions            
 
Program Area:  Managing for Excellence, Headquarters Organization
 
Purpose: This Instruction Memorandum (IM) establishes the BLM’s policy on remotely-located, Washington Office positions.
 
Policy/Action: The functions of the BLM’s Washington Office include:
 
·        Providing strategic direction to the organization;
·        Developing national level policies and communicating these policies to the larger organization;
·        Preparing the national budget;
·        Developing and monitoring performance measures;
·        Coordinating with the Department of the Interior (DOI), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Legislative Branch,
·        Providing liaison to national-level non-governmental organizations; and
·        Providing program oversight, evaluation and accountability functions, including coordinating with the Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office. 
 
It is the policy of the BLM to locate Washington Office positions in Washington, DC. The primary duties of Washington Office employees require them to interact with the DOI, including the Office of the Inspector General, the OMB, the Government Accountability Office, Congress and other agency headquarters offices in Washington DC. The nature of these duties requires personal relationships, close communication, and direct contact. These relationships, communications, and contacts are most easily managed when employees are located in Washington, DC. National level policy coordination with other federal agencies is also facilitated because the headquarters of most other federal agencies is in the Washington, DC area. Also, the Washington Office headquarters staff needs to maintain contact and relationships with National level external groups. These groups are generally headquartered in Washington, DC.  
 
Since Washington Office employees can be some of the most senior technical experts in the BLM, they may, from time to time, provide operational level technical advice to State and Field Offices. This is an appropriate duty for a Washington Office employee, but should make up no more than about 25 percent of a Washington Office employee’s time.
 
The following programs have established business reasons for retaining remotely-located Washington Office positions:
 
·        The Law Enforcement Program,
·        The Wild Horse and Burro Program,
·        The Right-of-Way Project Manager Program,
·        The Information Technology Security Program, and
·        The National Radio Program.
 
Timeframe: This IM is effective immediately for prospective positions. Existing positions that do not comply with this policy will be addressed on an individual basis. The attachment to this IM provides guidance on the application of this policy to individual situations.
 
Budget Impact: No overall budget impact is expected, but some shifts in budget resources may be needed if positions are reassigned from the Washington Office to a National Center or a State Office.
 
Background: To the greatest extent possible, all operational activities will be reassigned to the Field organization and the National Operations Center and all Washington Office functions will be performed by positions located in the Washington Office. The Managing for Excellence Initiative guides the Washington Office to limit the use of remotely located positions when performing headquarters functions. 
 
The role of the Assistant Directors is to provide leadership and strategic direction to the BLM in their assigned program areas. The Assistant Directors manage the staff that performs the functions of the Washington Office in their assigned program areas. They also support the Director in the implementation of the Director’s decisions and serve as the Washington Office Leadership Team in the day-to-day operation of the Washington Office.
 
It is BLM policy to conduct operational program activities at the National Operations Center, the National Training Center, the National Interagency Fire Center and in the State, District and Field Offices. Staff members from these organizations may be involved in the development of National policy from time to time. It will remain the standard practice of the BLM to have teams of experts involved in the development of key policy documents such as regulations, manuals, and handbooks. These teams will be coordinated by a Washington Office position, but may have members from throughout the organization.
 
The following definitions of “Policy work” and “Operational Work” are provided to aid in the implementation of this IM.
 
Policy work includes the development of clear standing plans stating general principles and goals that function as a guide to action. Policy work includes writing regulations, instructions and manuals for a functional area, program or issue. It also includes interpreting existing regulations and manuals as well as defining the principles and criteria to use when applying policies to specific situations. Policy work also includes approving user requirements for computer applications and developing configuration management requirements.
 
Operational work includes the completion of specific tasks based upon the standing plans and principles stated in the policy documents. Operational work includes the application of policies to specific situations. This can include the preparation of programmatic Environmental Impact Statements, preparing land use plans, and processing applications for rights-of-way or other permits authorizing the use of public land or resources. Operational work also includes the development of specific tools that will aid in the conduct of day-to-day operational work.
 
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: Manual Sections discussing the BLM’s headquarters organization will be revised to incorporate the policies in this IM.
 
Coordination: This IM was coordinated with all of the Washington Office Assistant Directorates and with the Office of Law Enforcement and Security and the Office of the National Landscape Conservation System.
 
Contact: Phil Allard at, (202) 208-4019 or phil_allard@blm.gov.
 
Signed by:
Authenticated by:
Henri R. Bisson
Robert M. Williams
Acting, Director
Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
 
1 Attachment