[Federal Register Volume 67, Number 114 (Thursday, June 13, 2002)]
[Pages 40819-40832]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 02-15033]

[[Page 40819]]


Part V

Department of the Interior


Bureau of Indian Affairs


Trust Reform Task Force--Report; Notice

Federal Register / Vol. 67, No. 114 / Thursday, June 13, 2002 / 

[[Page 40820]]



Bureau of Indian Affairs

Trust Reform Task Force--Report

AGENCY: Bureau of Indian Affairs.

ACTION: Notice; request for comments.


SUMMARY: The Tribal Leaders/ Department of the Interior Trust Reform 
Task Force (Task Force), composed of Tribal Leaders and representatives 
of the Department of the Interior (Department), has developed a number 
of proposed alternatives to the Bureau of Indian Trust Asset Management 
(BITAM) proposed by the Department in November, 2001. The elements of 
the various proposals are not necessarily exclusive of each other and 
are designed to be flexible concepts for discussion among Tribal 
Leadership. The Task Force believes that, with sound implementation, 
the options the Task Force recommends for further consultation could 
serve as the basis for determining the appropriate organizational 
structure for the Department to make progress in fulfilling its trust 
responsibilities toward American Indians and Alaska Natives. During the 
next two months, the Department will engage in a series of regional and 
national consultation sessions with tribal leaders on these proposals. 
At the recent Task Force meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Task 
Force agreed to initiate consultation in early June, hold regional 
meetings throughout June and early July, and hold a national 
consultation meeting in Bismarck, North Dakota on June 19, 2002. Tribal 
leaders are urged to provide their comments on the proposed 
alternatives. The Task Force believes that there is a need for reform, 
and that the status quo is not acceptable. The Task Force notes that 
significant progress has been made in the spirt and success of self-
determination and self-governance policies. To date, the Task Force has 
largely focused on consideration of high-level reorganization options. 
However, the Task Force intends to address the regional and field-level 
organizational structure in full detail in the future, after receiving 
input regarding the upper-level structure. The Report the Task Force 
submitted to the Secretary of the Interior contains some illustrations 
of regional- and agency-level organizational structures, these are 
purely descriptive illustrations, they are not proposed options, which 
are included in the supplemental information section.

DATES: Comments on the Trust Reform Task Force Report are due on July 
12, 2002, and/or may be submitted personally at any of the meetings as 
identified in the listing in this Notice.

Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, at 202-208-7163.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The following paragraphs contain the Task 
Force's Report submitted to Secretary Norton on June 4, 2002, except 
for the summary information contained at the front of the Report.

I. Background

    Pursuant to treaties, statutes, executive orders, judicial 
decisions and in the course of dealing with the Indian Nations, the 
United States government has acquired a broad trust relationship with 
Indian tribes. That trust relationship obligates the Federal government 
to protect tribal self-government, to provide services to Indian 
communities, and to exercise the highest degree of fiduciary 
responsibility with tribal and Indian lands and resources.
    The Federal government has held funds in trust for American Indian 
tribes since 1820. In 1887, the enactment of the General Allotment Act 
extended the Federal government's fiduciary duties to individual 
Indians. The Allotment Act allocated parcels of reservation lands to 
Indian heads of households and opened ``surplus'' lands to non-Indian 
settlement. The allotted lands were to be held in trust by the United 
States for a designated period. Individual trust accounts were to be 
set up for each Indian with a stake in those lands.
    The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 (``IRA'') ended the allotment 
of tribal lands, provided for the return of ``surplus'' Indian lands to 
tribal ownership, and extended indefinitely the period for holding 
allotted lands in trust. Trust fund accounts primarily consist of money 
received through the sale or lease of trust lands, including such 
transactions as timber sales, agricultural fees, and oil and gas 
leases. Tribal trust accounts may also include funds awarded from 
judgments against the United States.
    More recently, reports filed by the General Accounting Office and 
Congressional committees and lawsuits filed by Indian tribes have 
pointed out serious problems with the government's long-standing 
management of funds and resources entrusted to its care.
    Congress sought to correct some of these problems through the 
American Indian Trust Fund Management Reform Act of 1994. That Act set 
out the Secretary of the Interior's responsibilities for the accounting 
and management of Indian trust funds and provided the opportunity for 
Indian tribes to directly manage their trust funds. Additionally, the 
Act established a Special Trustee for American Indian trust funds to 
prepare a comprehensive, strategic plan for management reform and to 
ensure that the reforms take place throughout the Department of the 
    The purpose of the Trust Reform Task Force as defined in the 
protocol agreement is as follows:

develop and evaluate organizational options to improve the 
integrity, efficiency, and effectiveness of the Departmental * * * 
Indian Trust Operations consistent with Indian treaty rights, Indian 
trust law, and the government-to-government relationship.

    Although the Task Force mission is to develop options for an 
organizational structure, the Task Force has engaged in discussions 
addressing the underlying problems that the reorganization must 
address. The purpose of the trust reform reorganization is to improve 
various aspects of trust responsibilities including trust accounting 
and trust resources management, while complementing and protecting 
tribal self-government and trust services, However, the Task Force only 
desires to expand its scope of work as authorized by the tribal 
leadership which they represent from their respective regions.
    The Task Force has approached the development of its options in a 
manner that affirms tribal authority over the management of tribal 
lands and natural resources. Statutes such as the Indian Reorganization 
Act, the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, and 
specific resource management statutes, such as the Indian Forest 
Resources Management Act, confirm the tribes' rights to be primary 
managers of their tribal lands and natural resources. Additionally, the 
Task Force recognizes that under Titles I and IV of the Indian Self-
Determination and Education Assistance Act, tribes have assumed trust 
management responsibilities and have a proven record of effectiveness 
in performing those functions.
    The Task Force has concluded that trust reform must be driven by 
the beneficiaries and must assure that the government-to-government 
relationship between Indian tribes and the United States is improved 
and strengthened, not diminished or weakened.
    The Task Force was formed after Tribal Leaders throughout the 
country expressed serious concerns regarding

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Secretary Norton's November 2001, establishment of a new Assistant 
Secretary position and the creation of a new agency, the Bureau of 
Indian Trust Asset Management (BITAM). The Secretary's plan reorganized 
and consolidated all Indian trust asset management functions into a new 
and separate organizational unit headed by a new Assistant Secretary, 
BITAM. This proposal provided for important additional senior 
management attention to this high-priority program to be retained 
within the Department. The Secretary believed this newly established 
Assistant Secretary would have the needed authority and responsibility 
for improved trust reform efforts and Indian trust asset management. 
However, through several public meetings, it became clear that the 
Tribal Leaders were opposed to BITAM.
    At the meeting held on December 16, 2001, in Albuquerque, New 
Mexico, Tribal Leader Tex Hall proposed the formation of a Task Force 
charged with providing concrete advice to the Department to guide its 
trust reform efforts. The purpose of the Task Force was to evaluate all 
available options and to submit to the Department one or more 
alternatives to BITAM. To further develop an improved reorganization 
plan and achieve broader consensus, Secretary Norton agreed to the 
creation of a Task Force.

II. Task Force Members

    The composition of the Tribal Membership of the Task Force was 
determined by the tribes and represents a broad cross-section of tribal 
interests. The Task Force consists of two elected tribal leaders from 
each region, with a third tribal leader, from each region, acting as an 
alternate. Tex Hall, Chairman/President of the Three Affiliated Tribes, 
and Susan Masten, Chairwoman of the Yurok Tribe serve as the Tribal Co-
chairs. Senior Department officials also serve on the Task Force, 
including Deputy Secretary Griles, and Assistant Secretary for Indian 
Affairs Neal McCaleb, who serve as the Department's Co-chairs.\1\ 
Tribal Representatives are the following:

    \1\ Other Departmental representatives to the Task Force 
included: the Associate Deputy Secretary, the Special Trustee, the 
Director of the Office of Trust Transition, the Associate Solicitor 
for Indian Affairs, the Director of Congressional and Legislative 
Affairs, the Director of Communications and the Counselor to the 
Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs.

    Alaska Region: Ed Thomas, President, Central Council of Tlingit 
Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska; Mike Williams, Aniak Village; Alternate 
Joe Williams, President, Organized Village of Saxman.
    Eastern Oklahoma Region: Bill Anoatubby, Governor, Chickasaw 
Nation; Charles O. Tillman, Jr., Principal Chief Osage Nation; 
Alternate Grace Bunner, Mekko, Thlopthlocco Tribal Town.
    Eastern Region: Keller George, President, United South and Eastern 
Tribes, Inc. (USET); Tim Martin, Executive Director, United South and 
Eastern Tribes, Inc. (USET); Alternate Peter Schultz, Vice-Chair, 
Mohegan Tribe.
    Great Plains Region: Mike Jandreau, Chairman, Lower Brule Sioux 
Tribal Council; Richard Monette, Chairman, Turtle Mountain Band of 
Chippewa Indians; Alternate Tex Hall, Chairman/President, Three 
Affiliated Tribes/NCAI.
    Midwest Region: Melanie Benjamin, Chief Executive, Mille Lacs Band 
Reservation Business Committee; Paul Ninham, Oneida Tribe of Indians of 
Wisconsin; Alternate Troy Swallow, President, Ho-Chunk Nation.
    Navajo Region: Ervin Keeswood, Navajo Council Delegation; George 
Arthur, Navajo Council Delegation; Alternate Alfred Yazzie, Navajo 
    Northwest Region: Ernie Stensgar, Chairman, Coeur d'Alene Tribe; W. 
Ron Allen, Chairman, Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe; Alternate Colleen 
Cawston, Chairperson, Colville Confederated Tribes.
    Pacific Region: Susan Masten, Chairwoman, Yurok Tribe; Rachel 
Joseph, Chairperson, Lone Pine Reservation; Alternate Mary Belardo, 
Chairperson, Torres-Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians.
    Rocky Mountain Region: Alvin Windy Boy, Chairman, Chippewa Cree 
Business Council; Ivan Posey, Chairman, Shoshone Business Committee; 
Alternate Geri Small, President, Northern Cheyenne Tribal Council.
    Southern Plains Region: Gary McAdams, President, Wichita & 
Affiliated Tribes; James Potter, Treasurer, Prairie Band Potawatomi 
Tribe of Kansas; Alternates Alonzo Chalepah, Vice Chairman, Apache 
Tribe of Oklahoma, and Russell Ellis, Treasurer, Absentee-Shawnee Tribe 
of Oklahoma.
    Southwest Region: Joe A. Garcia, San Juan Pueblo; Harry E. Early, 
Governor, Pueblo of Laguna; Alternates Clement Frost, Vice Chairman, 
Southern Ute Indian Tribe and Gregory Ortiz, Lt. Governor, Acoma 
    Western Region: Edward Manuel, Chairman, Tohono O'odham Nation; 
Alvin Moyle, Chairman, Fallon Paiute Shoshone; Alternate Dennis Smith, 
Sr., Shoshone Paiute Tribes of Duck Valley, Rose Taveapont, Vice-chair, 
Northern Ute Indian Tribe.
    To date, the Task Force has held several multi-day meetings. These 
meetings have been held in Shepherdstown, West Virginia (February 
2002); Phoenix, Arizona (March 2002); San Diego, California (April 
2002); and Minneapolis, Minnesota (May 2002). Additionally, monthly 
meetings have been scheduled for the next six months to continue the 
activities and tasks identified by the Task Force.
    From the very first joint meeting, which was held in Shepherdstown, 
the Task Force and the Department have earnestly attempted to achieve 
progress on trust reform. At the February meeting in Shepherdstown, 
presentations highlighted the scope of the Federal trust responsibility 
and the important differences from private or commercial fiduciary 
trust management. Subcommittees were created with specific goals.

III. Task Force Sub-Committees

    The Task Force established several subcommittees as follows:
    1. Protocol Sub-Committee: This subcommittee was charged with the 
development of protocols for the Task Force's activities. The Tribal 
Leaders serving on the Protocols Subcommittee were Tim Martin-Chair, 
Ervin Keeswood, Joe Williams, Ron Allen, Joe Garcia, and Rachel Joseph. 
This subcommittee developed the ground rules for the Task Force actions 
which have been followed throughout the task force process.
    2. EDS Sub-Committee: Another subcommittee was directed to examine 
the scope of work for the Electronic Data Systems' (EDS) proposal. The 
Tribal Leaders serving on this subcommittee were Tim Martin--Chair, 
Alvin Moyle, Charles Tillman, George Arthur, Geri Small, Ed Thomas, Ed 
Manuel, and Joe Garcia. This subcommittee reviewed the EDS proposal and 
is also involved in reviewing and commenting on the development of the 
Department's Strategic Plan for Trust Reform.
    3. Legislative Sub-Committee: The Task Force recognized that there 
was significant interest in trust reform legislation in the Legislative 
Branch of the Federal government. This year, both the House Committee 
on Resources and the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs have held 
hearings regarding trust reform. The Task Force also recognized the 
need to develop a consensus among the various parties--the tribes, the 
allottees, the Department and the Congress-- if any legislation is to 
be passed and effectively implemented.

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Therefore, in Phoenix, Arizona, the Task Force decided to establish the 
Legislative Subcommittee as its forum for that discussion. The members 
of the Legislative Subcommittee are Governor Anoatubby-Chair, Ervin 
Keeswood, Alvin Windy Boy, Grace Bunner, Joe Williams, and Colleen 
Cawston. The Legislative Subcommittee will continue to review options 
for trust reform legislation and work with the Task Force and Congress 
in the development of any trust reform legislation. The Chairman of 
this Subcommittee, Governor Anoatubby, has kept key Congressional Staff 
apprised of the Task Force's activities, invited staff to attend Task 
Force Meetings, and worked with key committees regarding hearings 
related to Task Force activity.
    4. Alternative Proposal Sub-Committee: Another subcommittee was 
formed to review the alternative proposals to BITAM that had been 
submitted. The Subcommittee's Tribal Leaders were, Alvin Windy Boy--
Chair, Mike Jandreau, Tim Martin, Ed Thomas, Ervin Keeswood, Ernie 
Stensgar, Ervin Carlson, Governor Anoatubby, Grace Brunner, Ron Allen, 
Alvin Moyle, Rachel Joseph and Joe Garcia.

IV. Creating a Better Alternative Than BITAM

    By the end of April, a total of twenty-nine separate alternative 
proposals (or submissions with observations) had been received. These 
alternative proposals provide a wide variety of options for 
consideration; the options ranged from the status quo to a new 
Department of Indian Affairs. The alternative proposals or comments 
were from the following:
 Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians
 Agua Caliente
 BIA Regional Directors
 Cherokee Nation (OK)
 Cheyenne River Sioux
 Chippewa Cree
 Cobell Plaintiffs Receiver
 Confederated Salish & Kootenai
 Forest J. Gerard
 Fort Peck Business Council
 Hoopa Valley
 Hualapai and Yavapai
 Intertribal Timber Council
 Lower Brule
 Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
 Native American Mutual
 Navajo Nation
 Nixon Peabody
 Northwest Region
 OST Advisory Board
 Oglala Sioux
 Raven-Pack Central
 Resolution Trust Corporation
 Salt River Pima--Maricopa Indian Community
 Bureau of Indian Trust Assets Management
 Seminole Nation of Oklahoma
 United South and Eastern Tribes (USET)
 Van Ness Feldman P.C.
 Senate Bill 2212

    The Task Force charged its Alternative Proposals Subcommittee to 
evaluate each of the proposals. Each proposal was reviewed for key 
features and relevant nuances. The proposals contain unique features 
intended to address a variety of concerns, but reflect many common 
perspectives. Most of the proposals state opposition to the BITAM 
proposal. Some proposals state a preference to place the Department's 
trust responsibilities outside of the Department. Some proposals 
address preferences for higher levels of authority within the 
Department for officials charged with handling Indian Affairs. Others 
feature organizational attributes such as the need for performance 
standards, improved computer systems, or a focus on ``breach''@ issues 
identified by the District Court in the Cobell case.
    To facilitate consultation with the broader tribal community, the 
Subcommittee chose to create several generic composite options that 
reflected the best features and major elements presented by the entire 
body of the alternative proposals. These options focus on high level 
positions responsible for providing policy direction for American 
Indian and Alaska Natives programs. Following consultation, the Task 
Force will provide the Secretary of the Interior with comments and 
analyses of the options regarding the configuration of the Bureau of 
Indian Affairs and its subordinate line management positions.
    The paragraphs that follow describe the alternative options 
identified by the Subcommittee for consideration by the Task Force. 
These descriptions also briefly describe some of the advantages and 
disadvantages associated with the selection of a particular option. 
However, the paragraphs that follow are highlights and do not fully 
reflect the totality of the discussion, study and consideration the 
Subcommittee and Task Force gave each generic option prior to 
determining whether it merited further consideration.

V. Cross-Cutting Principles

    In addition to the organizational options stated below, the Task 
Force recommended that certain cross-cutting principles be incorporated 
into any organizational option receiving further consideration. Each 
option meriting further consideration would include these principles. 
These cross-cutting principles include:
     Support for the role of Tribal self-determination/self-
governance (direct service, Title I-638, and Title IV).
     Recognition that Tribal and individual Indian interests 
are closely related.
     Creation of an independent oversight entity that would 
have responsibility for trust administration.
     Phasing out of the Office of Special Trustee.
     Regrouping of operations-related functions currently under 
control of the Special Trustee with other Bureau of Indian Affairs' 
     Departmental auditing and internal and external controls 
     A clear definition of the Department's ``fiduciary 
responsibility'' to manage Indian trust assets.

VI. Options/Advantages/Disadvantages

     Option 1(a): Create A New Department of Indian Affairs--
This alternative envisioned a new Cabinet position and organization. 
All of the American Indian and Alaska Natives related functions within 
the Department would be moved to this new organization.
     Higher profile within the Executive Branch.
     Consolidates American Indian and Alaska Natives functions 
into one Department.
     Improves coordination between American Indian and Alaska 
Native programs.
     Politically difficult to achieve.
     Executive Branch implementation would be difficult.
     Small Department, with inadequate clout.

    While this alternative has attractive features, it was determined 
there was no need for further consultation by the Task Force. This 
option was viewed as being too difficult to pursue--it would take 
substantial effort and political capital to seek ``Departmental'' 
status and the likelihood of success is not high. [See Figure 1]
     Option 1(b): Create A New Independent Agency Within The 
Executive Branch of Government--This alternative envisioned a new 
independent agency, possibly temporary, outside of the Department, that 
would be dedicated to managing all of the American Indian and Alaska 
Native-related trust functions within the Department.

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     Outside entity with line authority to make changes.
     Improved ability to foster organizational change.
     Tribal involvement may be constrained.
     Executive branch implementation would be difficult.
     Small organization with limited clout.

    While this alternative had attractive features, it was determined 
there was no need for further consultation by the Task Force for 
reasons similar to the reservations stated in 1(a). [See Figure 1]
     Option 2: Create A New Deputy Secretary for Indian 
Affairs--This alternative envisioned the creation of a new top-level 
Interior official who would be responsible for all of the Indian-
related functions within the Department.
     Raises profile of American Indian and Alaska Native 
programs within the Department.
     Makes span of control more manageable.
     Provides clear lines of authority over all trust 
     Improves coordination with other Departmental Bureaus.
     Ensures consistent policy of American Indian and Alaska 
Native Affairs.
     Inconsistent with Reorganization Act (one Deputy Secretary 
per Department).
     Difficult to obtain sufficient support.
     Recruitment & confirmation of a Deputy Secretary.

The Task Force determined this option merited further consultation. 
[See Figure 2]
     Option 3: Create An Organizational Structure With Two 
Assistant Secretaries--This alternative envisioned the creation of a 
new Assistant Secretary's position to manage portions of the 
Department's Indian trust responsibilities.
     Higher profile within the Department.
     Improved span of control.
     Improved ability to focus on key program areas.
     Too similar to the BITAM proposal
     May undermine BIA's historical trust obligations.
     May result in confused chain of command

Although this option was not patterned after the BITAM proposal, the 
similarity was sufficient for the Task Force to determine this option 
did not merit further consultation. [See Figure 3]
     Option 4: Create An Organizational Subdivision At the 
Bureau Level--This alternative envisioned the subdivision of the BIA 
into two or more subordinate organizations. The Subcommittee identified 
three logical groupings of current BIA functions--Education, Trust 
Funds and Trust Resources, and Trust Services. The functional grouping 
facilitates reasonable ``span of control'' considerations and permits 
the agency to increase management attention to key trust 
     Flexible organizational structure--contains several 
     Improves program focus and accountability.
     Ability to direct and coordinate Trust activities with 
other Bureaus of the Department of the Interior including the Fish and 
Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Minerals 
Management Service.
     May be perceived as fragmenting Indian services.
The Task Force determined this option merited further consultation. 
[See Figure 4]
     Option 5: Create A New Leadership Position of Under 
Secretary and Group BIA Functions--This option envisions the creation 
of an Under Secretary of Indian Affairs and the grouping of BIA 
functions into logical units. In large part, it is a composite option 
reflecting the key features of Option 2 and Option 4.
     New Under Secretary as single executive sponsor.
     Ability to direct and coordinate Trust activities with 
other Bureaus of the Department of the Interior including the Fish and 
Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Minerals 
Management Service.
     Under Secretary position more likely to be approved 
(versus a new Deputy Secretary position).
     Coordinates all American Indian and Alaska Native 
functions within the Department.
     High-profile position elevates American Indian and Alaska 
Native Affairs.
     Recruitment & confirmation of an Under Secretary.

The Task Force determined this option merited further consideration. 
[See Figure 5]

VII. Further Consideration of the Acceptable Options

    The Task Force recommended option 2, which would create a New 
Deputy Secretary for Indian Affairs, option 4 which would create an 
organizational subdivision at the Bureau Level, and option 5, which 
would create a new leadership position of Under Secretary and group BIA 
functions, for consultation, consideration and input from Tribal 
Leaders. The principal focus of further consultation involves the 
configuration of line management officials, from top to bottom, in each 
alternative as well as the grouping of staff support functions.

VIII. Line Management

    Most duties and responsibilities within the Department, including 
Indian Affairs, are assigned by the President, Congress, or the Courts 
to the Secretary of the Interior. The Secretary groups these functions 
into compatible groups and delegates most of them to subordinate 
Assistant Secretaries. The Assistant Secretaries further delegate most 
responsibilities to subordinate Bureau Directors. The process goes on 
to successively lower layers of the organization until the delegation 
rests with the individuals responsible for implementing program 
responsibilities. In most cases, the delegation process moves from 
high-level policy related decision making, through strategic/priority/
budget decision making, to field implementation.
    The Task Force supports the continuation of a line management 
structure that would facilitate tribal self-determination through 
direct services as well as contracting/compacting pursuant to self-
determination agreements. Within the Department, the line management 
structure for Indian Affairs involves five levels--see Figure 7 for 
further illustration. The options selected for further consideration 
include possible changes to the status quo.

IX. Changes Needed at Successive Levels of Authority

     Level 1: Secretary of the Interior--Because the Task Force 
determined there was no need for further consultation regarding the new 
Department of Indian Affairs and Independent Agency options, no changes 
have been recommended at this level. The creation of a separate Deputy 
Secretary or Under Secretary of Interior for Indian Affairs would 
elevate the visibility of Indian Affairs within the Department. These 
positions would have direct line authority over all

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aspects of Indian Affairs within the Department, including the 
coordination of trust reform efforts across all relevant agencies and 
programs, such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Option 4 would 
involve the Department making formal changes to the Departmental Manual 
to clearly designate the current (or incumbent) Deputy Secretary as the 
single accountable executive in charge of Indian Trust responsibilities 
within the Department on an ongoing basis. Currently, the Secretary has 
tasked the Deputy Secretary with these responsibilities, in addition to 
being the Chief Operating Officer for the entire Department. Option 2 
would require the creation of a separate Deputy Secretary for Indian 
Affairs position. A similar provision, sponsored by Senators Daschle 
and McCain, has been included in Senate Bill 2212. As mentioned 
earlier, this position may be difficult to obtain.
    Option 5 would not alter the duties of the Deputy Secretary, but 
would accomplish the same objective of elevating Indian Affairs with 
the creation of an Under Secretary for Indian Affairs. This new Under 
Secretary would be responsible for coordinating and directing all 
Indian Affairs programs within the Department including the various 
bureaus, and would be positioned above the Assistant Secretary for 
Indian Affairs. The Task Force recognized that the creation of a new 
Under Secretary may be more readily achievable than creating a second 
Deputy Secretary position within a cabinet agency.
     Level 2: Assistant Secretary--The Task Force determined 
there was no need for further consultation on the bifurcation of 
Indian-related functions at the Assistant Secretary level. The Task 
Force and Indian Country broadly rejected the subdivision of Indian 
trust responsibilities under two (or more) Assistant Secretaries as was 
suggested by the BITAM proposal. Therefore, all options for further 
consideration envision the continuation of just one Assistant Secretary 
for Indian Affairs.
     Level 3: Bureau Director--Currently, the Bureau Director 
level is titled Commissioner (which has been vacant) and Deputy 
Commissioner. The Task Force has discussed a number of options at this 
level of the line organization (see Figure 4 for more details). 
Depending upon the results of further consultation, the Bureau Director 
level could involve the BIA (with Office Directors), separate 
organizations with Bureau Directors or the use of Deputy Assistant 
Secretaries in lieu of Bureau Directors.
     Level 4: Regional Directors--Currently, the BIA hosts 
several line management structures for various purposes. Education 
Services has five regions. Law Enforcement also has five regions. Most 
trust programs are subdivided into twelve (12) different regions, each 
under the supervision of a Regional Director.
    Each trust program's regional office is responsible for most Bureau 
activities within a geographical area. Within the regional boundaries, 
Regional Directors are responsible for representing the BIA in its 
interaction with Tribal, State and local governments, other Federal 
agencies, and the public; and directing and assisting in the 
application and implementation of overall policies and programs by 
agency and field offices, along with a number of other coordinating 
roles. Regional offices are supported by agency offices and, in some 
cases, by discrete field offices.
     Level 5: Agency Offices--Currently, there are 
approximately eighty-five agency offices throughout the BIA. These 
offices, under the supervision of a Superintendent, represent 
geographical subdivisions within each Region. Agency offices represent 
the BIA in interactions with local tribal governing bodies, municipal 
and county governments, other Federal agencies, and with the general 
public. The Agency Superintendent, assisted by one or more specialists, 
directs and supervises the operation of programs administered by the 
BIA and monitors, supports and provides technical assistance to the 
tribal governments when an agency program is administered under a self-
determination award. Agency offices may be further supported by sub-
agency offices.
    The Task Force supports the continuation of a line-management 
structure that would facilitate direct services to tribes as well as 
activities pursuant to self-determination agreements. As Figure 4 
demonstrates, there are several approaches for providing management 
direction at the Bureau Director level. There are distinct advantages 
and disadvantages to each approach. Comments received during the 
consultation process will help the Task Force define more clearly the 
most beneficial way to organize the Bureau Director level and below. 
Following consultation, the Task Force will provide the Secretary of 
the Interior with additional comments and analysis of the options 
regarding the configuration of the BIA in its regional and agency 

X. Key Program Staff Positions

    Each layer of line management may be supported by one or more staff 
positions; these staff support positions may range from Senior 
Executive Service (SES) individuals to lower-graded positions (General 
Schedule (GS) grades 5-15) depending upon the program and location.
    Indian Education programs report directly to the Assistant 
Secretary for Indian Affairs, and the Task Force did not discuss any 
change in this reporting relationship. Other key support functions, 
currently reporting to the Deputy Commissioner, are grouped into the 
following program areas: Administration, Facilities Management and 
Construction, Tribal Services, Trust Responsibilities, Law Enforcement, 
Indian Gaming Management, Economic Development, Planning, Budget and 
Management Support, Information and Technology Support.
    Depending upon the results of the consultation process, these staff 
functions may be grouped in other ways at the Bureau level. An 
assessment of the BIA suggests that there are significant commonalities 
in the program staff offices (and functions) located in the Regional 
Offices and Agency Office levels. For example, the Bureau Level 
``Information and Technology Support'' function may have subordinate 
staff attention at the Regional and Agency organizational levels.
    Pending decisions on the Bureau level functions and higher, the 
Task Force has not yet addressed the lower-level staff organizations in 
detail. Once the higher-level organizational decisions are made, it is 
the intent of the Department to compile the detailed information needed 
to facilitate organizational realignment at these subordinate levels 
and to discuss the results with the Task Force. To the extent 
practicable, efforts will be made to streamline decision making and to 
align program functions between organizational layers. [See Figure 7 
for an illustrative example.]

XI. Evaluation Criteria

    The Task Force also discussed a set of criteria, and is planning to 
use these criteria, to evaluate various organizational options. A 
summary of the key criteria is presented below to facilitate further 
    Does the option ensure that the United States faithfully discharges 
its trust duties to tribal governments as set forth in treaties, 
statutes, Executive Orders and case law?
    Does the option support tribal self-determination and self-

[[Page 40825]]

    Does the option ensure full and continuing accountability for 
management of Indian trust assets?
    Does the option address the various costs of implementation?
    Does the option ensure that individuals responsible for Indian 
trust asset management are adequately trained?
    Does the option deal with potential conflicts of interest?
    Does the option address the key issues identified in the Cobell 
    Does the option allow for sufficient flexibility to accommodate 
tribal needs, special laws or treaties?
    This summary of the criteria is not exhaustive and does not include 
all of the questions designed to evaluate various organizational 
proposals. However, the criteria list does indicate a rigorous process 
to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the current organization 
and the potential to improve program performance through organizational 

XII. Conclusion

    This report is intended to facilitate consultation with the broader 
Indian community. The package presents several high-level options for 
organizing Indian Affairs within the Department of the Interior. Upon 
making decisions on the higher-level functional areas, the Department 
and the Task Force can proceed to make lower-level decisions at the 
Regional and Agency level of the organization. Many questions remain. 
However, it is useful to make some decisions along the way. The views 
of Indian Country are valuable to ensure well-informed organizational 
decisions are made, which will enhance the long-term success of the 
Department's trust reform efforts.

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    Dated: June 10, 2002.
Neal A. McCaleb,
Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs.
[FR Doc. 02-15033 Filed 6-11-02; 9:04 am]