United States Secretary of the Interior

Secretary of the Interior of the United States
Seal of the U.S. Department of the Interior
Flag of the U.S. Secretary of the Interior
Ryan Zinke

since March 1, 2017
United States Department of the Interior
Style Mr. Secretary
Member of Cabinet
Reports to The President
Seat Washington, D.C.
Appointer The President
with Senate advice and consent
Term length No fixed term
Constituting instrument 43 U.S.C. § 1451
Formation March 3, 1849 (1849-03-03)
First holder Thomas Ewing
Succession Eighth[1]
Deputy Deputy Secretary of the Interior
Salary Executive Schedule, level 1
Website www.doi.gov

The United States Secretary of the Interior is the head of the United States Department of the Interior. The Department of the Interior in the United States is responsible for the management and conservation of most federal land and natural resources; it oversees such agencies as the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Geological Survey, and the National Park Service. The Secretary also serves on and appoints the private citizens on the National Park Foundation board. The Secretary is a member of the President's Cabinet. The U.S. Department of the Interior should not be confused with the Ministries of the Interior as used in many other countries. Ministries of the Interior in these other countries correspond primarily to the Department of Homeland Security in the U.S. Cabinet and secondarily to the Department of Justice.

Because the policies and activities of the Department of the Interior and many of its agencies have a substantial impact in the Western United States,[2] the Secretary of the Interior has typically come from a western state; only two of the individuals to hold the office since 1949 have not been from a state lying west of the Mississippi River. The current Interior Secretary is Ryan Zinke, who was nominated by President Donald Trump on December 13, 2016 [3] and approved by the Senate on March 1, 2017.

Line of succession

The line of succession for the Secretary of Interior is as follows:[4]

  1. Deputy Secretary of the Interior
  2. Solicitor of the Interior
  3. Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget
  4. Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management
  5. Assistant Secretary for Water and Science
  6. Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks
  7. Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs
  8. Director, Security, Safety, and Law Enforcement, Bureau of Reclamation
  9. Central Region Director, US Geological Survey
  10. Intermountain Regional Director, National Park Service
  11. Region 6 (Mountain-Prairie Region) Director, US Fish and Wildlife Service
  12. Colorado State Director, Bureau of Land Management
  13. Regional Solicitor, Rocky Mountain Region

List of Secretaries of the Interior

Living former Secretaries of the Interior

As of September 2018, eight former Secretaries of the Interior are alive (with all Secretaries that have served since 1985 still living), the oldest being Manuel Lujan, Jr. (served 1989–1993, born 1928). The most recent to die was Cecil D. Andrus (served 1977–1981, born 1931), on August 23, 2017. The most recently serving Secretary to die was William P. Clark Jr. (served 1983–1985, born 1931), on August 10, 2013.

Name Term of office Date of birth (and age)
James G. Watt 1981–1983 January 31, 1938
Donald P. Hodel 1985–1989 May 23, 1935
Manuel Lujan, Jr. 1989–1993 May 12, 1928
Bruce E. Babbitt 1993–2001 June 27, 1938
Gale A. Norton 2001–2006 March 11, 1954
Dirk Kempthorne 2006–2009 October 29, 1951
Ken Salazar 2009–2013 March 2, 1955
Sally Jewell 2013–2017 February 21, 1956


  1. https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/3/19
  2. Salazar, Vilsack: The West's New Land Lords Archived December 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. Vogel, Kenneth; Severns, Maggie (December 13, 2016). "Trump selects Zinke as interior secretary". Politico. Washington, DC. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  4. "Chapter 3: SECRETARIAL SUCCESSION (2) - Laserfiche WebLink". elips.doi.gov. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  5. "About Secretary Jewell". U.S. Department of the Interior. Archived from the original on June 8, 2013. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Jeff Sessions
as Attorney General
Order of Precedence of the United States
as Secretary of the Interior
Succeeded by
Sonny Perdue
as Secretary of Agriculture
Current U.S. presidential line of succession
Preceded by
Attorney General
Jeff Sessions
8th in line Succeeded by
Secretary of Agriculture
Sonny Perdue
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