Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today praised President Obama's intent to nominate Rhea S. Suh as Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Suh would oversee and coordinate policy decisions for the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
"Rhea's extensive experience and depth of knowledge of natural resource management make her an outstanding choice for this key position on our departmental leadership team," said Jewell. "She has guided the Department and our bureaus through increasingly austere budgets, helping find creative ways to continue to carry out our critical and diverse missions. With roots on Capitol Hill, a successful background in the private sector, and a tremendous familiarity with the issues facing the Department, Rhea is a visionary leader who will continue to be an invaluable asset as we implement the Administration's strategic vision for our wildlife and park conservation programs."
Suh currently serves as Interior's Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget (PMB) -- a position she has held since May 19, 2009. As Assistant Secretary, Suh oversees a broad portfolio of policy and administrative functions that support the Department and its workforce, including budget, law enforcement and security management, human resources, and procurement. Suh holds responsibility as the Department's Chief Financial Officer and Chief Human Capital Officer, and provides policy leadership on international affairs and initiatives on land conservation, sustainability, diversity, and youth engagement and employment.
Over the last four years, Suh has led the development and implementation of Departmental goals on a number of key initiatives, including the strategic transformation of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), one of the government's most valuable and visible conservation funding tools. The new collaborative LWCF program was successfully piloted in the formulation of the FY13 budget, and is a core element of the President's FY14 budget for conservation.
Suh has also led efforts to enhance the Department's connection to local communities, including "Youth in the Great Outdoors," which helped hire thousands of youth each year to work on natural and cultural resource conservation efforts, and engaged millions of youth about our wildlife, public lands, culture and heritage.
Before joining the Department, Suh was a program officer and manager at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, where she led an initiative to build ecological integrity and resilience in key lands and watersheds in western North America. From 1998 to 2007, Suh served as a program officer at The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Prior to that, she worked as a consultant for the National Park Service where she developed educational strategies and programs for under-served constituencies. Suh also spent time working on Capitol Hill, where she served as a senior legislative assistant on the staff of Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell.
Suh is a graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, and the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University, where she earned a Masters of Education, Administration, Planning and Social Policy. She has received both a Fulbright Fellowship and a Marshall Memorial Fellowship. Suh is a first-generation Korean-American and a native Coloradan.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Suh would replace Rachel Jacobson, who has led the office since May 2011. Jacobson will remain Principal Deputy Assisant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
"Rachel has been instrumental in leading our work on natural resource damage issues related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and has been at the forefront of the Department's negotiation of a $1 billion early restoration agreement with BP," said Jewell. "I want to thank Rachel for her willingness to help lead this important office, and for her continued public service to our nation and the Department of the Interior."