An Executive Comparison of FACA vs. Collaboration Efforts, WO

Both programs have a similar objective—to obtain
input from others to submit advise to the Forest
Service and OSEC. The difference?
A committee under FACA is formal, structured,
mandated and funded by the establishing law
Collaboration is not
Let’s begin by reviewing how both programs involve
the general public, non-governmental
organizations, representatives from Industry, etc.
There are different ways in which the Forest Service engages its public.
Goal: provide
• Fact Sheets
• Newsletter
• Letters
• News
• Release
• Website
Intent: To provide
Goal: obtain
Goal: ensure
issues are
Goal: partner in
each step of the
process that
leads to a
• Surveys
•Open house
• Public
• News
• Website
• Workshops
• Public
• Consensus bldg
• Facilitate
• FACA groups
• Mediation
• Negotiation
• Non-FACA
Intent: To seek input & feedback
Intent: To convene interests to
reach zone of agreement
Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA):
 FACA applies to advisory committees that are
established or utilized by a federal agency
 Specific criteria must be met for FACA to apply to a
group or committee
 Must be a committee, board, panel, group (more than
one individual).
 The purpose of the committee must be to provide
advice or recommendations.
Collaborative Efforts:
 A process where people with diverse interests
share knowledge and resources to improve
outcomes and/or enhance decisions.
 Effective collaboration incorporates, meetings that
are open to diverse groups
 Collaboration often provides the ground through
which more formal partnerships emerge.
FACA-Public Law 92-463, 1973. Establishes framework to
create, manage, operate, and terminate committees.
Establishes the Committee Management Secretariat
Government in the Sunshine Act- Public Law 94-409,
1977. Serves as the basis to close all or part of the advisory
committee meeting.
Unfunded Mandates Reforms Act-Public Law 104-4,
1995. Provides an exclusion from FACA for interactions
between Federal Officials and their State, Local, or Tribal
Department Regulation 1041-001, provides procedures
under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture.
National Fire Plan (2001). Long-term, national commitment to manage the impact of
wildland fire on communities and natural resources. It involves the collaboration of all
levels of government and nongovernmental entities to restore ecosystems and reduce
wildfire risks.
Healthy Forest Restoration Act of 2003 (HFRA). Reduces wildfire risk to communities,
municipal water supplies, and at-risk federal land. HFRA emphasizes a collaborative
process of planning, prioritizing, and implementing hazardous fuel reduction projects.
Stewardship Contracting (16 USC 2104 NOTE). Provides the FS and the BLM ten-year
authority to enter into stewardship contracts and agreements. Promotes collaborative
working relationships with local communities, improve land conditions, and help develop
sustainable rural economies.
Tribal Forest Protection Act (PL 108–278). This act establishes a process for tribes to
work collaboratively with federal agencies to perform hazardous fuel reduction and forest
health projects on federal lands adjacent to tribal lands.
Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (PL 111-11 , Sec. 4001).
Encourages the collaborative, science-based ecosystem restoration of priority forest
Committees must have a Charter approved by the
Charters must be renewed every two years
Membership must be “vetted” by the White House
Membership must be fairly balanced in terms of points
of view represented and functions to be performed
High expectation for diversity of culture and gender
Enhance communication through constructive dialogue,
debate and deliberation
Utilize positive, enforceable ground rules that reflect
collective values and principles
Promote joint problem-solving and creative solutions
Promote continuous improvements in process and
Advance social and civic responsibility
Nominations come from the field to the WO FACA
White House liaison conducts background checks
on all nominees
Vetted nominees are recommended by the Chief
and approved by the Secretary
Letters of Appointment and Certificates are mailed
to the Committee’s DFO at a later time
(Committees can meet without these letters &
No hard and fast rules but in general:
 Welcome diversity
 Build relationships among stakeholders
 Establishment of networks
Normally included within the legislation which
establishes the committee
If Agency-created committee, the funding
comes from OSEC or FS
Day-to-Day Management of funds is performed
by ASC Budget and Finance
Normal agency funding
Required to be open to the public. Meetings
notices and agendas must be published in the
Federal Register
Designated Federal Officials (DFOs) must approve
all meetings and agendas, and attend meetings
Detailed minutes of each meeting must be kept
and posted on the web
Requirements are based on local needs and social
Process and structure can differ by location, but
should be agreed upon by the group, as part of
established ground-rules.
Require focus in three areas: awareness of social
dynamics, opportunity for knowledge sharing and
careful facilitation.
Meetings must be transparent and open to all
Line Officers need to retain decision authority when
involving NFS
FACA Committees can be terminated as soon as:
Their stated objectives have been accomplished
 The committee’s work has become obsolete
 The cost of the committee’s operation is excessive in
relation to the benefits accruing to the Federal
The goal of collaboration is to build sustained
relationships over-time. Some pitfalls do exist:
A lack of skills within the community.
 A lack of willingness (Agency or partner) to come to
the table.
 Potential difficult personalities and a lack of trust.
 Limited input by engaging the “Same Old Crowd.”
 A lack of resources.
 Extended or unknown time frames—resulting in
burn-out or dragged out deliberations.
When the team is Established and Utilized by
the Agency
Established –Actually formed by the Federal
Utilized —subject to strict management and
control by the federal government, i.e., selection of
members, setting of agendas, or providing direct
When composed of wholly of full-time or permanent part-time
officers or employees of the Federal Government
When participants provide individual advice: there is no
collective advice
When there is only information exchange/gathering
When the meeting is initiated by a group to express its view
When the group is established, managed, and/or controlled by a
non-federal entity
When exempt by statute
When groups are operational committees
Operational as opposed to advisory functions
When making or implementing government decisions or policy
Created by the National Academy of Science or the National Academy of
Public Administration
Created by the CIA or Federal Reserve System
Created locally, i.e., civic groups whose primary function is rendering a
public service with respect to a federal program
State and Local groups established to advise state or local officials or
Created to meet exclusively between Federal officials and elected officers
of State, local, and Tribal governments (or their designated employees with
authority to act on their behalf) acting in their official capacity; and
Such meetings are solely for the purpose of exchanging views, information,
or advice relating to the management or implementation of Federal
programs established pursuant to federal law that explicitly or inherently,
share intergovernmental responsibilities or administration.
A collaboration effort is voluntary. Based on local
needs and objectives. Collaborative efforts do not
have formal or legal paths for exemption.
For answers related to FACA, please visit:
For answers related to collaboration,
please visit:
FACA applies if…..
the FS creates or organizes the group
the group’s agenda is tightly controlled or managed by the FS
the FS sponsors or funds the group, in whole or in part
the FS requests that the group undertakes specific tasks
the group has an organized structure, fixed membership,
and/or a specific purpose identified by the Forest Service
To be sure or for more information, contact:
WO-FACA Office (ph) 202.205-0444 or
WO-Partnership Office (ph) 202.205.8336

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