BRS Programs and Functions
Office of the Deputy Administrator
The Office of the Deputy Administrator (ODA) provides leadership and direction for biotechnology regulatory activities in APHIS, overseeing each program within BRS. Our ODA office includes four support service groups: Communications, Intergovernmental Operations, Policy, Program, and International Collaboration, and Resource Management Services.
The Communications group develops and coordinates BRS communication strategies and outreach efforts, manages the BRS website, supports strategic and operational planning, manages BRS response to Freedom of Information Act requests, and collaborates across APHIS to take the lead in providing guidance on administrative procedures relevant to document control, records management, Confidential Business Information, and the FOIA and Privacy Acts as they effect biotechnology regulations.
- Intergovernmental Operations
The Intergovernmental Operations group serves as a primary contact with relevant federal, state and tribal government officials and national organizations, and provides guidance and direction in the development and coordination of domestic policy strategy and program activity functions, technical expertise and training about biotechnology domestically, and technical expertise and administrative coordination on cross-cutting activities.
- Policy, Program, and International Collaboration
The Policy, Program, and International Collaboration (PPIC) group conducts legal and policy analysis; guides policy development; manages a compliance assistance program; and assists program units to implement quality management principle and practices. PPIC is the point of contact for BRS international issues, training, and program activities. The group collaborates within APHIS and across the U.S. government to support and enhance plant health protection and trade missions.
- Resource Management Services
Resource Management Services (RMS) is responsible for all administrative functions as they pertain to human, physical capital, and resource management; financial management;and data management. RMS staff further provide guidance and support on travel, training, and employee development.
Biotechnology Risk Analysis Programs
The Biotechnology Risk Analysis Programs (BRAP) include the Plants Branch and the Plant Pests and Protectants Branch. Together, these branches address potential plant pest risk and environmental impacts of certain genetically engineered organisms on the human environment by conducting risk assessments and environmental assessments of these products. BRAP has experts in scientific fields (e.g., plant pathology, botany, animal science, entomology, virology, ecology, environmental science, molecular biology, plant breeding, weed ecology, and biochemistry) who review permit and notifications applications, petitions for deregulation, Am I Regulated (AIR) inquiries, potential permit infractions, and proposed regulatory changes. BRAP experts also answer stakeholder queries regarding the USDA biotechnology regulations.
Regulatory Operations Programs
The Regulatory Operations Programs includes three branches, the Eastern Compliance Assurance Branch, the Western Compliance Assurance Branch, and the Compliance Evaluation and Enforcement Branch. Collectively, these branches direct compliance inspections; respond to noncompliance incidents; and oversee reports submitted by regulated entities associated with notifications and permits, which can include planting reports and field test reports, among others.