The United States federal executive departments are the principal units of the executive branch of the federal government of the United States. They are analogous to ministries common in parliamentary or semi-presidential systems but (the United States being a presidential system) they are led by a head of government who is also the head of state. The executive departments are the administrative arms of the President of the United States. There are currently 15 executive departments.
The heads of the executive departments receive the title of Secretary of their respective department, except for the Attorney-General who is head of the Justice Department (and the Postmaster General who until 1971 was head of the Post Office Department). The heads of the executive departments are appointed by the President and take office after confirmation by the United States Senate, and serve at the pleasure of the President. The heads of departments are members of the Cabinet of the United States, an executive organ that normally acts as an advisory body to the President. In the Opinion Clause (Article II, section 2, clause 1) of the U.S. Constitution, heads of executive departments are referred to as "principal Officer in each of the executive Departments".
The heads of executive departments are included in the line of succession to the President, in the event of a vacancy in the presidency, after the Vice President, the Speaker of the House and the President pro tempore of the Senate.
|State||July 27, 1789||69,000|
13,000 Foreign Service
11,000 Civil Service
| Mike Pompeo |
Secretary of State
|Treasury||September 2, 1789||86,049|
| Steven Mnuchin |
Secretary of the Treasury
|Defense||September 18, 1947||2.86 million||$717 billion|
| Mark Esper |
Secretary of Defense
|Justice||July 1, 1870||113,543|
| William Barr |
|Interior||March 3, 1849||70,003|
| David Bernhardt |
Secretary of the Interior
|Agriculture||May 15, 1862||105,778|
| Sonny Perdue |
Secretary of Agriculture
|Commerce||February 14, 1903||43,880|
| Wilbur Ross |
Secretary of Commerce
|Labor||March 4, 1913||17,450|
| Eugene Scalia |
Secretary of Labor
|Health and Human Services||April 11, 1953||79,540|
|$1,171 billion |
| Alex Azar |
Secretary of Health and Human Services
|Housing and Urban Development||September 9, 1965||8,416|
| Ben Carson |
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
|Transportation||April 1, 1967||58,622||$72.4 billion|| Elaine Chao |
Secretary of Transportation
|Energy||August 4, 1977||12,944|
| Rick Perry |
Secretary of Energy
|Education||October 17, 1979||3912|
| Betsy DeVos |
Secretary of Education
|Veterans Affairs||21 July 1930||377,805|
| Robert Wilkie |
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
|Homeland Security||November 25, 2002||229,000|
| Kevin McAleenan |
Secretary of Homeland Security
|Seal||Department||Formed||Abolished||Superseded by||Last head|
|War||August 7, 1789||September 18, 1947|| Department of the Army |
Department of the Air Force
| Kenneth C. Royall |
Secretary of War
|Army||September 18, 1947||August 10, 1949|| Department of Defense |
(as executive department)
becomes military department
| Gordon Gray |
Secretary of the Army
|Air Force|| W. Stuart Symington |
Secretary of the Air Force
|Navy||April 30, 1798|| Francis P. Matthews |
Secretary of the Navy
|Post Office||February 20, 1792||July 1, 1971||Postal Service|| Winton M. Blount |
Article Two of the United States Constitution establishes the executive branch of the federal government, which carries out and enforces federal laws. Article Two vests the power of the executive branch in the office of the president of the United States, lays out the procedures for electing and removing the president, and establishes the president's powers and responsibilities.
The Cabinet of the United States is part of the executive branch of the federal government of the United States. The members of the Cabinet are the vice president and the secretary of state and other heads of the federal executive departments, all of whom — if eligible — are in the presidential line of succession.
The secretary of state is a senior official of the federal government of the United States of America, and as head of the United States Department of State, is principally concerned with foreign policy and is considered to be the U.S. government's minister of foreign affairs.
The secretary of the treasury is the head of the United States Department of the Treasury which is concerned with all financial and monetary matters relating to the federal government, and, until 2003, also included several major federal law enforcement agencies. This position in the federal government of the United States is analogous to the minister of finance in many other countries. The secretary of the treasury is a member of the president's Cabinet, and is nominated by the president of the United States. Nominees for secretary of the treasury undergo a confirmation hearing before the United States Senate Committee on Finance before being voted on by the United States Senate.
The United States Attorney General (A.G.) is the head of the United States Department of Justice, a member of the Cabinet of the United States; as directed by the President of the United States, and the chief lawyer of the federal government of the United States.
The Executive Office of the President of the United States (EOP) is a group of agencies at the center of the executive branch of the United States federal government. The EOP supports the work of the president. It consists of several offices and agencies, such as the White House Office, the National Security Council, and the Office of Management and Budget. Some of these play a very important role in the implementation and regulation of public policy.
The postmaster general of the United States is the chief executive officer of the United States Postal Service. Megan Brennan is the current postmaster general.
The United States presidential line of succession is the order in which officials of the United States federal government assume the powers and duties of the office of president of the United States if the incumbent president becomes incapacitated, dies, resigns, or is removed from office. Presidential succession is referred to multiple times in the U.S. Constitution – Article II, Section 1, Clause 6, as well as the 12th Amendment, 20th Amendment, and 25th Amendment. The vice president of the United States is designated as first in the presidential line of succession by the Article II succession clause, which also authorizes Congress to provide for a line of succession beyond the Vice President; it has done so on three occasions. The current Presidential Succession Act was adopted in 1947, and last revised in 2006.
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the United States, a federal republic in North America, composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories and several island possessions. The federal government is composed of three distinct branches: legislative, executive and judicial, whose powers are vested by the U.S. Constitution in the Congress, the president and the federal courts, respectively. The powers and duties of these branches are further defined by acts of Congress, including the creation of executive departments and courts inferior to the Supreme Court.
A presidency is an administration or the executive, the collective administrative and governmental entity that exists around an office of president of a state or nation. Although often the executive branch of government, and often personified by a single elected person who holds the office of "president," in practice, the presidency includes a much larger collective of people, such as chiefs of staff, advisers and other bureaucrats. Although often led by a single person, presidencies can also be of a collective nature, such as the presidency of the European Union is held on a rotating basis by the various national governments of the member states. Alternatively, the term presidency can also be applied to the governing authority of some churches, and may even refer to the holder of a non-governmental office of president in a corporation, business, charity, university, etc. or the institutional arrangement around them. For example, "the presidency of the Red Cross refused to support his idea." Rules and support to discourage vicarious liability leading to unnecessary pressure and the early termination of term have not been clarified. These may not be as yet supported by state let initiatives. Contributory liability and fraud may be the two most common ways to become removed from term of office and/or to prevent re-election
An acting president of the United States is an individual who legitimately exercises the powers and duties of the president of the United States even though that person does not hold the office in their own right. There is an established order in which officials of the United States federal government may be called upon to take on presidential responsibilities if the incumbent president becomes incapacitated, dies, resigns, is removed from office during their four-year term of office; or if a president-elect has not been chosen before Inauguration Day or has failed to qualify by that date.
The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency is the head of the United States federal government's Environmental Protection Agency, and is thus responsible for enforcing the nation's Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, as well as numerous other environmental statutes. The Administrator is nominated by the President of the United States and must be confirmed by a vote of the Senate. The office of Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1970 in legislation that created the agency.
The Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) is an office in the United States Department of Justice that assists the Attorney General's position as legal adviser to the President and all executive branch agencies.
The unitary executive theory is a theory of US constitutional law holding that the US president possesses the power to control the entire executive branch. The doctrine is rooted in Article Two of the United States Constitution, which vests "the executive power" of the United States in the President. Although that general principle is widely accepted, there is disagreement about the strength and scope of the doctrine. It can be said that some favor a "strongly unitary" executive, while others favor a "weakly unitary" executive. The former group argue, for example, that Congress's power to interfere with intra-executive decision-making is limited, and that the President can control policy-making by all executive agencies within the limits set for those agencies by Congress. Still others agree that the Constitution requires a unitary executive, but believe this to be harmful, and propose its abolition by constitutional amendment.
The Appointments Clause is part of Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution, which empowers the President of the United States to nominate and, with the advice and consent (confirmation) of the United States Senate, appoint public officials. Although the Senate must confirm certain principal officers, Congress may by law delegate the Senate's advice and consent role when it comes to "inferior" officers.
The Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 is a United States federal statute that establishes the procedure for filling a vacancy in an appointed officer of an executive agency of the government during the time before a permanent replacement is appointed.
A cabinet is a body of high-ranking state officials, typically consisting of the top leaders of the executive branch. Members of a cabinet are usually called cabinet ministers or secretaries. The function of a cabinet varies: in some countries it is a collegiate decision-making body with collective responsibility, while in others it may function either as a purely advisory body or an assisting institution to a decision making head of state or head of government. Cabinets are typically the body responsible for the day-to-day management of the government and response to sudden events, whereas the legislative and judicial branches work in a measured pace, in sessions according to lengthy procedures.
According to the United States Office of Government Ethics, a political appointee is "any employee who is appointed by the President, the Vice President, or agency head". As of 2016, there are around 4,000 political appointment positions which an incoming administration needs to review, and fill or confirm, of which about 1,200 require Senate confirmation.
A cabinet department or prime minister's department is a department or other government agency that directly supports the work of the government's central executive office, usually the cabinet and/or prime minister, rather than specific ministerial portfolios. Such a department is present in many parliamentary democracies. The department is roughly equivalent in function to a president's office in a presidential system of government or an office of the council of ministers in a semi-presidential system.
An officer of the United States is a functionary of the executive or judicial branches of the federal government of the United States to whom is delegated some part of the country's sovereign power. The term "officer of the United States" is not a title, but a term of classification for a certain type of official.