Major Independent Agencies

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

There are several administrative divisions of the government whose job it is to enforce and administer laws and regulations. Because provisions for these agencies were not outlined in the Constitution, they are considered independent extensions of the U.S. government. Here is a list of some of the major agencies.

  • Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
    Office of Public Affairs (20505)
    Established: 1947
    Director of Central Intelligence: John Brennan
    The CIA conducts counterintelligence activities and other functions related to foreign intelligence and national security, as directed by the President and National Security Council. The Director reports to the Director of National Intelligence.
  • U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
    624 9th St., NW (20425)
    Established: 1957
    Chair: Martin R. Castro
    The commission investigates complaints of discrimination and denial of equal protection of laws, evaluates Federal laws concerning discrimination and denial of equal protection, and issues public service messages that discourage discrimination.
  • Consumer Product Safety Commission
    4330 East-West Highway, Bethesda, Md. 20814
    Established: Oct. 27, 1972
    Chair: Inez Tenenbaum
    The CPSC aims to reduce the risk of injuries and deaths from consumer products by developing and enforcing safety standards, recalling defective products, and researching potentially hazardous products.
  • Corporation for National and Community Service
    1201 New York Ave., NW (20525)
    Established: Sept. 1993
    CEO: Wendy Spencer
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
    1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW (20460)
    Established: Dec. 2, 1970
    Administrator: Gina McCarthy
    The EPA mission is to protect human health and the natural environment—air, water, and land—by making and enforcing environmental laws.
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
    1801 L. St., NW (20507)4
    Members: 5
    Established: July 2, 1965
    Chair: Jacqueline A. Berrien
    The EEOC promotes equal opportunity in employment by enforcing federal civil-rights laws and through education and technical assistance.
  • Farm Credit Administration (FCA)
    1501 Farm Credit Dr., McLean, Va. 22102-5090
    Members: 13
    Established: March 27, 1933
    Chair: Jill Long Thompson
  • Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
    445 12th Street, SW (20554)
    Established: 1934
    Chair: Mignon Clyburn
  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
    550 17th St., NW (20429-9990)
    Established: June 16, 1933
    Chair: Martin J. Gruenberg
    The FDIC insures banks deposits so that people's money is protected if a bank fails. The FDIC also supervises 6,000 banks and financial institutions and manages bank failures to minimize complications.
  • Federal Election Commission (FEC)
    999 E St., NW (20463)
    Members: 6
    Established: 1975
    Chair: Ellen L. Weintraub
    The FEC was created to uphold the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), which regulates the financing of federal elections.
  • Federal Maritime Commission
    800 North Capitol St., NW (20573-0001)
    Members: 5
    Established: Aug. 12, 1961
    Chair: Mario Cordero
  • Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS)
    2100 K St., NW (20427)
    Established: 1947
    Director: George H. Cohen
  • Federal Reserve System (FRS), Board of Governors of
    20th St. & Constitution Ave., NW (20551)
    Members: 7
    Established: Dec. 23, 1913
    Chair: Ben Bernanke
    The Federal Reserve System, which includes 12 regional Federal reserve banks that are supervised by a Federal Reserve Board, is the central bank of the United States. Its original mission was to ensure the country's financial system remained stable. Its role has expanded and now includes regulating credit conditions and loan rates, regulating banks, and advising the government on the country's payments system.
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
    600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW (20580)
    Members: 5
    Established: Sept. 26, 1914
    Chair: Edith Ramirez
    The FTC enforces several federal antitrust and consumer-protection laws. The Commission makes sure the nation's businesses are competitive, healthy, free of unfair restrictions, and are fair to consumers.
  • General Services Administration (GSA)
    1800 F St., NW (20405)
    Established: July 1, 1949
    Administrator: Daniel M. Tangherlini
    The mission of GSA is to deliver the best value in real estate, acquisition, and technology services to government and the American people.
  • U.S. International Trade Commission
    500 E St., SW (20436)
    Members: 6
    Established: Sept. 8, 1916
    Chair: Irving Williamson
    The Commission serves the public by implementing U.S. law and contributing to the development of sound and informed U.S. trade policy.
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
    Public Communications and Inquiries Management Office, NASA Headquarters, Suite 1M32 (20546-0001)
    Established: 1958
    Administrator: Charles F. Bolden, Jr.
    NASA conducts research and develops programs in the areas of space exploration, artificial satellites, and rocketry. NASA's best known projects are the Space Shuttle, the Hubble Space Telescope, the Galileo mission to Jupiter, and the agency's aeronautics research.

  • National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
    8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, Md. 20740-6001
    Established: Oct. 19, 1984. NARA is the successor agency to the National Archives Establishment, which was created in 1934 and later incorporated into the General Services Administration as the National Archives and Records Service in 1949.
    Archivist of the U.S.: David S. Ferriero
  • National Endowment for the Arts
    1100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW (20506)
    Established: 1965
    Chair: Joan Shigekawa
    The foundation supports the arts by funding museums, artists, and arts-related programs for schools and communities.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities
    1100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW (20506)
    Established: 1965
    Chair: Carole Watson
    The foundation supports the arts by funding museums, artists, and arts-related programs for schools and communities.
  • Director of National Intelligence (DNI), Office of
    Washington, DC (20511)
    Established: Dec. 2004
    Director: James R. Clapper
    The position of Director of National Intelligence was created by Congress in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001. The National Intelligence Reform Act was passed by Congress in Dec. 2004, formally establishing the post. The director oversees the Central Intelligence Agency and 14 smaller intelligence agencies and will determine what information reaches the president. It is a cabinet-level position.
  • National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
    1099 14th St., NW (20570-0001)
    Members: 5
    Established: July 5, 1935
    Chair: Mark Gaston Pearce
    The NLRB enforces the National Labor Relations Act, which is the law that oversees relations between unions and employers in the private sector. It holds elections to determine if employees want to unionize and investigates and fixes unfair labor practices by employers and unions.
  • National Mediation Board
    1301 K St., NW, Suite 250 East (20005-7011)
    Established: June 21, 1934
    Chair: Linda Puchala
  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
    4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va. 22230
    Established: 1950
    Director: Dr. Cora Marrett
    The NSF promotes science and engineering through research and education programs.
  • National Transportation Safety Board
    490 L'Enfant Plaza, SW (20594)
    Members: 5
    Established: April 1, 1967, as an independent agency supported by the Dept. of Transportation. Ties with Dept. of Transportation officially ended in 1975.
    Chair: Deborah Hersman
    The NTSB investigates every civil aviation accident in the United States, as well as railroad, highway, and marine accidents. The board also makes safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents.
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)
    Washington, DC 20555
    Members: 5
    Established: Jan. 19, 1975
    Chair: Allison M. Macfarlane
    The NRC licenses and regulates the nonmilitary use of nuclear energy to protect the public and the environment.
  • Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
    1900 E St., NW (20415)
    Established: Jan. 1, 1979
    Director: Elaine Kaplan
    OPM works in several broad categories to recruit, retain and honor a world-class workforce for the American people.
  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
    100 F St., NE (20549)
    Members: 5
    Established: July 2, 1934
    Chair: Mary Jo White
    The SEC administers federal securities laws. These laws protect investors in securities markets and ensure that investors have access to information about publicly traded securities. The Commission also regulates firms engaged in the purchase or sale of securities, people who provide investment advice, and investment companies.
  • Selective Service System (SSS)
    National Headquarters, Arlington, Va., 22209-2425
    Established: Sept. 16, 1940
    Director: Lawrence G. Romo
    The statutory missions of Selective Service are to be prepared to provide trained and untrained personnel to the DoD in the event of a national emergency and to be prepared to implement an Alternative Service Program for registrants classified as conscientious objectors.
  • Small Business Administration (SBA)
    409 3rd St., SW (20416)
    Established: July 30, 1953
    Administrator: Jeanne A. Hulit
    The SBA provides financial, technical, and management assistance to help Americans start, run, and grow their businesses.
  • Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)
    400 West Summit Hill Drive, Knoxville, Tenn. 37902-1499
    Members of Board of Directors: 9
    Established: May 18, 1933
    Chairman: Bill Johnson
    TVA has renewed its vision to help lead the Tennessee Valley region and the nation toward a cleaner and more secure energy future, relying more on nuclear power and energy efficiency and relying less on coal.
  • U.S. Postal Service
    475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW (20260-0010)
    Established: In 1775 with the appointment of Benjamin Franklin as the first postmaster general under the Continental Congress. In 1970 became independent agency headed by 11-member board of governors.
    Postmaster General: Patrick R. Donahoe
  • Sources +