The President's Cabinet
Members of the President's Cabinet act as his official advisory group and head executive departments. The President appoints members of his cabinet and the Senate must confirm them. Here is a list of the 15 executive departments.
Department of Agriculture
- Established: 1862
- The Department of Agriculture (USDA) supervises agricultural production to make sure prices are fair for producers and consumers, helps farmers financially with subsidies and development programs, and helps food producers sell their goods overseas. The department runs food assistance and nutrition programs. The USDA's inspection and grading programs make sure food is safe to eat.
Department of Commerce
- Established: 1903
- The Department of Commerce promotes international trade, economic growth, and technological advancement. It also works to keep the United States competitive in international markets and to prevent unfair foreign trade practices. The department gathers statistics for business and government planners.
Department of Defense
- The Department of Defense (DOD) oversees everything related to the nation's military security. The department directs the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force, as well as the Joint Chiefs of Staff and several specialized combat commands. The nonmilitary responsibilities of the DOD include flood control, development of oceanographic resources, and management of oil reserves.
Department of Education
- Established: 1979
- The Department of Education took over many of the education programs previously managed by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and six other agencies. The department administers more than 150 federal education programs, including student loans, migrant worker training, vocational education, and special programs for the handicapped.
Department of Energy
- Established: Aug. 1977
- Congress created the Department of Energy (DOE) to address the country's energy problems of the 1970s. The department assumed the responsibilities of several government agencies that dealt with energy-related issues. DOE is responsible for the research and development of energy technology, energy conservation, the civilian and military use of nuclear energy, regulation of energy production and use, and the pricing and allocation of oil. The department sets standards to reduce the harmful effects of energy production.
Department of Health and Human Services
- Established: 1953
- The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is perhaps the most far-reaching of the executive departments. It administers Social Security, which provides income to retirees and the disabled, and funds Medicare, a health-insurance program for persons over 65 years of age, and Medicaid, which helps states pay for medical care for the poor. Other HHS agencies offer social services for poor families, Native Americans, children, the elderly, migrants, refugees, and the handicapped. Other agencies under HHS are: the Public Health Service, which oversees institutes dealing with mental health and substance abuse; the Centers for Disease Control, which work to control preventable and infectious diseases; the National Institutes of Health, which conduct research on cancer, AIDS, child health and aging, and other issues; and the Food and Drug Administration, which ensures the safety of the nation's food supply and tests and approves all drugs.
1. Originally Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Name changed in 1979 when Department of Education was activated.
Department of Homeland Security
- Established: 2003
- The Department of Homeland Security works to protect the country against terrorism. The department was created in response to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States. It was established in the the largest government reorganization in more than a half-century. The department includes 22 agencies and 170,000 employees. The Secret Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the Coast Guard are just a few of the agencies that come under the new department.
Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Established: 1965
- The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) promotes community development, administers fair-housing laws, and provides affordable housing and rent subsidies.
Department of the Interior
- Established: 1849
- The Department of the Interior protects the natural environment and develops the country's natural resources. Components of the department include: the National Park Service, which manages more than 300 parks, monuments, rivers, seashores, lakes, outdoor recreation areas, and historic sites; the Fish and Wildlife Service, which oversees more than 400 wildlife refuges, research centers, wildfowl production areas, and fish hatcheries; the Bureau of Land Management; which supervises economic development and environmental protection of millions of acres of public land; and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which helps Native Americans living on reservations. The Department of the Interior is also responsible for the following U.S. territories: the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, the Trust Territory of Palau, and the Freely Associated States (Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia).
Department of Justice
- Established: 1870
- The Attorney General, the chief law officer and legal counsel of the federal government, runs the Department of Justice. The department supervises U.S. district attorneys and marshals, supervises federal prisons and other penal institutions, and advises the President on petitions for paroles and pardons. The department represents the U.S. government in legal matters and gives legal advice to the President and other members of the Cabinet. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which researches violations of federal laws, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which administers immigration laws, are components of the department.
Department of Labor
- Established: 1913
- The Department of Labor protects the rights of workers, helps improve working conditions, and promotes good relations between labor and management. The Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks changes in employment, prices, and other national economic statistics.
Department of State
- Established: 1789
- The Department of State advises the President on foreign-policy issues, works to carry out the country's foreign policy, maintains relations between foreign countries and the United States, negotiates treaties and agreements with foreign nations, speaks for the United States in the United Nations and other major international organizations, and supervises embassies, missions, and consulates overseas.
Department of Transportation
- Established: 1966
- The Department of Transportation (DOT) sets the nation's transportation policy. There are nine administrations within the department whose jurisdictions include highway planning, development and construction; aviation; urban mass transit; railroads; and the safety of waterways, ports, highways, and oil and gas pipelines. The department also supervises the Coast Guard, which is responsible for search and rescue at sea and the enforcement of laws that protect oceans and waterways from oil spills and other pollution.
Department of the Treasury
- Established: 1789
- The Department of the Treasury reports to Congress and the President on the financial state of the government and the economy, regulates the interstate and foreign sale of alcohol and firearms; supervises the printing of stamps for the U.S. Postal Service; operates the Secret Service, which protects the president, the vice president, their families, and other officials; curbs counterfeiting; and operates the Customs Service, which regulates and taxes imports. The Internal Revenue Service, a branch of the Treasury, regulates tax laws and collects Federal taxes.
Department of Veterans Affairs
- Established: 1989
- The Department of Veterans Affairs replaced the Veterans Administration, an independent agency established in 1930. It provides benefits and services to veterans and their dependents. Through its agencies, the Veterans Health Administration, the Veterans Benefits Administration, and the National Cemetery System, the department offers pensions, education, rehabilitation, home loan guarantees, burial, compensation payments for disabilities or death related to military service, and a medical care program.