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United States Cabinet
A large, complex administrative structure that handles the
everyday business of an organization
Hierarchical authority
Job specialization
Formalized rules
Executive Departments
15 departments
Carry out much of the Federal Government’s work
Each department is headed by a secretary
except for the attorney general over the Department of Justice
The departments are further divided into subunits called agencies, which are further
divided into smaller units
The Cabinet
Informal advisors to the president and each is the head of an executive department
In 1789, Congress established
Secretary of state
Secretary of the treasury
Secretary of war
Attorney general
In 2012, traditionally includes Vice-President, the White House Chief of Staff, the heads of the 15
executive departments, and others
Choosing the Cabinet
President appoints heads of the 15 executive departments
Presidents rarely appoint those of opposing party
Individuals may have been involved in the presidential campaign
Other factors: professional qualifications, experience, and
geography, gender, race, etc.
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.
Current Secretary of Agriculture
Not appointed yet
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
Current Secretary of Commerce
Wilbur Ross-Ross is known as the "King of Bankruptcy” for his experience in buying
bankrupt companies, primarily in the manufacturing and steel industries, and later
selling them for a large profit after operations improve.[3]
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.
Current Secretary of Defense
Retired General James Mattis-Mattis is a retired United States Marine
Corps general who previously served as the 11th Commander of United States Central
Command and was responsible for American military operations in the Middle East,
Northeast Africa, and Central Asia, from August 11, 2010, to March 22, 2013.
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.
Current Secretary of Education
Betsy Devos-DeVos is a member of the Republican Party known for her advocacy
of school choice, school voucher programs, charter schools, and ties to the Reformed
Christian community.
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
Secretary of Energy
Rick Perry-Perry previously served as the 47th Governor of Texas from December
2000 to January 2015. A Republican, he was elected Lieutenant Governor of Texas in
1998 and assumed the governorship in December 2000 when then-governor George
W. Bush resigned to become President of the United States. Perry was the longestserving governor in Texas history.
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.
Current Secretary of Health and Human Services
Tom Price Price was the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 6th congressional district,
encompassing the northern suburbs of Atlanta from 2005 until his resignation in 2017.
Price served as chairman of the House Budget Committee
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.
Secretary of Homeland Security
Retired General John Kelly-He is a retired United States Marine Corps general and the
former commander of United States Southern Command, the Unified Combatant
Command responsible for American military operations in Central America, South
America and the Caribbean.
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.
Current Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Ben Carson- is an American neurosurgeon, author, and politician.
The 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).
Secretary of the Interior
Ryan Zinke- He formerly served as a member on the Natural Resources
Committee and the Armed Services Committee.
The 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.
Current Attorney General
Attorney General Jeff Sessions-From 1981 to 1993, he served as U.S. Attorney for the
Southern District of Alabama. Sessions was nominated in 1986 to be a judge of the U.S.
District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, but his nomination failed due to
criticism of his record on civil rights, as well as allegations that he had made racially
insensitive remarks. Sessions was elected Attorney General of Alabama in 1994.
The 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.
Current Secretary of Labor
Andrew Pudzer-s an American businessman. He is the chief executive officer of CKE
Restaurants, the parent company of Hardee's and Carl's Jr., a position he has held since
September 2000. He was previously a lawyer in private practice, where he was active in
opposing abortion.
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.
Current Secretary of State
Secretary Rex Tillerson- is an American energy executive, civil engineer, and diplomat,
serving since February 1, 2017.[2] Tillerson joined ExxonMobil in 1975 and rose to serve
as the chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of the company from 2006 to 2016.
The 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.
Current Secretary of Transportation
Elaine Chao- She served as the 24th United States Secretary of Labor under
President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009, and as Deputy Secretary of
Transportation and Director of the Peace Corps under President George H. W.
Bush.[2][3] She spent four years as the president of the United Way of America
Department of 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.
Current Secretary of Treasury
Steve Mnuchin-After he graduated from Yale University in 1985, Mnuchin worked for
investment bank Goldman Sachs for 17 years, eventually becoming its Chief
Information Officer. After he left Goldman Sachs in 2002, he worked for and founded
several hedge funds. During the financial crisis of 2007–2008, Mnuchin bought failed
residential lender IndyMac.
The 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.
Secretary of Veteran Affairs
Not appointed yet
Executive Agencies- The heads of agencies do not have
Cabinet status.
Government agencies outside the 15 executive departments
approximately 150 agencies
The work of these agencies are similar to those of the executive departments
Why are they not part of the 15 executive departments?
The agency does not fit well with any department
Protects the agency from the influence of partisan pressure
By accident
Sensitive nature of an agency’s function
Examples of Executive Agencies
From the known . . .
Peace Corps
The Civil Rights Commission
. . . to the unknown
American Battle Monuments Commission
Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee
Migratory Bird Conservation Commission