United States federal executive departments

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.

Current departments

Seal Department Formed Employees Annual budget Head
Portrait Name
and title
State July 27, 1789 69,000
13,000 Foreign Service
11,000 Civil Service
45,000 local
$90.3 billion
(2015)
Mike Pompeo
Secretary of State
Treasury September 2, 1789 86,049
(2014)
$20 billion
(2019)
Steven Mnuchin
Secretary of the Treasury
Defense September 18, 1947 2.86 million $717 billion
(2019)
Mark Esper
Secretary of Defense
Justice July 1, 1870 113,543
(2012)
$29.9 billion
(2019)
William Barr
Attorney General
Interior March 3, 1849 70,003
(2012)
$20.7 billion
(2013)
David Bernhardt
Secretary of the Interior
Agriculture May 15, 1862 105,778
(June 2007)
$155 billion
(2019)
Sonny Perdue
Secretary of Agriculture
Commerce February 14, 1903 43,880
(2011)
$9.67 billion
(2018)
Wilbur Ross
Secretary of Commerce
Labor March 4, 1913 17,450
(2014)
$12.1 billion
(2012)
Eugene Scalia
Secretary of Labor
Health and Human Services April 11, 1953 79,540
(2015)
$1,171 billion

(2019)

Alex Azar
Secretary of Health and Human Services
Housing and Urban Development September 9, 1965 8,416
(2014)
$32.6 billion
(2014)
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
(2014)
$27.9 billion
(2015)
Rick Perry
Secretary of Energy
Education October 17, 1979 3912
(2018)
$68 billion
(2016)
Betsy DeVos
Secretary of Education
Veterans Affairs 21 July 1930 377,805
(2016)
$180 billion
(2017)
Robert Wilkie
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Homeland Security November 25, 2002 229,000
(2017)
$47.7 billion
(2018)
Kevin McAleenan
Secretary of Homeland Security
(Acting)

Former departments

Seal Department Formed Abolished Superseded by Last head
Portrait Name
and title
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
Postmaster General

See also

References

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