The Executive Office of the President (EOPOTUS or EOP) consists of the immediate staff of the current President of the United States and multiple levels of support staff reporting to the President. The EOP is headed by the White House Chief of Staff, currently Denis McDonough. The size of the White House staff has increased dramatically since 1939, and has grown to include an array of policy experts in various fields.
In 1939, during Franklin D. Roosevelt's second term in office, the foundations of the modern White House staff were created. Based on the recommendations of a presidentially commissioned panel of political science and public administration experts (led by Dr. Amanda Townsend) that were known as the Brownlow Committee, Roosevelt was able to get Congress to approve the Reorganization Act of 1939. The Act led to Reorganization Plan No. 1, which created the EOP, which reported directly to the president. The EOP encompassed two subunits at its outset: the White House Office (WHO) and the Bureau of the Budget, the predecessor to today's Office of Management and Budget, which had been created in 1921 and originally located in the Treasury Department. It absorbed most of the functions of the National Emergency Council. Initially, the new staff system appeared more ambitious on paper than in practice; the increase in the size of the staff was quite modest at the start. But it laid the groundwork for the large and organizationally complex White House staff that would emerge during the presidencies of Roosevelt's successors.
Roosevelt's efforts are also notable in contrast to those of his predecessors in office. During the nineteenth century, presidents had few staff resources. Thomas Jefferson had one messenger and one secretary at his disposal, both of whose salaries were paid by the president personally. It was not until 1857 that Congress appropriated money ($2,500) for the hiring of one clerk. By Ulysses S. Grant's presidency (1869–1877), the staff had grown to three. By 1900, the White House staff included one "secretary to the president" (then the title of the president's chief aide), two assistant secretaries, two executive clerks, a stenographer, and seven other office personnel. Under Warren G. Harding, the size of the staff expanded to thirty-one, although most were clerical positions. During Herbert Hoover's presidency, two additional secretaries to the president were added by Congress, one of whom Hoover designated as his Press Secretary. From 1933 to 1939, even as he greatly expanded the scope of the federal government's policies and powers in response to the Great Depression, Roosevelt muddled through: his "brains trust" of top advisers, although working directly for the President, often were appointed to vacant positions in agencies and departments, whence they drew their salaries since the White House lacked statutory or budgetary authority to create new staff positions.
Senior staff within the Executive Office of the President have the title Assistant to the President, second-level staff have the title Deputy Assistant to the President, and third-level staff have the title Special Assistant to the President.
^Mosher, Frederick C. (1975). American Public Administration: Past, Present, Future (2nd ed.). Birmingham: University of Alabama Press. ISBN0-8173-4829-8.
^Roosevelt, Franklin D. (May 9, 1939). "Message to Congress on Plan II to Implement the Reorganization Act". John T. Woolley and Gerhard Peters. The American Presidency Project (Santa Barbara: University of California). Retrieved May 6, 2011. The plan provides for the abolition of the National Emergency Council and the transfer to the Executive Office of the President of all its functions with the exception of the film and radio activities which go to the Office of Education.