The United States federal executive departments are the primary 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.
This article needs to be updated.(February 2012)
Departments are listed by their present-day name and only departments with past or present cabinet-level status are listed.
|State||1789||Current||4||Initially named "Department of Foreign Affairs"||16.39||18,900|
|War (Army)||1789||1949||n/a||In the National Security Act of 1947, the Air Force was separated and the Department of War was renamed to the Department of the Army. From 1947 to 1949, the Department of the Army, along with the Departments of the Navy and Air Force, was an executive department with non-cabinet level secretaries who reported to the civilian Secretary of Defense with cabinet rank but no department. Since 1949 the Department of the Army has been a Military Department within the Department of Defense.||n/a||n/a|
|Post Office||1792||1971||n/a||Reorganized as quasi-independent agency, United States Postal Service||n/a||n/a|
|Navy||1798||1949||n/a||In 1949, along with the Departments of the Army and the Navy, this department became a Military Department within the Department of Defense.||n/a||n/a|
|Justice||1870||Current||7||Attorney General created in 1789, but had no department until 1870||46.20||113,543|
|Interior||1849||Current||8||Took responsibility of offices previously managed by other departments, War, Treasury, and State, such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs, General Land Office, and United States Patent and Trademark Office that were seen as having little to do with their respective Departments.||90.00||71,436|
|Agriculture||1889||Current||9||Elevated to Cabinet level in 1889||134.12||109,832|
|Commerce||1903||Current||10||Originally named Commerce and Labor. In 1913, Labor was separated and the Department renamed to its current name.||15.77||43,880|
|Labor||1913||Current||11||Originally part of the Department of Commerce and Labor.||137.97||17,347|
|Defense||1947||Current||6||Created by the National Security Act of 1947. Initially named "National Military Establishment" 1947-49. Created from a merger of the Department of War and Department of the Navy.||651.16||3,000,000|
|Air Force||1947||1949||n/a||Originally part of the Department of War. From 1947 to 1949, this department, along with the Departments of the Army and Navy, was an executive department with non-cabinet level secretaries who reported to the civilian Secretary of Defense with cabinet rank but no department. Since 1949 it has been a Military Department within the Department of Defense.||n/a||n/a|
|Health and Human Services||1953||Current||12||Originally the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. In 1979, Education was separated and the Department renamed to its current name.||879.20||67,000|
|Housing and Urban Development||1965||Current||13||40.53||10,600|
|Veterans Affairs||1989||Current||17||Formerly an independent agency as the Veterans Administration||97.70||235,000|
|Homeland Security||2002||Current||18||Created by the Homeland Security Act of 2002||40.00||240,000|
|Total outlays, employees:||2,311.30Bn||4,214,652|
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