File - Mr. Crissman's Government

Introduction to the Structure and Organization of the Executive Branches
The United States Constitution created a federal government with three distinct branches--the
Legislative, Executive, and Judicial. State and local governments also separate the powers of
government among three branches.
In this unit, we will examine the structure, organization and authority of the Executive Branches.
Study the chart below. Notice the similarities between the National Executive and Maryland
Executive Branches.
National Executive Branch
The President
Vice President
President's Cabinet
Federal Departments and Agencies
Federal Bureaucracy
Maryland Executive Branch
Lieutenant Governor
Governor's Cabinet
State Departments and Agencies
State Bureaucracy
We will discuss the Federal (National) Executive Branch in this lesson. Later in this unit, we will
discuss the Maryland Executive Branch.
Activity 1 Part 1 What Offices are in the Federal Executive Branch?
Federal Executive Branch
The Executive Branch is made up of people, agencies and organizations that help the president
carry out the laws. At the national level, the president is the chief executive and head of the
executive branch. The president and vice president are elected to carry out or enforce the laws
made by Congress.
The vice president can be a key player in the executive office of the president. The vice
president is next in line for the presidency in case of death or incapacitation. The vice
president is also the President of the Senate and casts a vote when the Senate is deadlocked in
a tie.
There are 3 components to the Federal Executive Branch. These are
 the Executive Office of the President,
 the Executive Departments, and
 the independent and regulatory agencies.
The Executive Office of the President
The Executive Office of the President (EOP) is made up of individuals and agencies that directly
assist the President. It includes the National Security Counsel (NSC) and the Office of
Management and Budget (OMB). The White House Office is made up of a small group of
advisors working directly with the President on day-to-day matters. It includes the Chief of Staff
and White House Counsel. Currently, there are about 3,000 staff members in the EOP.
The Government Bureaucracy
Although the President is the head of the executive branch, he must depend on thousands of
advisors and other employees to carry out the responsibilities of the office. These people make
up the bureaucracy, the organization of government departments, agencies and offices.
The President uses the bureaucracy, the executive departments
and agencies, to help maintain order and protect the safety of our
nation. For example, the Department of Defense manages the
military forces to protect the United States. The Department of
Homeland Security was created after the September 11, 2001
attack to develop plans to protect the United States from future
terrorist attacks. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) works to
control the spread of infectious diseases such as AIDS, flu, and
tuberculosis. The Environmental Protection Agency works to
protect clean air and water for citizens.
In the past 60 years, the bureaucracy has grown from a few thousand people to over two
million people working for the government. Some people feel that the government bureaucracy
is too big and too expensive and that we could save millions of tax dollars by getting rid of
useless or outdated government agencies. Other people feel that the bureaucracy has got to
increase to handle the increase in population and continue to add more governmental services.
They believe that as our country's needs change, the federal government must be ready to
meet these needs.
Activity 1 Part 2: The Cabinet and Executive Departments
There are also elected and appointed officials who help and give advice to the
president, including the vice president and the cabinet. Members of the president's cabinet are
made up of policy advisors, including the heads of the executive departments. The executive
departments have the job to help carry out the laws of Congress. These departments do the
major work of running the government.
President Washington and his cabinet secretaries
President Reagan with his Cabinet and Staff
The heads of these departments are directly responsible to the president. The head of the
executive departments are called secretaries. A secretary, appointed by the president and
approved by the Senate, leads each department. You will learn more about the executive
departments that make up the cabinet in Part 2 of this activity.
Activity 1 Part 3: Federal Executive Departments
Now that you know about the structure of the Federal executive branch, we will look closer at
the individual departments that make up the cabinet. The chart below lists the 15 executive
departments of the cabinet.
1. Agriculture
2. Commerce
Manages national forests
Assists farmers and ranchers
Administers food stamp and
school lunch programs
Inspects food
Conducts census
Grants patents and registers
Promotes international trade
economic growth, and
technological development
 Food and Nutrition
 Food Safety and
Inspection Service
 Forest Service
 Bureau of Census
 Patent and Trade
3. Defense
Provides military forces to
deter war and protect the
nation’s security
4. Education
Administers Federal Aid to
Conducts educational research
Promotes production of
renewable energy, fossil fuels,
and nuclear energy.
Transmits and sells
hydroelectric power
Funds health care research
Conducts programs to prevent
and control disease
Enforces pure and drug laws
5. Energy
6. Health and Human Services
Joint Chiefs of Staff
Departments of the
Army, the Navy,
and the Air Force
Office of
Elementary and
Office of Energy
and Renewable
Regional Power
Food and Drug
National Institutes
of Health (NIH)
(Health and Human Services)
7. Homeland Security
Administers Medicare and
Border and transportation
Emergency preparedness and
Chemical, biological,
radiological, nuclear defense
Information analysis and
infrastructure protection
8. Housing and Urban
9. Interior
Operates public housing
Enforces Fair Housing Laws
Manages public lands, wildlife
refuges, and national parks
Operates hydroelectric power
Helps Native Americans
manage their affairs
Prosecutes those accused of
violating federal law
Provides legal advice to
Represents United States in
10. Justice
11. Labor
12. State
Enforces federal laws on
minimum wages, maximum
work hours and safe working
Operates job training programs
Administers unemployment
insurance and worker’s
compensation programs.
Advises President on foreign
Negotiates agreements with
foreign countries
Represents the United States
abroad and in international
Centers for Disease
Control (CDC)
Coast Guard
Secret Service
Bureau of
Citizenship and
Bureau of
Immigration and
Office of Fair
Housing and Equal
U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service
Bureau of Land
Bureau of Indian
National Park
U.S. Geological
Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI)
Drug Enforcement
Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco, Firearms,
and Explosives
Civil Rights Division
Bureau of Prisons
Safety and Health
Bureau of Labor
Foreign Service
Bureau of consular
Affairs (Office of
Passport Services)
13. Transportation
14. Treasury
15. Veteran’s Affairs
Administers and programs to
promote and regulate
highways, mass transit,
railroads, waterways, air
travel, and oil and gas
Produces coins and bills
Borrows money and manages
public debt
Enforces alcohol, tobacco, and
firearms laws
Collect taxes
Administers benefits, pensions,
and medical programs for
veterans of the armed forces
Oversees Military Cemeteries
Federal Highway
Federal Aviation
Internal Revenue
Service (IRS)
United States Mint
Bureau of
Engraving and
Veterans Benefits
Activity 1 Part 4: Independent and Regulatory Agencies
The executive branch also consists of many independent and regulatory agencies and
Independent and Regulatory Agencies
There are over 2000 independent and regulatory agencies in the
executive branch.
These are the ones that you must know.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
Federal Communication Commission (FCC)
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
The independent and regulatory agencies were created to set rules and enforce regulations on
businesses and industries, which affect the public welfare. Examples of these agencies and
commissions in the executive branch include the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Federal
Aviation Association (FAA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Food and Drug
Administration (FDA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The names of the major federal regulatory agencies are probably familiar to you.
In fact, the name of the agency is often a clue to its purpose.
Regulatory agencies enforce laws about health and safety, consumer protection, and
environmental protection. These agencies and their major purposes include:
Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) - Regulates
television, radio, telegraph, and telephone; grants broadcast
licenses, creates and enforces rules of behavior for broadcasting
For more information about the FCC,
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) - Regulates civil
aviation, air traffic and piloting standards, and air commerce
For more information about the FAA, visit:
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - Regulates product
warranties, unfair methods of competition in interstate
commerce, and fraud in advertising
For more information about the FTC, visit:
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - Develops and
enforces environmental standards for air, water, and toxic
For more information about the EPA, visit:
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - Regulates purity and
safety of foods, drugs, and cosmetics
For more information about the FDA, visit:
Examples of regulatory agencies and commissions that are contained within the executive
departments include the Internal Revenue Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Federal Aviation
Association (FAA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Agencies exercise a blend of legislative, executive and judicial powers, by proposing and
enacting rules, carrying them out and enforcing them. These powers are limited. Federal courts
can overturn a regulatory action if it does not follow the law the agency is supposed to enforce.
Congress can also change the law under which an agency operates.
Activity 2: Problems in Society and Government Response
Pollution of the air or water is an example of an issue to which the
government responds. Because it will benefit society as a whole, federal,
state, and/or local governments step in to help solve problems like air
This is done by creating regulations and regulatory policies. These policies
are carried out through regulatory agencies.
The United States is a mixed economy where decisions are made
by producers and consumers. A factory may make a product and in the
process pollutes the water around the factory or pollutes the air. Trees or
wildlife near the factory may die.
There are costs of this pollution to society.
For example, residents in the area
 may develop allergies due to the air pollution.
 may be annoyed by the smell from the factory.
 may dislike the extra traffic and congestion from the additional
factory workers.
The extra costs associated with the factory are the responsibility of the
government- rather than individuals.
Regulatory agencies may use tax breaks or fines to encourage businesses to
help solve problems.
The executive and legislative branches work together to pass and enforce
laws related to these problems.