The Cabinet and Other Important Positions


Many people help the president manage the business of the executive branch.

Over the years, the size of the Cabinet has changed. George Washington's first Cabinet had just four secretaries. There was one each for the departments of (1) Foreign Affairs (now known as the Department of State), (2) the Treasury, (3) War (now known as the Department of Defense), and (4) an Attorney General.

The modern Cabinet has fifteen heads of departments, each led by an appointed member of the President's Cabinet. These cabinet members carry out the day-to-day administration of the federal government. They are joined in this by other executive agencies such as the CIA and Environmental Protection Agency, the heads of which are not part of the Cabinet, but who are under the full authority of the President. The President also appoints the heads of more than 50 independent federal commissions, such as the Federal Reserve Board or the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as federal judges, ambassadors, and other federal offices. The Executive Office of the President (EOP) consists of the immediate staff to the President, along with entities such as the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of the United States Trade Representative.