purpose of the Cabinet is to advise the President on matters relating to
the duties of their respective offices. As the President's closest and
most trusted advisors, members of the Cabinet attend weekly meetings
with the President. The Constitution does not directly mention a
"Cabinet," but the Constitutional authority for a Cabinet is
found in Article II, Section 2. The Constitution states that the
President "may require the opinion, in writing of the principle
officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating
to the duties of their respective offices." The Constitution does
not say which or how many executive departments should be created.
makes up the Cabinet?
The Cabinet traditionally includes the Vice President and the heads of
15 executive departments-the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce,
Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland
Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State,
Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs, and the Attorney
General. Cabinet-level rank has also been given to the Administrator of
the Environmental Protection Agency; the Director of the Office of
Management and Budget; the Director of the National Drug Control Policy;
the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security; and the U.S. Trade
requested by the President, other officials are asked to attend these
weekly meetings including, the President's Chief of Staff, the Director
of the Central Intelligence Agency, the Chairman of the Council of
Economic Advisors, the Counselor to the President, the Director of the
Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Administrator of the Small
Business Administration, and the U.S. Representative to the United
does one become a member of the Cabinet?
The 15 Secretaries from the executive departments are appointed by the
President, and they must be confirmed by a majority vote (51 votes) of
the Senate. They cannot be a member of Congress or hold any other
elected office. Cabinet appointments are for the duration of the
administration, but the President may dismiss any member at any time,
without approval of the Senate. In addition, they are expected to resign
when a new President takes office.
||Secretary of State
Department of State (1789):
Handles foreign affairs and relationships with other nations. It makes
recommendations on foreign policy, negotiates treaties, speaks for the
United States in the United Nations, and represents the United States at
of the Treasury
Department of the Treasury
Formulates and recommends economic, financial, tax, and fiscal
policies; serves as financial agent for the US Government; enforces
the law; and manufactures coins and currency.
||Secretary of Defense
Department of Defense
Provides the military forces needed to deter war and to protect the
security of the United States. The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast
Guard, National Guard, and Reserve Forces are part of this Department.
Department of Justice (1870):
Enforces and defends the Federal laws of the United States by preventing
and controlling crime, seeking just punishment for those guilty of
unlawful behavior; and enforcing the Nation's immigration laws.
||Secretary of the Interior
Department of the Interior
Oversees national conservation efforts and is responsible for most of
our nationally owned public lands, natural resources, and wildlife.
Department of Agriculture
Ensures a safe, affordable, nutritious, and accessible food supply;
cares for agriculture, forest, and range lands; supports the development
of rural communities; and provides economic development for farmers and
||Secretary of Commerce
Department of Commerce (1903):
Promotes economic, business, and job opportunities for all Americans. It
is responsible for all copyrights, patents, and trademarks. It also
plays a major role in Federal government matters related to oceans,
weather, and technology.
||Secretary of Labor
Department of Labor (1913):
Oversees the interests of US workers by protecting workers' wages,
health and safety employment and pension rights; promoting equal
employment opportunity; and administering job training, unemployment
insurance, and workers' compensation programs.
||Secretary of Health
& Human Services
Department of Health and Human Services
Protects the health of all Americans and provides essential human
services. The duties of the Department include conducting medical
research, preventing the outbreak of diseases, assuring the safety of
food and drugs; administering financial assistance for low income
families; protecting against child and domestic abuse; and protecting
against drug abuse.
Housing & Development
Department of Housing and Urban
Aims to create a decent, safe, and sanitary home and living environment
for every American. It is responsible for home ownership programs,
providing housing assistance for low income persons, helping the
homeless, and promoting growth and development in distressed
||Secretary of Transportation
Department of Transportation
Ensures a fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient
transportation system. This includes transportation of people and goods
by car, plane, train, and ship. It is also responsible for maintaining
the Federal highway system.
Secretary of Energy
Department of Energy (1977):
Researches and develops reliable energy systems that are friendly to the
environment, but are not too expensive. It is also responsible for the
Nation's nuclear energy and weapons technologies.
||Secretary of Education
Department of Education (1979):
Establishes guidelines and provides leadership to address American
education. It helps local communities meet the needs of their students.
It also helps individuals pay for college and prepare for employment.
||Secretary of Veterans
Department of Veterans Affairs
Acts as the principal advocate for veterans and their families ensuring
that they receive medical care, benefits, social support, and lasting
memorials recognizing their service.
Secretary of Homeland Security
Department of Homeland Security
Works to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, reduce
America's vulnerability to terrorism, and minimize the damage from
potential attacks and natural disasters.
Credit: U.S. GPO