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The Cabinet

Page history last edited by tparsons 14 years, 2 months ago

Previous Section: Introduction to Bureaucracy


To begin our discussion about the United State's Federal Bureaucracy, we are going to investigate the upper realms of the Executive Branch: The Cabinet and its responsibilities.


The Cabinet 

The Cabinet was established in Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, as an advisory board to the President. The Cabinet is comprised of the Vice President, Attorney General, and the heads of fifteen different cabinet departments, in order to ensure full support on any subject the President may need help on. These cabinet departments now include: 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture 

The U.S. Department of Commerce

The U.S. Department of Defense

The U.S. Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Energy

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 

The U.S. Department of the Interior 

The U.S. Department of Justice

The U.S. Department of Labor 

The U.S. Department of State

The U.S. Department of Transportation

The U.S. Department of the Treasury

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs



Cabinet Departments


 Did you know?


Table 4.1 A: Comparison of the Department of Commerce and Department of Labor


Department of Commerce

Department of Labor


·Everything bought of sold in the United States of by the United States

·Regulating everything from foreign trade to grants to permits

·Overseeing programs that support minority businesses

·Providing statistics and analyses for government and business planners

·Administering/enforcing laws and regulations that ensure safe working conditions, minimum hourly wage, and overtime pay

·Meeting the employment needs of minorities, the disabled, and the elderly

·Providing job banks, unemployment benefits, and workplace health regulations

Mission Statement

·To foster, promote, and develop the foreign and domestic commerce of the United States.”

·“Foster and promote the welfare of the job seekers, wage earners, and retirees of the United States by improving their working conditions, advancing their opportunities for profitable employment, protecting their retirement and health care benefits, helping employers find workers, strengthening free collective bargaining, and tracking changes in employment, prices, and other national economic measurements.”

This is a comparison between two departments who seem at odds with each other. Do you think it is easy for the Department of Labor to promote job welfare within the United States, while the Department of Commerce is working to foster foreign commerce? Think about outsourcing.


Table 4.1 B: Comparison of the Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture


Department of the Interior

Department of Agriculture


·Managing the nation’s natural resources (land, water, coal, natural gas)

·Monitoring the extraction of natural resources

·Protecting and preserving the environment

·Overseeing Native American affairs


·Agricultural products

·Food stamps

·Anti-poverty programs

·Conservation and natural resource protection

·The safety of nation’s food supply

Mission Statement

·“Protect and manage the Nation's natural resources and cultural heritage; provide scientific and other information about those resources; and honor its trust responsibilities or special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated Island Communities.”

·“We provide leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management.”


This is a comparison of two departments that are working against each other. The Department of Interior is protecting the Nation’s national resources, while the Department of Agriculture is essentially working to use and manage those resources. At what point do the two departments start working toward a goal that is against the other department?


Table 4.1 C: Comparison of the Department of the State, Department of Defense, and Department of Homeland Security


Department of the State

Department of Defense

Department of Homeland Security


·The conduct of the nation’s foreign affairs and diplomatic initiatives

·Coordinating conferences with foreign leaders

·Developing and debating treaties and other agreements with foreign governments

·Protecting the safety of the citizens of the U.S. traveling abroad

·Supplying military equipment

·Administering benefits and pay to personnel

·Providing information to the public and military

·Managing military education programs

·Trying to locate missing personnel or prisoners of war

·Raising funding for funerals and medals of honor,

·Fighting wars

·Humanitarian aid


·Disaster relief,

·Homeland security

·Protecting the nation against terroristic attacks and violence

·Analyzing threats and intelligence

·Guarding the nation’s boarders and airports

·Protecting important national infrastructures,

·Coordinating the nation’s response to emergencies

Mission Statement

 ·“Advance freedom for the benefit of the American people and the international community by helping to build and sustain a more democratic, secure, and prosperous world composed of well-governed states that respond to the needs of their people, reduce widespread poverty, and act responsibly within the international system.”

·“To provide the military forces needed to deter war and to protect the security of our country.”

·“We will lead the unified national effort to secure America.” 

·“We will prevent and deter terrorist attacks and protect against and respond to threats and hazards to the Nation.”  

·“We will secure our national borders while welcoming lawful immigrants, visitors, and trade.”

This is a comparison of three departments, which, for the most part, all have related responsibilities. Take a look at the commonalities between the Department of State, Department of Defense, and the Department of homeland Security. Does it seem like three separate entities are fighting for the same power? Is in necessary to have all three departments? For instance, is it superfluous to have a Department of Homeland Security when one of the responsibilities of the Department of Defense is homeland Security?




Similar to above, here are a few videos describing the responsibilities and mission statements of some United States Cabinet Departments, in locations where these departments are effective.


Previous Section: Introduction to Bureaucracy

Comments (1)

mberry said

at 12:03 pm on Nov 12, 2009

This is just awesome! Some typos (in the tables) and I don't love the image at the bottom of the page (source seems a little suspicious too)...it seems to lack clarity without some explanation and it is NOT the whole bureaucracy but rather the agencies involved in Homeland Security (at least from the title). Also you can't see the Dept of State table ...it needs shrunk! :~)

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