United States federal executive departments

The United States federal executive departments are the principal 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.

Each department is headed by a "secretary" of their respective department, with the exception of the Department of Justice, whose head is known as the "attorney general". 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.


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