United States cabinet

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The United States cabinet is the committee of the heads of the Congressionally established departments of executive branch of the United States government, and certain other officials designated "cabinet-rank" by the President of the United States of America. The cabinet is chaired by the President in his or her capacity as head of the executive branch. The portfolios of the other members of the cabinet are the most senior departments and agencies of the United States government.

Depending on the governing style of the President, the Cabinet may not be, and rarely is in modern government, the senior operational committee of the U.S. government. Presidents also may constitute ad hoc committees for specific situations, such as John F. Kennedy's "EXCOM (Executive Committee)" for the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In 1789 the newly created United States Congress created three cabinet departments, the United States War Department, the State Department, and the United States Treasury.[1]

Since then other departments and agencies have been created, so the current roster includes[2][3]:

Cabinet officer Responsibilities
  • Chairs the cabinet
  • Nominates the appointment of all the other cabinet officers, except the Vice President.
  • Can fire any of the other cabinet officers, except the Vice President
Vice President
Secretary of State
Secretary of the Treasury
Secretary of Defense
Attorney General
Secretary of the Interior
Secretary of Agriculture
Secretary of Commerce
Secretary of Labor
Secretary of Health & Human Services
Secretary of Housing & Development
Secretary of Transportation
Secretary of Energy
Secretary of Education
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Secretary of Homeland Security

The Constitution makes no mention of a "cabinet", although the 25th Amendment (1965) dealing with Presidential succession and disability does refer it with the phrase "the principal officers of the executive department," and some Federal statutes make similar references.

The President sometimes designates certain officials other than those listed above as having "Cabinet rank," a largely symbolic designation -- for example, the Vice-president, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the United States Trade Representative, and the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations are now, or have been in the past, "Cabinet-rank" officials. In formal protocol, the Vice President has higher status than any department head, and is coequal to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

There are legally designated groups, such as the National Security Council, that include both specified department heads, as well as certain other senior officials such as the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (appointed without Senate confirmation), the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (professional officer but confirmed by the Senate]], and the Director of Central Intelligence (appointed and confirmed; post supeceded by Director of National Intelligence).


  1. DOI history. Department of the Interior. Retrieved on 2007-11-17. mirror
  2. Ben's guide to the US Government: The President's Cabinet. United States Government Printing Office. Retrieved on 2007-11-17.
  3. U.S. Government Officials & Departments. United States Embassy, London UK (November 1, 2007). Retrieved on 2007-11-17.