Do you know your government acronyms?
In its 242-year history, the United States has not only grown as a country with an ever-growing number of agencies and departments—it’s also amassed an array of acronyms, some more memorable than others.
From POTUS to SCOTUS, FDA to FOIA, the people, offices, and agencies that form the foundation of America bring dozens of abbreviations to our nation’s vocabulary. Whether to make sense of government-speak or navigate the alphabet soup of the daily news cycle, it helps to have a general understanding of them to stay informed.
Using data from governmental websites, encyclopedias, and news sources, Stacker has gathered a list of relevant offices and agencies—with corresponding clues to test your knowledge. How many can you identify off the top of your head? Follow the clues to find out.
In 1862 Abraham Lincoln signed the act that created this agency, which had a mandate "to acquire and to diffuse … information on subjects connected with agriculture in the most general and comprehensive sense of that word."
United States Department of Agriculture
From aiding American farmers to overseeing food safety, the USDA has a broad range of responsibilities. The USDA also subsidizes the Food and Nutrition Service, the federal agency that administers food stamps. Congress is currently negotiating the 2018 farm bill, which sets a five-year budget for the department.
The largest department in the U.S. government, it includes all four branches of armed services and has a primary responsibility of defending the United States.
Department of Defense
Despite the National Security Act of 1947, which forbids a military leader from serving as the U.S. Secretary of Defense until after seven years of civilian life, President Donald Trump appointed James “Mad Dog” Mattis to the lead the Department of Defense after he had only been out of service for three and a half years. To do this, Congress had to grant a special type of waiver that had not been issued since 1950.
Created in 2002 in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, this department has the primary responsibility of ensuring that the U.S. is protected from security and safety threats, such as terrorist attacks and disasters.
Department of Homeland Security
Currently chaired by Secretary John F. Kelly, the Department of Homeland Security has more than 240,000 employees in more than 12 key offices and committees—including the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Secret Service.
This is the second largest law enforcement organization in the U.S. and is operated by the Department of Homeland Security.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement
In charge of enforcing immigration and customs law, ICE has recently come under fire for carrying out a Trump administration policy that called for separating migrant parents from their children when they attempted to cross the border.
Part of the Department of Homeland Security, this agency is a culmination of organizations with responsibilities of protecting the U.S. at its borders and ports of entries.
Customs and Border Protection
When United States Customs and Border Protection was created in 2003, it was the first time one specific agency was tasked with protecting U.S. borders. Creating it was the largest federal government reorganization in more than 50 years.2018 All rights reserved.