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Your guide to the Cabinet of the United States

  • Your guide to the Cabinet of the United States
    1/ OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP // Getty Images

    Your guide to the Cabinet of the United States

    Each U.S. president has closely relied on a group of trusted advisers, known as the Cabinet, to provide advice and inform policy decisions. While George Washington’s Cabinet only consisted of four people—his secretary of the treasury, secretary of state, secretary of war, and attorney general—President Donald Trump’s Cabinet currently has 24 positions. The Department of the Navy, which is now called the Department of Defense, was the first Cabinet-level department to be added to the ranks in 1798.

    The four original Cabinet positions—the secretary of the treasury, secretary of state, secretary of defense, and attorney general—remain the most important Cabinet positions, and are often referred to collectively as the “inner cabinet.”

    The modern-day Cabinet core is made up of the vice president and the heads of 15 executive branch departments. The department heads must be confirmed by the United States Senate, but the president also has the authority to name other high-ranking officials, such as the White House chief of staff and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. President Trump decided to demote the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors from his Cabinet when he took office.

    Stacker’s guide to the current United States Cabinet includes all Cabinet positions in the Trump administration. Read on to learn more about the people the president trusts to provide technical proficiency and expert advice.

    ALSO: Who you should know in your local government

  • #1. Vice president
    2/ White House Photo by Andrea Hanks

    #1. Vice president

    Current official: Michael R. Pence

    The vice president is selected as a running mate during a candidate’s presidential campaign and is first in line to assume the presidency if the president were to die, resign, or be temporarily incapacitated while in office. The vice president also serves as the president of the United States Senate, with the power to cast a tie-breaking vote in the rare instance the Senate cannot reach a consensus.


  • #2. Secretary of agriculture
    3/ U.S. Dept. of Agriculture // Flickr

    #2. Secretary of agriculture

    Current official: Sonny Perdue

    The secretary of agriculture supervises the farming industry, oversees food quality, and offers food assistance. The department also promotes agriculture production and resource conservation. There are 29 agencies and nearly 100,000 employees within the Department of Agriculture.


  • #3. U.S. attorney general
    4/ Tia Dufour // USDOJ

    #3. U.S. attorney general

    Current official: William Barr

    The U.S. attorney general oversees the Department of Justice, which enforces and defends the law. The department consists of 40 organizations, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the U.S. Marshals. The current attorney general, William Barr, took office on Feb. 14, 2019. Barr was selected by President Trump following the resignation of Jeff Sessions, Trump’s first pick for attorney general. This is Barr’s second stint as attorney general having first led the Justice Department under President George H.W. Bush.


  • #4. Secretary of commerce
    5/ U.S. Embassy Bangkok // Flickr

    #4. Secretary of commerce

    Current official: Wilbur L. Ross, Jr.

    The Department of Commerce promotes economic development by gathering economic data, issuing patents and trademarks, promoting exports, and creating telecommunications policies. The secretary of commerce oversees about 38,000 department employees, and works with a $6.5 billion budget.


  • #5. Secretary of defense

    #5. Secretary of defense

    Current official: Patrick M. Shanahan (acting)

    The secretary of defense oversees the Department of Defense, responsible for the nation’s military forces. The department is headquartered in the Pentagon, one of the largest office buildings in the world. The secretary of defense oversees a $716 billion budget, and is considered America’s largest employer, with nearly 3 million employees, including more than 2 million service members.


  • #6. Secretary of education
    7/ Michael Vadon // Flickr

    #6. Secretary of education

    Current official: Elizabeth "Betsy" DeVos 

    The Department of Education administers federal financial aid, collects data on schools, and works in tandem with state and local governments. The secretary of education is responsible for 4,200 employees, and a $68.6 billion budget.


  • #7. Secretary of energy
    8/ Michael Vadon // Flickr

    #7. Secretary of energy

    Current official: James Richard "Rick" Perry

    The secretary of energy oversees the U.S. energy supply, and maintains a safe nuclear deterrent. The department is also responsible for ongoing environmental clean-up from Cold War-era nuclear missions. Current Secretary of Energy Rick Perry is only the 14th individual to serve in this role, as the department was started in 1977.


  • #8. Secretary of health and human services
    9/ NIH Image Galkery // Flickr

    #8. Secretary of health and human services

    Current official: Alex Azar

    The secretary of health and human services administers Medicare and Medicaid, and oversees the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control. This individual is responsible for 65,000 employees. President Trump’s first secretary of the department—Tom Price—resigned in September 2017 following criticism over taxpayer-funded chartered flights.


  • #9. Secretary of homeland security
    10/ U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security

    #9. Secretary of homeland security

    Current official: Kevin McAleenan (acting)

    The secretary of homeland security is tasked with protecting U.S. citizens from terrorist threats as well as promoting emergency preparedness. The department was established after the 9/11 attacks, combining 22 executive agencies, including the Coast Guard, Secret Service, Transportation Security Administration, and U.S. Customs Service. Former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen abruptly resigned April 7 amid rumors of pressure from the White House and the ongoing debate over the U.S.-Mexico border.


  • #10. Secretary of housing and urban development
    11/ Gage Skidmore // Wikimedia Commons

    #10. Secretary of housing and urban development

    Current official: Benjamin S. Carson, Sr.

    The secretary of housing and urban development implements fair housing laws, develops affordable housing programs, and provides access to mortgage insurance. The department helps support low-income families through numerous programs. Secretary Carson oversees 9,000 employees, and a $40 billion budget.


  • #11. Secretary of the interior
    12/ Tami Heilemann // U.S. Dept. of the Interior

    #11. Secretary of the interior

    Current official: David Bernhardt (acting)

    The secretary of the interior manages 500 million acres of land across the U.S., and serves as the director of the country’s conservation agency, overseeing recreational opportunities, and working to protect fish and wildlife. Former Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt is currently serving as the acting Secretary of the Interior.


  • #12. Secretary of labor
    13/ Gage Skidmore // Flickr

    #12. Secretary of labor

    Current official: Alexander Acosta

    The secretary of labor protects the American workforce, and guards the welfare of job-seekers, wage-earners, and retirees. The Department of Labor also works to improve working conditions, strengthen collective borrowing, and ensure job benefits. The secretary of the department oversees 15,000 employees, and operates on a $50 billion budget.


  • #13. Secretary of state
    14/ Gage Skidmore // Flickr

    #13. Secretary of state

    Current official: Mike Pompeo

    The secretary of state oversees the Department of State, which leads the country’s foreign policy and diplomacy efforts. This individual carries out the administration’s policies through the Foreign Service, Civil Service, and U.S. Agency for International Development. The secretary of state also serves as the president’s top foreign policy adviser. Rex Tillerson served as President Trump’s secretary of state until his resignation in December 2017. Mike Pompeo was sworn into the role in April.


  • #14. Secretary of transportation
    15/ Hudson Institute // Flickr

    #14. Secretary of transportation

    Current official: Elaine L. Chao

    The Department of Transportation maintains the country’s transit system. The secretary of transportation oversees the the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, and the Maritime Administration. As secretary, Elaine Chao oversees 55,000 employees and operates on a budget of $70 billion.


  • #15. Secretary of the treasury
    16/ U.S. Dept. of State

    #15. Secretary of the treasury

    Current official: Steven T. Mnuchin

    The treasury secretary works to sustain a strong economy, and protects the integrity of the U.S. financial system. The secretary of the department frequently advises the president on economic issues, and operates numerous components of the country’s financial infrastructure. This includes producing currency, collecting revenue and taxes, and borrowing money to fund the government. As secretary, Steven Mnuchin also supervises national banks, and investigates cases of tax evasion, counterfeit, and forgery.


  • #16. Secretary of veterans affairs
    17/ Dallas Johnson // Wikimedia Commons

    #16. Secretary of veterans affairs

    Current official: Robert Wilkie

    The secretary of veterans affairs administers and maintains benefit programs for veterans and their families, including pension, education, home loans, life insurance, medical care, and rehabilitation. The department received Cabinet-level offices in 1989. In March, President Trump fired David Shulkin, his secretary of veterans affairs. Robert Wilkie, the current secretary, was sworn into the role in July.


  • #17. Administrator of the Small Business Administration
    18/ Gage Skidmore // Wikimedia Commons

    #17. Administrator of the Small Business Administration

    Current official: Linda E. McMahon

    The administrator of the Small Business Administration fosters small business growth and development by providing business financing, entrepreneurial development, and government contracting opportunities. The administrator is charged with managing the agency and upholding its programs. This position was elevated to a Cabinet-level role under President Barack Obama.


  • #18. Director of national intelligence
    19/ Office of the DNI // Wikimedia Commons

    #18. Director of national intelligence

    Current official: Daniel Coats

    The Office of the Director of National Intelligence defends U.S. interests by combining foreign, military, and domestic intelligence. The director of national intelligence oversees the U.S. intelligence community, and serves as the principal national security adviser to the president, National Security Council, and Homeland Security Council.


  • #19. Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
    20/ Chip Somodevilla // Getty Images

    #19. Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

    Current official: Gina Haspel

    The director of the Central Intelligence Agency oversees the collection and evaluation of intelligence, provides direction for the collection of intelligence, and ensures the effective use of resources. Current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo served as the director of the CIA at the beginning of President Trump’s term, but was nominated to take over after Rex Tillerson’s departure.


  • #20. Director of the Office of Management and Budget
    21/ Pixabay

    #20. Director of the Office of Management and Budget

    Current official: Russell T. Vought (acting)

    The director of the Office of Management and Budget helps the president implement policy and is responsible for budget, management, and regulatory objectives. Mick Mulvaney held the position until he became President Trump’s acting chief of staff in January of 2019. Former Deputy Director Russ Vought is the current acting director.   


  • #21. Representative of the United States to the United Nations
    22/ Mark Wilson/Getty Images

    #21. Representative of the United States to the United Nations

    Current official: (Currently vacant)

    The U.S. representative to the United Nations—also referred to as the U.N. ambassador—heads the U.S. delegation at the U.N. and represents the nation in the Security Council. Ambassador Nikki Haley resigned at the end of 2018, and President Trump nominated Heather Nauert to succeed her. Formerly a Fox News anchor, Nauert withdrew herself from consideration on Feb. 16, saying "the past two months have been grueling for my family." Trump has since nominated U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Knight Craft to the post. Craft and her husband are longtime republican donors from Kentucky and gave millions of dollars to Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. 

  • #22. U.S. trade representative
    23/ The White House // Wikimedia Commons

    #22. U.S. trade representative

    Current official: Robert Lighthizer

    The U.S. trade representative meets and negotiates with foreign governments to form trade agreements and resolve disputes. The representative also confers with public interest groups, lawmakers, and governments. The Office of the United States Trade Representative employs about 200 people, and has offices in Washington, D.C., as well as Brussels and Geneva.


  • #23. White House chief of staff
    24/ Gage Skidmore // Flickr

    #23. White House chief of staff

    Current official: Mick Mulvaney (acting)

    The White House chief of staff serves as an assistant to the president, managing White House staff, controlling access to the Oval Office, negotiating with Congress, controlling the flow of information, and implementing the president’s agenda. President Trump replaced his original chief of staff, Reince Priebus, with then-Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly in July 2017. Kelly left the White House at the end of the year, and Mick Mulvaney is currently serving as acting chief of staff.


  • #24. Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
    25/ USEPA // Wikimedia Commons

    #24. Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

    Current official: Andrew Wheeler (acting)

    The Environmental Protection Agency forms regulations around environmental regulations. The EPA administrator leads the agency and oversees staff offices that process environmental appeals, conduct public affairs, and handle administrative law. President Trump’s original EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, resigned in July, with Andrew Wheeler serving as acting administrator. Trump has yet to nominate a permanent replacement for Pruitt.


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