Government Information: Departments and Agencies
Departments and Agencies - Introduction
The executive departments are the units of government that are under the direct supervision of the President. The heads of the executive departments make up part of the President's cabinet. The Cabinet includes the Vice President and the heads of the 15 executive departments listed below, as well as the Attorney General.
In addition to these departments, there are hundreds of federal agencies and commissions with various responsibilities. Visit USA.gov for a current list of all federal agencies, commissions and departments.
Each executive department collects and publishes unique information. Consult the departmental pages listed below, and the links to highlighted publications, resources, agencies and administrations to learn more! Other agencies and administrations are highlighted in boxes in the right column.
Department of Agriculture
Department of Agriculture highlighted publications and resources:
- National Agricultural Statistics Service: provides useful statistics in service to U.S. agriculture.
- Agricultural Statistics Annual: serves as a reliable reference on agricultural production, supplies, consumption, costs, etc.
- National Agricultural Library Digital Repository: provides access to historical USDA publications.
Department of Commerce
Department of Commerce highlighted commerce bureaus:
- United States Census Bureau: leading source of quality data about the nation's people and economy. Find more about the Census in this Research Guide
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): This agency works to keep citizens informed of the changing environment around them.
- United States Patent and Trademark Office: This is the Federal agency responsible for granting U.S. patents and registering trademarks.
Department of Defense
Department of Defense highlighted documents and sites:
- Department of Defense News Releases: News releases are official statements of the DOD, which include casualty notices. Archived releases are online from Oct. 1994 on.
- Joint Chiefs of Staff: The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the principal military adviser to the President, though all JCS members are considered law military advisers
- Military Departments: The official sites for the Navy, Army, Marine Corps, Air Force and more can be found on this page.
Department of Education
Department of Education highlighted resources:
- Education Resources Information Center (ERIC): ERIC is a searchable database of education research and information.
- National Center for Education Research: This Center supports research activities designed to produce scientifically rigorous research relevant educators.
Department of Energy
Department of Energy highlighted agencies and offices:
- Advanced Research Projects Agency: this recently formed agency focuses on "creative 'out-of-the-box' transformational energy research," among other things.
- Office of Scientific and Technical Information: this office "collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development results."
Department of Health & Human Services
Deparment of Health and Human Services highlighted agencies:
- HealthCare.gov: provides information on new health insurance options resulting from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
- Food and Drug Administration: the FDA works to protect and advance the public health by assuring the safety of food, drugs, and more, and by speeding innovations in the field.
- Center for Disease Control: the CDC promotes health and the prevention of disease, and creates tools and information to help people protect their health.
- National Institutes of Health: the NIH is "the nation's medical research agency." Check out the various institutes, centers, and offices at the NIH.
- Homelessness: Information from HHS; also see HUD information below.
Department of Homeland Security
Department of Homeland Security highlighted resources and administrations.
- Transportation Secuirty Administration: the TSA "protects the Nation's transportations systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce."
- Federal Emergency Management Administration: FEMA supports citizens and first responders in preparing for, responding to and recovering from disasters.
Department of Housing & Urban Development
Department of Housing and Urban Development highlighted resources for HUD data:
- HUD USER: This resources contains housing research and data sets as well as publications of HUD research.
- Homelessness: Follow this link for resources and information about homelessness; also see HHS information above.
Department of the Interior
Department of the Interior highlighted bureaus and agencies:
- U.S. Geological Survey: the USGS "collects, monitors, analyzes, and provides scientific understanding about natural resource conditions, issues and problems."
- Bureau of Land Management: the BLM is responsible for carrying out programs for the management and conservation of resources on public lands.
- Bureau of Indian Affairs: in addition to their main site, check out their document library.
Department of Justice
Department of Justice highlighted offices, divisions, and bureaus:
- Office of the Attorney General: in addition to this main site, check out the publications page.
- Civil Rights Division: this division of the DOJ works to "uphold the civil and consitutional rights of all Americans," especially the most vulnerable.
- Federal Bureau of Investigation: in addition to this main site, check out the crime statistics page.
Department of Labor
Department of Labor highlighted bureaus and administrations:
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: this bureau is responsible for "measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy."
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration: Congress created this administration in 1970 to "ensure safe and healthful working conditions."
- Bureau of International Labor Affairs: this bureau ensures that "workers around the world are treated fairly and are able to share the benefits of the global economy."
Department of State
Department of State highlighted publications and documents:
- Major State Department Publications: the most requested publications and reports to congress are highlighted.
- Daily Press Briefings: read press briefings from 2009-2017, 2001-2009, or 1997-2001.
- State Plans, Performance, and Budget: quick links to the most recently published Dept. of State performance-related plans and reports.
Department of Transportation
Department of Transportation highlighted administrations and bureaus:
- Federal Aviation Administration: the FAA's mission "is to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world." Check out their data and research page.
- Federal Transit Administration: in addition to their main site, check out their research page.
- Bureau of Transportation Statistics: under the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, this bureau administers "data collection, analysis, and reporting."
Department of the Treasury
Department of the Treasury highlighted resources and agencies:
- Tax Policy Document Library: here you'll find Treasury-produced documents related to taxes and tax policy.
- Data and Charts Center: this page contains raw data, graphs, and charts on Treasury topics.
- Internal Revenue Service: the IRS is the nation's tax collection agency and administers the Internal Revenue Code.
Department of Veteran Affairs
Department of Veteran Affairs highlighted resources:
- National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics: this center collects, analyzes and disseminates key statistics on the Veteran population and VA services.
- VA Media Room: visit this page for news releases, speeches, publications and more.
- Veteran's Services: this page details the services and resources available to veterans.
Quick Links to Departmental Pages
Highlighted & Familiar Agencies
- Central Intelligence Agency"The CIA is an independent US Government agency responsible for providing national security intelligence to senior US policymakers."
- Environmental Protection Agency"The EPA's mission is to protect human health and the environment."
- Federal Communications Commission"The FCC regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable in all U.S. jurisdictions."
- Federal Trade CommissionThe FTC prevents unfair methods of competition in commerce. The FTC has the authority to police anticompetitive practices.
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration"NASA remains a leading force in scientific research and in stimulating public interest in aerospace exploration."
- National Transportation Security BoardNTSB is an independent federal accident investigation agency, isolating causes of accidents and forming safety recommendations.
- Securities and Exchange CommissionThe SEC protects investors, maintains fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitates capital formation.
This guide is based on the work of Meagan Kinsley & Molly Riley of the University Of Washington iSchool dated May 2011