United States federal executive departments

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The United States federal executive departments are among the oldest primary units of the executive branch of the federal government of the United States–the Departments of State, War, and the Treasury all being established within a few weeks of each other in 1789.

Departments[change | change source]

Department Creation Order of
succession
Modifications since creation 2007 Budget
in billions
of dollars
Employees (2007)
State 1789 1 Initially named "Department of Foreign Affairs" 9.96 30,266
Treasury 1789 2 11.10 115,897
Defense 1947 3 Initially named "National Military Establishment" 439.30 3,000,000
Justice 1870 4 Position of Attorney General created in 1789, but had no department until 1870 23.40 112,557
Interior 1849 5 10.70 71,436
Agriculture 1889 6 77.60 109,832
Commerce 1903 7 Originally named Commerce and Labor; Labor later separated 6.20 36,000
Labor 1913 8 59.70 17,347
Health and Human Services 1953 9 Originally named Health, Education, and Welfare; Education later separated 543.20 67,000
Housing and Urban Development 1965 10 46.20 10,600
Transportation 1966 11 58.00 58,622
Energy 1977 12 21.50 116,100
Education 1979 13 62.80 4,487
Veterans Affairs 1989 14 73.20 235,000
Homeland Security 2002 15 44.6 208,000
Total budget (fiscal year 2007): 1,523.42 4,193,144

Past departments[change | change source]

Department Dates of Operation Notes
War 1789–1947 Subsumed by Department of Defense, renamed Department of the Army
Post Office 1792–1971 Reorganized as quasi-independent agency, United States Postal Service
Navy 1798–1947 Subsumed by Department of Defense; it has been proposed that the Secretary of Homeland Security assume the position in the order of succession once held by the Secretary of the Navy[source?]
Commerce and Labor 1903–1913 Divided between Department of Commerce and Department of Labor
Health, Education, and Welfare 1953–1979 Divided between Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Education