What Does the Executive Branch Do?

by Katrina Cain on January 19, 2010

This article refers to the United States government only.

Seal of the United States Department of Education

The U.S. government is divided into 3 interrelated branches; each with some degree of power over the other 2 branches in a system of checks and balances designed to prevent abuse of power: the Executive branch, the Judicial Branch and the Legislative Branch.

The Executive branch consists of the President, the Vice President; the Secretary of State, the various Federal Executive Departments; also referred to as the Cabinet; NASA, the Postmaster General, the EPA, the CIA and a few others. The cabinet officials are appointed by the president with the guidance and consent of the senate; one of the two bodies of Congress; another branch of the U.S. government. Congressional consent of Presidential appointments is an example of the checks and balances in place purported to prevent abuse of power from any one branch. Aside from the president and vice president, the Executive is the non-elected division of government, appointed by the president and serving at the president’s pleasure. There are 15 State Departments, each headed by an official referred to as a Secretary: State, Treasury, Defense, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, Education, Veteran’s Affairs and Homeland Security.

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