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Who are the Most Important Cabinet Members?

By Victoria Bailey - Updated December 27, 2018
The White House, Washington DC

The U.S. presidential cabinet includes the Vice President and the heads of 15 different departments. While it may be argued that all departments are important, some wield much more power and influence than others. And that distinction depends on the Cabinet role, both at home or abroad.

Secretary of State

The Secretary of State is an adviser to the president and head of the State Department. He or she portfolio is most concerned with foreign affairs and relations. The Secretary of State is our top diplomat.

Secretary of the Treasury

The Secretary of the Treasury is concerned with the monetary and banking system of the country. Finance regulation and the economy are among his responsibilities.

Secretary of Defense

The Secretary of Defense is in charge of all military issues. Her principal goal in the Cabinet is to keep the President duly informed. She is responsible for wartime defense issues, as well as running the military during times of peace.

Secretary of Homeland Security

The Secretary of Homeland Security is a relatively new Cabinet position, created in the aftermath of 9/11 and charged with the safety of U.S. borders. Twenty-two separate agencies merged to create the Department of Homeland Security.

The Attorney General

The Attorney General is in charge of the Department of Justice. She is the lead attorney in the country, responsible for prosecuting or defending important court cases on behalf of the people and also the Administration. She is also charged with enforcing the laws of the land.

The Vice President

The Vice President of the United States is next in line for the Presidency. He stands in for the President at official functions, serves as the President of the Senate, has the honor of breaking ties in the Senate and is a close adviser to the President.

It is important to note all of these appointments are at-will. A Cabinet member may retire at any time and the President may choose not to replace them. This can have a deleterious effect on how our government is run, since each of these main positions carry significant weight, both at home and abroad.

About the Author

Victoria Bailey has a degree in Public Law and Government. She has spoken before state Supreme Court justices and her photograph is on the back cover of Bill Clinton's autobiography. As a former member of the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, Bailey worked closely with lawmakers to help set public policy. Bailey's work appears on numerous websites, and she's currently writing the text for a governmental information app.

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