Course Hero Logo

Executive Branch Bureaucracy of the United States

Independent Agencies in the United States

Independent agencies, which carry out a specialized government activity, are units of the federal bureaucracy that are staffed by experts.
The second type of executive agencies is the independent agency, a governmental body that carries out a specialized government activity. The leadership of each agency is appointed by the president and is subject to Senate confirmation, and the agency itself is subject to congressional oversight. That leadership may be provided by a board or commission or, as with the CIA and the Environmental Protection Agency, by a single director or administrator. Presidents often choose leaders with some expertise in the policy area. The independent agencies are subject to congressional oversight.

Independent Agencies of the U.S. Federal Government

Agency Name Date of Creation Purpose
Federal Reserve Board 1913 Uses its influence on monetary and credit matters to pursue several goals: maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate interest rates; formed as one of the Progressive Era reforms
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) 1933 Works to maintain public confidence in the nation's banking system by insuring bank deposits up to a certain maximum amount and monitoring financial institutions for safety and soundness; formed as part of the New Deal to respond to the Great Depression
Social Security Administration (SSA) 1935 Oversees eligibility for and payment of retirement and disability benefits for American citizens; formed as part of the New Deal to respond to the Great Depression
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) 1947 Provides national security intelligence to senior government policy makers, especially the president; employees include field personnel who engage in intelligence gathering in foreign countries and analysts who sift through reports from field personnel and technological means to assess potential threats to national security.
National Science Foundation (NSF) 1950 Undertakes and supports research projects in science, national health, and defense and promotes science education
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) 1958 Carries out and oversees efforts to explore and research space
Peace Corps 1961 Improves training in a number of economic sectors and fosters international understanding; largely staffed by volunteers who work in foreign countries
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) 1961 Supports economic growth in foreign countries by encouraging international trade and fostering global health and humanitarian assistance
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 1970 Conducts scientific and educational efforts relating to the environment, dealing with such issues as clean air and water, endangered species, and threats to human health and the environment