Federal Agencies and What They Do

August 1, 2007 – 12:07 pm

While you’ll find the majority of federal jobs in the cabinet departments, there are also a number of very interesting and varied civil service opportunities at independent agencies, government corporations, and in the Executive Office of the President. Below are descriptions of some of the larger agencies:

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)The CIA is the nation’s coordinator of intelligence activities. Agency personnel provide foreign intelligence for officials responsible for national security policy and conduct counterintelligence activities.

Congressional Budget Office (CBO)The Congressional Budget Office provides Congress with non-partisan analyses for economic and budgetary decisions. In addition to helping the congressional Budget Committees with economic forecasts and cost estimates for policies introduced in bills, the CBO also analyzes the President’s budget.

Corporation for National and Community Service Working with nonprofit and faith-based organizations, schools and other entities, the Corporation for National and Community Service supports voluntary service of Americans of all ages through AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and Learn and Serve.

Defense Applicant Assistance Office (DAAO)The DAAO helps to connect Defense recuruiters to potential applicants to provide the consistent contact and personalized service that can make the application process easier and transparent.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)The EPA safeguards the nation’s air, water, and land. Working with other federal agencies and state and local governments and Indian tribes, EPA employees are responsible for environmental research and standards setting.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)The EEOC enforces federal laws related to equal employment opportunity, including discrimination based upon race, religion, national origin, gender, age, and disability.

Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank)The Ex-Im Bank helps U.S. exporters by providing guarantees of working capital loans and loan repayment plans to foreign purchasers of American goods.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)The FCC regulates interstate and international radio, television, satellite, cable, and wire communications.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)The FDIC is the nation’s insurer of bank deposits and is tasked with maintaining the stability of the nation’s financial system.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)FEMA is the federal government’s emergency preparedness and disaster response and relief entity. The scope of FEMA’s work includes everything from floods to earthquakes to the transport of hazardous substances.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)The FERC is an independent regulatory agency that regulates and oversees various aspects of the energy markets within the United States. FERC’s team of professional and technical specialists solve the problems of today’s energy markets and set policy direction for the energy industry at large.

Federal Reserve System The Federal Reserve is the nation’s central bank. It establishes monetary policy, supervises banking institutions, maintains the stability of the financial system, and provides financial services to the government as well as the public and other institutions.

Government Accountability Office (GAO)The GAO is the government’s central watchdog agency. At the request of members of Congress, GAO personnel investigates, audits, and evaluates government programs and then issues public reports on their findings. These findings often help guide congressional and presidential policy decisions.

General Services Administration (GSA)The GSA is the government’s property manager, landlord, acquisitions specialist, and office supplier. The agency sets policy to ensure government money is being spent wisely and that government workplaces are up-to-date.

The Library of Congress The Library of Congress is the nation’s library and serves as the research arm for Congress. It also has the distinction of being the largest library in the world, with over 120 million books, recordings, maps, manuscripts, and photographs. The Congressional Research Service, part of the Library of Congress, provides non-partisan research and analysis on any topic that a member or committee of Congress may want to understand better to inform their policy development.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)NASA staff and astronauts are the nation’s vanguards in space exploration. The Apollo missions and Space Shuttle flights are just some of the more famous examples of NASA’s work.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)The NRC regulates the nation’s civilian use of nuclear material to protect public health and safety. The three main areas of oversight are nuclear reactors, the handling of nuclear waste and, the use of nuclear materials in medical, industry and other settings.

Office of Management and Budget (OMB)The OMB is responsible for formulating the President’s budget and coordinating the administration’s procurement and financial management. In the process of budget development, the OMB also evaluates and shapes agency programs and policies.

Office of Personnel Management (OPM)OPM is the federal government’s human resources agency. In addition to working with agencies to create systems to recruit, develop, manage and retain a high quality and diverse workforce, OPM is also responsible for regulating these systems.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)The SEC’s mission is to maintain the integrity of the nation’s securities markets. It requires publicly held companies to report financial information so investors have the information they need to make investment decisions.

Social Security Administration The Social Security Administration sends Social Security checks to the nation’s retired and disabled and their families. It collects funds for these and other programs from earnings identified by each American’s Social Security number.

The Smithsonian Institution The Smithsonian Institution provides the American public with educational programs and research as well as access to dozens of museums and the National Zoo.

United States Agency for International Development (USAID)USAID promotes economic growth and development abroad in support of US foreign policy. Working with foreign governments as well as business and non-profit organizations, USAID operates health, democracy, agriculture, and conflict prevention programs.

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