The Executive Office of the President as well as the vice president help the president formulate policy, although the vice president's role changes with each presidency. The Executive Office consists of approximately 1,600 individuals run under a nearly $374m annual budget. The Executive Office consists of key aides who lend the president tremendous aid as well as a vice-president and cabinet:
- a chief of staff, either a first among equals or an unquestionable leader;
- a national security adviser to provide daily foreign and military affair briefings and longer-range analyses of issues confronting the administration;
- a Council of Economic Advisers to report and give advice on the economy;
- senior domestic policy advisers to help the president with basic issues such as health and education;
- the vice-president;
- and a cabinet of major departments headed by cabinet secretaries;
There are three basic ways that presidents have led their White House staff, exemplified by specific presidencies:
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt had advisers with differing points of view, and he overlapped their authority. Roosevelt used this system of competitive management to ensure he heard all sides of an argument. However, he was the final decision maker upon receiving these arguments.
- Dwight Eisenhower arranged his staff with militaristically clear lines of authority and hierarchy. This model does not require the president to engage in details of policy discussion.
- Bill Clinton had a loose staff structure that allowed many top staffers to directly access him. Immersed in policy-making and brainstorming, Clinton's was a collegiate approach that minimized delegation.
The vice president is second in line for the presidency, meaning the vice president is president if the president dies, becomes disabled, is impeached or resigns. Vice presidential candidates are chosen more for campaign duties than national governance. Thus, vice presidents typically have chore positions that included campaigning, fundraising and communicating with party faithfuls.
The cabinet is composed of heads of executive departments as well as certain other key officials. It's efficiency has been decried. This stems from its size and that most members have limited expertise. This results in most persons focus on specific issues rather than exchanging information.