Choose Your Own Cabinet Members

In this task force, students imagine that they have just been elected president and are appointing cabinet members to their new administration.

Task Force: Choose Your Own Cabinet Members


You have just been elected president of the United States. Before you take office, you must decide on who will run each department of the executive branch. These people will become part of your cabinet of advisors and will help you make incredibly important decisions. 

Why Are We Doing This?

Choosing cabinet members is one of the first things that a new president does and it sets the stage for a lot of the policies of their administration. Not only are cabinet members responsible for executing a president’s agenda, they are also important sources of advice and expertise. No president can know everything, so they must surround themselves with smart people! 


  1. Look at the list of departments below and decide which ones you want to focus on. Find the current list of cabinet members here.
    1. State
    2. Treasury
    3. Defense
    4. Attorney General
    5. Interior
    6. Agriculture
    7. Commerce
    8. Labor
    9. Health and Human Services
    10. Housing and Urban Development
    11. Transportation
    12. Energy 
    13. Education
    14. Veterans Affairs
    15. Homeland Security
  2. Research what each department you chose does. 
    1. What are its main responsibilities? What other departments fall under it? 
    2. What are its stated goals? 
    3. Who is the current cabinet member? What experience did they have that qualified them for the position? 
    4. What are some controversies or issues surrounding the work or history of the department? 
  3. Decide who you would appoint to head each department. Try to keep it to people who are currently qualified for the position, but if you want to get creative just be prepared to defend your decision. 
  4. Share with the group and see if you can convince them that your appointees are the best fit for the job. 

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • You do not have to come up with an exhaustive list of cabinet members. It’s better to come up with a few ideas that you feel confident with and spend time thinking through possible objections to them. 
  • You don’t have to worry about answering all possible objections, but you should have some defense of why you think your appointees would be the best fit for the jobs you’ve chosen them for.