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The Office of the Secretary is the general management arm of the department and provides the principal support to the Secretary in formulating policy and in providing advice to the President. It provides program leadership for the department's functions and exercises general supervision over the operating units. It also directly carries out program functions as may be assigned by the Secretary and provides – as determined to be more economical or efficient – administrative and other support services for designated operating units.
The Office of the Secretary consists of the Secretary, certain secretarial officers, designated staff immediately serving those officials and a number of offices which serve department-wide functions or perform program functions directly on behalf of the Secretary.