American Government and Politics Today. Chapter 13 The Bureaucracy. The Nature of the Bureaucracy.
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A bureaucracy is a large organization that is structured hierarchically to carry out specific functions. The purpose of a bureaucracy is the efficient administration of rules, regulations, and policies. Governments, businesses and other institutions such as colleges and universities perforce have bureaucracies.
Today there are about 2.7 million civilian employees of the federal government. (The two biggest employers are the U.S. Postal Service, with almost 800,000 workers, and the Department of Defense, with more than 650,000 civilian staff.) In recent years, the greatest growth in government employment has been at the local level. Federal employment has remained stable.
Iron Triangles: three-way alliance among legislators, bureaucrats, and interest groups that seeks to make or preserve policies that benefit their respective interests
Issue Networks: legislators, interest groups, bureaucrats, scholars and experts, and members of the media who share a position on a given issue may attempt to exert influence on the executive branch, on Congress, on the courts or on the media to see their policy position enacted
The ultimate control is in the hands of Congress because Congress controls the purse strings. Congressional control of the bureaucracy includes the establishment of agencies and departments, the budget process, and oversight conducted through investigations, hearings, and review.