The federal bureaucracy of the United States (US) underwent various transformations since President George Washington came to power, during which it only included the Treasury, State and War departments. The end of the Civil War opened more opportunities for Americans to join the federal bureaucracy through the civil service system, which compensates the need to fulfill administrative reforms during that time. The civil service system imposed meritocracy, which meant that only the most qualified people could serve the federal bureaucracy of the US, as opposed to earning positions via patronage. Throughout the 1800s, the federal bureaucracy of the US experienced continued expansion via the introduction of independent regulatory commissions. Creation of further agencies made the federal bureaucracy much larger towards the middle of the 20th century. The need to address problems related to public service prompted the increase in size of the federal bureaucracy of the US, thus necessitating the employment of more people based on their qualifications (O’Connor, Sabato & Yanus 236-263).
The modernization of the federal bureaucracy of the US came forth with the need to encompass more responsibilities corresponding to public service. The three million-strong population of the federal bureaucracy of the US shows that it has grown so much over the past few years. Currently, the federal bureaucracy of the US includes the following agency categories: government corporations, independent regulatory commissions, independent agencies and departments. Members of the federal bureaucracy of the US under all the foregoing categories have the obligation to abide by the regulations on political endeavors stipulated under the Hatch Act and other legal stipulations related to characterizing the federal bureaucracy of the US (O’Connor, Sabato & Yanus 236-263).
The operation of the federal bureaucracy of the US has also evolved through time. Signed laws coming from Congress must undergo processes for implementation performed by bureaucrats first before those could come into full effect. Implementation could proceed in formal or informal ways, with the most basic task being the specification of sets of rules and regulations describing a particular law upon its approval by the Congress. It is crucial for bureaucrats to engage themselves in performing executive tasks that would enhance the rule of law. Otherwise, laws could become ambiguous without constructive interpretations and elaborations coming from competent bureaucrats. Verily, bureaucrats hold the responsibility of putting more useful sense on currently existing laws in order to make those more contributive to the political order within the US (O’Connor, Sabato & Yanus 236-263).
The wide discretion enjoyed by members of the federal bureaucracy of the US equivalently corresponds to several formal controls that enable them to show accountability for any form of actions. Said formal controls provide and preserve the relative autonomy of a state from social forces, keeping in mind the necessity of avoiding acts of patronage. The current size of the federal bureaucracy of the US requires a more extensive set of controls that would protect it from becoming vulnerable to problems involving patronage, which in turn could lead to acts of corruption. The recognition of further instances where bureaucratic control stands as a necessary solution comes from the expansion of roles of the federal bureaucracy itself. Therefore, it appears that it is only just for the federal bureaucracy of the US to respond accordingly should innovations requiring policy responses emerge (O’Connor, Sabato & Yanus 236-263).
O’Connor, Karen, Sabato, Larry, & Alixandra Yanus. American Government: Roots and Reform (2012 Election Edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc., 2012. Print.