The Significance of Federal Bureaucracy as “Fourth Branch” of the Government

TheSignificance of Federal Bureaucracy as &quotFourth Branch&quot ofthe Government

ThePlace and Significance of Federal Bureaucracy as &quotFourth Branch&quotof the Government

Oneof the achievements that the US prides itself on is creating asuccessful government system with several branches that limit theexcesses of the in power. Although the government mainly comprises ofthree arms of government (the legislative, executive, and judicial),the government processes are structured to accommodate the federalbureaucracy. The position of the federal bureaucracy is oftenasserted to be so powerful that it is sometimes referred to as the&quotfourth branch.&quot Indeed, these assertions are justifiablebecause federal bureaucracy wields much power, inherently functioningas the federal government`s co-equal branch.

Thearticle by Usafeaturesmedia (September 6, 2016) is perhaps the mostrecent cover about the dominant position of the federal bureaucracy.The article is concerned that, like presidents, federal bureaucratsoccupy a strategic position in the government, and is both wieldingunchecked excessive powers in implementing laws and regulation. Thearticle proceeds further to assert that the efforts of checking onexcesses of people in the authority will need to focus on these twocomponents. In essence, although the article does not detail all theways that the power of federal bureaucracy is manifested, itnevertheless gives hinting details on its position and significancein government processes.

Indeed,several authors have concurred that federal bureaucracy plays acrucial role in the federal government, which qualifies it as &quotfourthbranch&quot of the government. In particular, Garrett (2014) notesthat the federal bureaucracy is important because it performs threefunctions in the government: administration, implementation, andregulation. This point concurs with that of Daniel and Bedeian(2012), who expound the three roles. The administrative positionarises from the fact that bureaucracy essentially enjoys some levelof flexibility known as the administrative discretion, which enablesthem to exercise open judgment for successful government process. Thebureaucracy also undertakes various routine functions to support thefederal government such as issuing permits and collecting fees, amongother roles, on behalf of the federal government. The implementationrole is evidenced when the Congress passes the law. While theCongress typically sets guidelines for successful execution, thedirectives are not always defined clearly. Therefore, they cannot beimplemented while in such state. Bureaucrats come in handy byproviding alternative interpretations to the meanings of the law andimplementation process and address the weaknesses. Lastly, theregulative role is seen when federal bureaucracy participates insetting rules in line with federal government directives and goals.The federal bureaucracy, for instance, establishes rules onenvironmental protection and enforcement of law and order.

Therefore,it is indisputable that the federal bureaucracy qualifies to bereferred as the fourth branch of the government. In particular, thefederal bureaucracy is important because it performs administrative,implementation, and regulation functions.


Daniel,W. &amp Bedeian, A.(2012).TheEmergence of the Management Process and Organization Theory.John Wiley &amp Sons.Garrett,A. (2014). &quotAssessingthe Impact of Bureaucracy Bashing by Electoral Campaigns&quot.PublicAdministration ReviewMarch–April 228–240Usafeaturesmedia(September September6, 2016).“Howto take lawmaking out of the hands of the federal bureaucracy andpresidents”. BigGovernment.News.Retrievedfrom