What Are the Roles of the President?

The President of the United States has three main roles: to enact and enforce federal laws, to command the nation's armed forces and to oversee foreign policy. To help him achieve these goals, the president appoints heads of all federal agencies, including the Department of Defense and all federal judges.

The president appoints 15 cabinet members to handle the daily requirements of the federal government. These cabinet members, which include the vice president and the president's chief of staff, advise the president on departmental issues.

Although the president does not create law, he influences policy by either approving or vetoing bills that have been passed by Congress. However, his veto can be overridden by a two-thirds vote of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The president may also, with congressional approval, make treaties with foreign powers, appoint ambassadors to other countries, deploy troops and declare war.

Article II of the Constitution enumerates the president's responsibilities, which include periodically giving Congress updates on the state of the union and recommending legislative action. Although the Constitution does not specify the methods for such updates, the president traditionally gives an annual State of the Union address in January, unless it falls on an inaugural year.