Encyclopedia of Governmental Advisory Organizations (EGAO)

The Encyclopedia of Governmental Advisory Organizations (EGAO) contains entries which describe the activities and personnel of groups and committees that function to advise the President of the United States and various departments and bureaus of the federal government, as well as detailed information about historically significant committees. Complete contact information is provided including fax numbers, e-mail and website addresses when available.

The remainder of this page is divided into the following sections:

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Section 1: Background Information

Every presidential administration since the formation of the United States has utilized advisory organizations in one form or another for assistance in decision making and legislation. They are created by various means, including public laws, executive orders, presidential announcements, and departmental orders.

Until recent years, such committees were relatively few in number, but the increasing size and complexity of modern government and modern society have resulted in a greater dependence upon these special groups. So much so that, in 1972, the U.S. Congress passed P.L. 92-463, the Federal Advisory Committee Act, to enable the federal government to gain some control over the proliferation of advisory committees.

The term advisory committee has been defined by the U.S. Congress as:

Any committee, board, commission, council, conference, panel, task force, or other similar group, or any subcommittee or other subgroup thereof... which is 1) established by statute or reorganization plan, or 2) established or utilized by the President, or 3) established or utilized by one or more agencies, in the interest of obtaining advice or recommendations for the President or one or more agencies or officers of the federal government....
(Federal Advisory Committee Act, P.L. 92-463, October 6, 1972).

The legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government have extensively used advisory committees in order to provide independent ideas free of the vested interests of agencies and their clientele. However, committee members are often—sometimes even necessarily—drawn from the clientele concerned, and the objectivity of some bodies has been challenged from time to time for this reason. Advisory committees are a device for making available to the government, at little or no cost, the knowledge and expertise of the leadership in all fields of business, industry, education, science and technology, and the arts and professions. They can innovate, educate, coordinate, and, to some extent, regulate; the boundaries between functions in many instances may be indistinct.

As defined by the Federal Advisory Committee Act, advisory committees can be divided into two major categories:

A presidential advisory committee may be defined as a group (with one or all of its members appointed by the President) which has the function of advising or making recommendations to him. Many of the presidential advisory committees are of the ad hoc variety—appointed to investigate and report on a special issue. They are generally composed of people of national prominence who are recognized authorities in areas pertinent to the purpose of the committee. These presidential advisory committees issue a final report based on their study. Other presidential advisory committees are of a more permanent nature, offering advice on a particular subject over an indefinite period of time. Independent presidential advisory committees are not assigned by the President or by the U.S. Congress to a federal agency for administrative support. The General Services Administration provides administrative and other support to these independent committees on a reimbursable basis.

Most public advisory committees are established to provide advice on a continuing basis for regulating particular activities or industries that come within the jurisdiction of a specific agency or department. In those cases where a public advisory committee regulates, or establishes standards for, a particular industry, the members of the committee are usually persons who are involved in that industry; such committees are often referred to as industry advisory committees.

A related committee is the interagency committee, which is composed of representatives of two or more government agencies. These committees serve the agencies primarily as vehicles for exchange of information and coordination of all federal agencies programs in a particular field.

Section 2: Scope

The Encyclopedia of Governmental Advisory Organizations (EGAO) is the only comprehensive guide to the permanent, continuing, and ad hoc advisory committees of all kinds reporting to the President, Congress, and various U.S. government departments and agencies. Included are:

The types of committees profiled also include committees of private institutions doing studies for the federal government, such as committees of The National Academies; committees of national nonprofit organizations which also serve as public advisory committees to the federal government; and White House Conferences. Additionally, when listed organizations serve in an advisory capacity for government programs, details on those programs are included in the organizations’ descriptive listings.

Currently active committees are emphasized, but information on historically significant organizations that are no longer functioning, as well as some that were authorized, but never activated or funded, are also included. Important regional and interstate commissions of broad public interest are listed as well.

Entries include, wherever possible, addresses, telephone numbers, fax numbers, emails, home pages, background, programs, recommendations, membership, and publications.

Section 3: Method of Compilation

In preparing the Encyclopedia of Governmental Advisory Organizations (EGAO), the editors consult all available government sources, including public laws, executive orders, committee charters, the Federal Register, the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, the Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications, and the Annual Report of the President on Federal Advisory Committees. Liaison is also maintained with the Committee Management Officers of the various departments and agencies of the federal government, see Appendix I for a listing of the Officers.

Information on the great majority of previously listed committees that are still active was updated for this edition via questionnaire mailings or telephone contact. Additionally, secondary sources were used in cases where direct contact could not be made; listings pending further research are specified as such in the entry. Research is carried out on a continuing basis to gather essential data on committees of continuing historical importance.


The staff would like to express appreciation to the Committee Management Secretariat under the General Services Administration and the various committee management officers who have always been cooperative with our research requests.

Section 4: What You'll Find in an EGAO Entry and Searchable Fields

Encyclopedia of Governmental Advisory Organizations (EGAO) provides detailed information on governmental advisory organizations of all types. The main method used to store entries is by the name of the organization; however, there many ways to find entries, including by Keyword, or by some other specific field of data using Advanced Search (refer to the Corresponding Advanced Search Index(es) column in the table below).

When you search for entries, your search results will show the main fields of data, enough to give you a brief view of the organization profiled. The full entry can be viewed on the entry display page by selecting the entry name from your results list.

Tip: The table below lists the kinds of information you will find in the entries in this eDirectory. Note that not all fields are present in every entry.

The Corresponding Advanced Search Index(es) column lists which Advanced Search index to use to search that field.

Field of Information Description Corresponding Advanced Search Index(es)
Name of Organization/Committee/Agency The official name of the body. Name (ti)
Keyword (ke)
Address The permanent address of active committees;
usually the address supplied is that of the parent agency or department, although every effort is made to provide local addresses when relevant. You can search for organizations in a specific city, state, zip code, and/or country using Advanced Search.
City (cc)
State (sc)
Zip (zc)
Country (cn)
Phone Area code, telephone exchange, number and extension, if known, for active committees. The area code portion of the phone number can be searched using Advanced Search. Area Code (ar)
Fax Fax numbers are given if provided by the respondent.  
Email Electronic mail addresses are provided for most active organizations.  
Website Whenever possible, the home page or URL (universal resource locator) for Internet access to committee
sites is provided.
Contact The federal agency representative or the senior staff member of the committee; title may vary, such as "executive secretary," "executive director," "staff director," or "designated foundation official" (as used by the National Science Foundation). The current chairperson is listed under "Membership." Officers (na)
Keyword (ke)
Status Indicates if the department or agency is active or not.  
Agencies Lists the federal department or agency associated with an active committee.  
Presidential Administration Lists the president who established the committee.  
History/Authority This section includes the date of establishment; a reference to the public law, executive order, departmental memorandum, or directive which established the body; the type of committee (i.e., presidential, public, or interagency); the name of the agency or department within which the body functions; and the termination date. Description (de)
Year Founded (fd)
Program A description of the activities of the committee, given in the committee’s charter, public law, executive order, or departmental directive. Description (de)
Findings/Recommendations A summary of the findings and/or recommendations contained in reports of ad hoc committees. Description (de)
Members The number of members; duration and manner of appointment; basis for selection; and name of current
or last chairperson. Complete listings of the members of any committee may usually be obtained by writing directly to the committee or to the committee management officer of the agency or department within which the committee functions.
Description (de)
Staff Size of staff is given when known; the name of the designated federal employee is repeated here only when
additional information is provided, such as title or position in an agency or department, or the manner of selection. The agency or department that provides staff services and administrative support to the committee is also listed here.
Employee Count (em)
Subsidiary Units Names of subcommittees are listed, if available.  
Publications/Reports Report names and frequencies or dates of publication are listed. Popular names of such reports and their derivation are given when appropriate. Information on obtaining reports and publications is provided when available. Description (de)
Meetings According to P.L. 92-463, as amended, all
meetings of public advisory committees are to be open to
the public unless otherwise determined by the head of the
agency or department within which the committee functions. This determination must be based on the need for security. Specific information as to frequency or location of meetings is included when available; meetings that are closed to the public are also noted.
Description (de)
Remarks Popular names of committees are listed here, when available. Additional information which does not fall within the scope of the above categories may also be entered here. Description (de)
Subject(s) Lists subject matter terms associated with the purpose and description of the organization. Keyword (ke)
Section Broad category into which the organization is grouped. The Sections in EGAO are:
  • 001 Agriculture

    Includes Agricultural Credit, Agricultural Education, Agricultural Research, Animal Diseases, Commodity Exchanges, Cooperatives, Farms, Food, Grazing, Poultry, Seafood, Veterinary Medicine

  • 002 Business, Economics, Industry, and Labor

    Includes Accounting, Banking, Consumer Protection, Economic Assistance, Employment, Exports, Financial Institutions, Industrial Productivity, Insurance, International Trade, Investment, Labor Relations, Minority Business, Occupational Safety and Health, Product Safety, Regional Economic Development, Securities, Small Business, Wages

  • 003 Defense and Military Science

    Includes the Armed Services, Civil Defense, Defense, Disarmament, Emergency Planning, Intelligence, Medicine, Military Education, Missiles, Mobilization, Nuclear Weapons, Personnel, Procurement, Research, Selective Service, Strategic Defense, Veterans, Weapons

  • 004 Education and Social Welfare

    Includes Aging, Children, Civil Rights, Community Development, Crime, Demography, Disabled Persons, Disaster Assistance, Equal Opportunity, Housing, Homeless, Human Rights, Juvenile Delinquency, Minorities, Native American, Physical Fitness, Rehabilitation, Rural and Urban Development, Social Security, Suicide, Vocational Education, Welfare, Women

  • 005 Environment and Natural Resources

    Includes Acid Rain, Air Quality, Coal, Conservation, Energy, Fisheries, Forests, Hazardous Waste, Land Use, Resources, Oceanography, Oil Spills, Parks, Pesticides, Petroleum, Pollution, Recreation, Rivers, Solar Energy, Toxic Substances, Trails, Water, Wildlife

  • 006 Health and Medicine

    Includes AIDS, Alcoholism, Arthritis, Cancer, Child Health, Cardiovascular Disease, Dentistry, Drug Abuse, Drugs, Environmental Health, Genetics, Hospitals, Medical Devices, Medical Education, Medical Ethics, Medicare, Mental Health, Neurology, Pathology, Radiology, Research, Substance Abuse, Toxicology, Vaccines, Women

  • 007 History and Culture

    Includes Anthropology, Architecture, Archives, Arts, Awards, Cultural Exchange, Historic Preservation, Historic Sites, Historical Commemorations, Humanities, Libraries, Memorials, Monuments, Museums, Music, Theater, Tourism

  • 008 Government, Law, and International Affairs

    Includes Copyright, Courts, Elections, Ethics, Federal Departments, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Aid, Government Employees, Government Operations, Government Regulation, Individual Nations, Information, Intelligence, International Cooperation, International Development, International Law, Law Enforcement, Maritime Law, Narcotics Control, National Security, Overseas Security, Patents, Political Science, Procurement, Taxation, Terrorism

  • 009 Engineering, Science, and Technology

    Includes Aerospace, Astronomy, Atmospheric Sciences, Biology, Computers, Earth Sciences, Earthquakes, Engineering, Meteorology, Nuclear Energy, Nuclear Waste, Research, Science Policy, Space Shuttle, Space Station, Standards, Telecommunications

  • 010 Transportation

    Includes Air Traffic Control, Aviation, Canals, Highways, Railroads, Roads, Safety, Shipping, Ships, Space Transportation, Supersonic Transport, Waterways

Section Heading (sh)
Section Number (sn)
Keyword (ke)
Gale Document Number Displays the document's unique identifying number.  

Section 5: Comments and Suggestions Welcome

If you have questions, concerns, or comments about Encyclopedia of Governmental Advisory Organizations (EGAO) please contact Project Editior, Encyclopedia of Governmental Advisory Organizations.

Please write or call:

Encyclopedia of Governmental Advisory Organizations
Gale, Cengage Learning
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Farmington Hills, MI 48331-3535

Phone: (248) 699-4253
Toll-free: 800-877-GALE
Fax: (248) 699-8865

Visit us at www.gale.cengage.com.

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