Before the war, the Enclave served as a shadow government within the legal federal government of the United States. Members of the Enclave were military hardliners who both embraced the idea of a nuclear war to rid the world of Communist influence and knew that the common man could not survive it. Its members acted as lobbyists for major American corporations like Vault-Tec Corporation, General Atomics International, and RobCo Industries. They believed that as long as the "important people" of the United States survived, they could regroup quickly and build a better world without the threat posed by China or anyone else to the American way of life. Their off shore location was discovered by the Boston-based newspaper Boston Bugle. In the event of a nuclear war, this was intended to ensure the continuity of the U.S. government's leadership.
The constitutional status of the Enclave's president of the United States was questioned by the Brotherhood of Steel. Matthew, their representative in San Francisco, referred to President Dick Richardson as the "so-called President." By 2277, there was no U.S. government presence at federal government buildings such as the Pentagon and the Capitol, as the Capital Wasteland had no central political authority or law enforcement mechanism.
The president directly controlled the automatic Emergency Defensive Systems on the Enclave's oil-drilling platform. In the year 2220, Congressman Dick Richardson was elected president for his first term of four years (he would be elected to five), through the aid and political pressure provided by his father, a previous American president under the Enclave.
A Cabinet is mentioned in the address of the Project report from the United States Chemical Corps and the power plant operations report from the Enclave's Atomic Energy Commission. Its seat was the Executive Office on the Enclave's oil rig. The only known Cabinet-level executive officer in the Enclave was the Vice President of the United States, the first person in the presidential line of succession.
There were some executive agencies present after the Great War, such as the Secret Service and the Atomic Energy Commission. NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, is mentioned by Vice President Daniel Bird. The United States Armed Forces were present and its Enclave patrols at the Navarro perimeter also acted as a border patrol.
The judicial or legislative branches mirrored after the war is only mentioned in terms of courts-martials performed by officers of the Enclave's armed forces.
The destruction of the Enclave's oil-drilling platform off the coast of California in 2242, following the Chosen One’s assassination of the Enclave's President of the United States, erased all trace of President Dick Richardson from history. However, some remnants of the Enclave survived, and they would come to be led by Autumn Senior, a high ranking Enclave scientist by 2277.
A new self-proclaimed president of the United States appeared, John Henry Eden, from the Raven Rock military base on the East Coast in the Capital Wasteland near the ruins of Washington, D.C. Despite the fact that some of the remnants of the Enclave government had survived after the destruction of the Enclave's oil rig in 2242, Augustus Autumn stated Eden was next in the chain of command.
President Eden ordered Autumn to relocate the Enclave's military forces from California to the pre-War government shelter Site R, as unbeknownst to everyone save Autumn, Eden is a pre-War ZAX supercomputer built within the Raven Rock base.
According to President Eden's propaganda broadcasts on the Enclave Radio, a new presidential election was promised to the surviving people of the United States, but without going into the details for "reasons of national security." Eden also promised to surrender the office of the presidency to the winner of this election, without a clear timetable. According to speeches made on Enclave Radio, there was still some form of Congress at this time.
In the years prior to the Great War, the executive branch was headed by the last President of the United States, who worked with his Cabinet. It included multiple departments and agencies with the intended goal of executing the laws of the country.
- Department of Agriculture
- Department of Antiquities
- Department of Commerce
- Department of Defense
- Department of Energy
- Department of the Interior
- Department of Justice
- Bureau of Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco, Firearms and Lasers
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Federal Bureau of Prisons[Non-canon 1]
- Department of Labor
- Department of State
- Department of Transportation
- Department of the Treasury
- War Department
- Post Office Department
- The Atomic Energy Commission still existed in the year 2241 on the Enclave Oil Rig.
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted federal law enforcement, in addition to confiscating and marking seditious books and magazines for burning.
- The Bureau of Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco, Firearms and Lasers regulated alcohol, drugs, tobacco, firearms, and laser weaponry.
- The Secret Service protected the president before the Great War and were assigned to Vault 79 to protect the nation's newly-moved gold reserve. A branch of the Enclave, also bearing the Secret Service name, was present on the Enclave Oil Rig in 2241.
- Other independent federal agencies included the United States Space Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the National Archives and Records Administration.
- Some agencies with uncertain subordination include the Federal Fitness Registry, Civil Defense Administration, and the National Catastrophe Relief Auxiliary. The "Department of Water and Power" dispelled rumors about water contamination in the event of a nuclear war, though it is unclear if this was part of the executive branch.
- The Unamerican Activities Force was also active in finding communists within America.
- According to the Van Buren tech demo plot, the federal government could exercise only limited power over the units of the U.S. Army. According to their names, at least some Armored Infantry Divisions actually belonged to the American commonwealths rather than the federal government, a situation similar to that of the state volunteer regiments raised by the states and placed into federal service during the American Civil War.[Non-canon 2]
- The Supreme Court is mentioned in a terminal entry in the National Archives.
- Federal courts were closely connected to the penitentiary system of the United States. One such penitentiary, Tibbets Prison, was "committed to carrying out the judgments" of the federal courts.[Non-canon 3]
- On February 15, 2075, both the House of Representatives and the Senate voted unanimously to impeach the president for jaywalking.
- The complete books of the Library of Congress were packed in the G.E.C.K.
- Congress was responsible for the affairs of the District of Columbia, including the District of Columbia Transit Authority.
- Last President of the United States
- Last Cabinet of the United States
- Warren Eccleston, White House spokesman
- Former Senator Sam Blackwell of the Appalachian Territories
- Senator Burk
- Senator Calvert
- Senator Clark
- Senator Jon McDougall
- Senator Jody Sorreset
- Unnamed dead senator in the Capitol Building Presidential sub level.
- Unnamed senator, captured by Mothership Zeta
- Seven unnamed Calverts in the House of Representatives
- State Senator Joel Chambers
- Senator Todd Peterson[Non-canon 4]
Behind the scenes
- The Food and Drug Administration is mentioned in a promotional item that came with the real world Pip-Boy 2000 Mk VI FM radio module, Boston Bugle Volume 12.
- Daniel Bird's quote regarding NASA is as a reference to a quote by real world former Vice President Dan Quayle.
- According to the Fallout Bible, in March 2077, the Enclave and last president established itself on the Poseidon Energy oil-drilling platform known as Control Station ENCLAVE, situated off the coast of San Francisco.[Non-canon 5]
- In addition, the Fallout Bible describes the presidential powers accorded to the leader of the Enclave included presidential orders, that concerned military research and data protection, such as in power armor research, while presidential directives could concern the Enclave's armed forces conditioning and testing programs, such as with the conditioning of Horrigan. Presidential decisions could concern major scientific projects of the Enclave connected to military actions, as seen with procuring Vault 13 inhabitants as test subjects.[Non-canon 6][Non-canon 7][Non-canon 8]