Statutorily Required Federal Advisory Committees that Began Operations in FY2015

Congress regularly establishes federal advisory committees—sometimes called task forces, panels, commissions, working groups, boards, councils, or conferences. Many of these committees are required to operate pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA; 5 U.S.C. Appendix), which seeks to make advisory committee operations more accessible and transparent. Federal advisory committees are one of only a few formalized mechanisms for private-sector citizens to participate in the executive branch's policymaking process. FACA committees are prohibited from creating policy or issuing regulations. Their role is to remain strictly advisory. For a list of the bills pending in the 114th Congress that seek to establish a federal advisory committee see CRS Report R44232, Creating a Federal Advisory Committee in the Executive Branch, by [author name scrubbed].

Each year, about 1,000 FACA committees operate governmentwide. In FY2015, 1,009 active federal advisory committees held 7,421 meetings and cost more than $367 million to operate. These committees assist federal agencies by providing policy advice and recommendations on a wide range of issues, including childhood vaccines, appropriate uses of regional resources, and community banking.

Congress, Presidents, and executive branch agencies establish and use federal advisory committees to gain expertise and policy advice from individuals outside the federal government. In FY2015, 42 new FACA committees were established, 20 of which were required by statute. In contrast, the President established 4 of the 42 new advisory committees and agencies established the other 18. In recent years, the number of new FACA committees required to be established by statute has ranged from 5 committees in FY2012 to 25 in FY2011.

Below, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) provides the list of the 20 federal advisory committees required by statute that began operations in FY2015. The Department of the Interior gained five new statutorily required federal advisory committees, the highest number of any federal agency. The Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture were both required to administer four new statutory federal advisory committees in FY2015. Six of the 20 newly established statutory committees were resource advisory councils, which generally provide federal officials advice on public land use.

The tables below include the name of the committee, its affiliated federal agency or department, and its statutory authority. In most cases, the table includes the authorizing language's U.S. Code citation. In some cases, when an advisory body's authority is not codified, the most recent statutory authority for the committee is provided.

Table 1. Federal Advisory Committees Required by Statute, FY2015

Committee Name

Statutory Authoritya

Department of Defense

Lake Eufaula Advisory Committeeb

Water Resources Development Act of 2007, P.L. 110-114, §3133(b)(1)

National Commission on the Future of the Army

Carl Levin and Howard P. "Buck" McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015, P.L. 113-291, §1702

Department of the Interior

Coastal Oregon Resource Advisory Council

43 U.S.C. §1739

Northern California District Resource Advisory Councilc

43 U.S.C. §1739

Northwest Oregon Resource Advisory Committee

43 U.S.C. §1739

Southwest Oregon Resource Advisory Council

43 U.S.C. §1739

Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument Advisory Council

Carl Levin and Howard P. "Buck" McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015, P.L. 113-291, §3092(a)(6)

Department of Labor

Advisory Board on Toxic Substances and Worker Health

Carl Levin and Howard P. "Buck" McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015, P.L. 113-291, §3141, with authority to administer the committee delegated to the Secretary of Labor from the President pursuant to Executive Order 13699

Workforce Information Advisory Council

29 U.S.C. §49l-2

Environmental Protection Agency

Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest System Advisory Board

42 U.S.C. §6939g

Department of Health and Human Services

Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children

42 U.S.C. §300b-10

Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research Advisory Council

29 U.S.C. §765

Medicare Advisory Panel on Clinical Diagnostic Laboratory Tests

42 U.S.C. §1395m-1

National Asthma Education Prevention Program Coordinating Committeed

42 U.S.C. §285b-7b

Department of the Treasury

Advisory Committee on  Risk-Sharing Mechanisms

15 U.S.C. §6701 note

Treasury Tribal Advisory Committee

26 U.S.C. §139E note

Department of Agriculture

Alabama Resource Advisory Committee

16 U.S.C. §7125

Black Hills Resource Advisory Committee

16 U.S.C. §7125

National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board

7 U.S.C. §3123

Department of Veterans Affairs

Commission on Care

38 U.S.C. §1701 note

Source: Congressional Research Service analysis of the Federal Advisory Committee Act Database, at


a. Codification does not affect the duties or operations of a federal advisory committee.

b. According to Department of Defense (DOD) officials, the eight-year gap between enactment of the committee's establishing authority and its operations was caused by a department freeze on the implementation of new advisory committees as well as internal DOD disagreements over the ethics designations of the committee's membership.

c. According to Bureau of Labor Management officials, in FY2015, the Northeast California and Northwest California resource advisory councils (originally established in 1995) merged to become Northern California District Resource Advisory Council.

d. According to National Institutes of Health officials, the committee had been statutorily required since 2000, and had been operating outside of FACA's requirements. A restructuring of the committee's membership in FY2015 prompted institute officials to determine the committee should operate pursuant to FACA.