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Thurid Hustedt

These days leadership staff units in German federal ministries perform a distinct advisory role. Over time the former small assistance units have developed into fully fledged staff units, the heads of which, in particular, serve as close and confidant advisers to ministers. That is, although not appointed under special conditions or introduced by a formal reform process, they serve as the functional equivalents to the special or ministerial advisers found elsewhere. This chapter explores the emergence, contribution and role of the staff units and argues that the institutionalization of the relationship between politics and administration accounts for the smooth and silent emergence of the advisory role.