With annual revenues of more than $70 million, the U.S. Postal Service is an independent establishment of the executive branch of the United States government. It serves individual and commercial customers throughout the country. The Postal Service operates a strategic planning office that is responsible for managing its day-to-day functions. It operates a research and development facility for the design, development and testing of postal equipment and operating systems, as well as contracts with independent suppliers to conduct research activities. Established in 1971, the U.S. Postal Service s work force focuses on the movement of messages and merchandise throughout the world. It also provides retail services through over 4,000 contract postal units and community post offices. The Postal Service participates in community programs and initiatives, including recycling and food drives. The U.S. Postal Service maintains nearly 37,000 post offices, stations, branches, contract postal units and a network of consignees.