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 over 145 million residences and businesses throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. The U.S. Postal Service maintains nearly 37,000 post offices, stations, branches, contract postal units and a network of consignees. Established in 1971, it manages a staff of approximately 696,000 employees. The Postal Service s Office of Strategic Planning is responsible for the management of its day-to-day functions. It operates a research and development facility in Virginia for the design, development and testing of postal equipment and operating systems, as well as contracts with independent suppliers to conduct research activities. The U.S. Postal Service offers the Express Mail service for the delivery of time-sensitive letters, documents and merchandise. It also provides the First-Class Mail service that includes the delivery of large envelopes, postcards and small packages. The U.S. Postal Service additionally participates in community programs and initiatives, such as recycling and food drives.