The President of the United States (POTUS) is the head of the American state and government, in addition to heading up the executive branch of the United States government. Together with the judicial and legislative branches, the president makes decisions about running the United States. The abbreviation “POTUS” was originally used by the Secret Service to refer to the president, and the term was adopted by the Department of Defense, along with other government agencies, in the 1990s. Most American citizens do not use the term, although many know what it means.
The duties and powers of the POTUS are laid out in Article Two of the United States Constitution, which details how the president will be elected, what he or she can do while in office, and the duties that the he or she is expected to fulfill while elected. The requirements to hold the office include a stipulation that the president must be a natural born American citizen of age 35 or older, although some lawmakers have tried to change these requirements to allow naturalized citizens to run for office as well. A term lasts for four years, and a president may be in office for two terms only. The president can be removed from office through a process called impeachment if he or she commits and act of treason, bribery, or another serious crime.
While in office, the president receives a salary, along with the right to access the White House in addition to other government held facilities and equipment such as specialized aircraft set aside for his or her use. The president's security is handled by the Secret Service, which also provides security to members of the president's family, and the equipment that the President uses. After leaving office, a former President gets a pension and is guarded by the Secret Service for the next 10 years: the last president to receive lifetime Secret Service protection was William Jefferson Clinton, who left office in 2000.
The POTUS is the only nationally elected figure in America and is technically elected by the Electoral College, not individual citizens. Within each state, citizens go to the polls to cast votes for their preferred candidate, and the board of electors for the state meets to affirm those votes. Traditionally, electors agree to vote for the candidate who won their state, although electors historically have been known to cast protest ballots, which are blank. These votes are certified by Congress shortly before the new president takes office.