I like much of this. I think the trick to ministers is high enough that you can manage them, mayor of cities, i think is a bit much. But what about emergency response commands at strategic locations? I.e. what would a nation do if an earthquake hit California, or oil spill in the gulf, a semi-automated task force that you, as president help setup (i.e. you donate humvee's and ships and things to these government agencies to support supply transports, etc but they run somewhat independant (just requesting approval to dispatch? review a few streategy/options (maybe one is quicker, cheaper but not good quality therefore affecting the region longer, another option is more expensive but does a better job and take a little longer, etc etc).
I personalyl would like to choose who I want to head these groups as well as select combat orientated people, like generals and admirals, I need a pacific fleet, an admiral, where stationed in hawaii or aboard a ship) I can choose their orders. The area's can even be split up, you can have a NoAM Fleet (patrols off the west coast, up toward Canada down to the border) An Asian fleet which covers from northerns Japan down to Indonasia. SoPac Feelt, covering Austrlia and western SoAmerica. etc etc.
Then its assigning those units with tasks. Such as "Enemy Sub Search and Destory" or "Intelligence" (know where ships are in the pacaific, are they friendly? did you encounter an sub of unknown origin? Do you want to track and follow it? You can also incorporate supply management, if I have an operation active in Asia (maybe I'm helping south korea fight north korea) i set the NoAM Fleet to coordinate getting troops, units and supplies across the ocean the Asian fleet can be do enemy recon, sub hunting, or whatever.
Going to ministers, I need to have them specialize in certain areas, for example, my defense secratary, maybe one was a former general, the other ex-CIA. The general gives me more effective units and less battlefield casulties. The ex-CIA candidate has better contact with foriegn intelligence services and gives you intell on other nations activities and intentions and effectiveness in espionage and sabatoge activities. each could add some abilities, i.e. general adds more combat strategies (i.e. leverages air support more and special forces to pinpoint strategic objectives minimizing additional casualties (kind of like an extension in the troops options today where you can have units "move carefully")). the CIA one can maybe have some additional operations like "secret prison" for blackops/special forces missions, go into a country, a qucik slam, caputre target, get the hell out before anyone understands what's going on, frame militant group, start internal conflict, interrogate prisoner (ethical decision (results in chance of world finding ut and their reaction) do you result to torture or lose potentially valuable information?).
I would like to see other roles, but keep to minimal need use only. Like something to generate business or city growth?
I like many of the other suggestions as well, cargo trains, animated movement, more things on the road = busier trader/economy/whatever.
I like the spreadsheet type concept, there is a lot of data we need a way to review it and improve decision making. I would recommend also looking at the simcity ordinance style interface as a way to improve some of this too. I can bring up the map, the water works, road traffic, etc and see what areas need help, I also can graph it, is crime growing the past year, 5 years, decade, etc. Obviously it would need ot be tailors to relevant areas for this game.