"The Senior Executive Service (SES) was established by the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA; P.L. 95-454, 92 Stat. 1111). Congress created the SES to provide a government-wide, mobile corps of managers within federal agencies. The SES, comprising mostly career appointees who are chosen through a merit staffing process, is the link between the politically appointed heads of agencies and the career civil servants within those agencies. The creators of the SES envisioned it as a cadre of high-level managers in the government who would provide leadership for agencies across administrations and ensure productivity and efficiency within the government. The CSRA incentivized good performance among senior executives by basing their compensation on their performance. […] This report provides a history and background of the SES, examines the central features of the SES, and discusses some areas in which advocates for SES reform have called for change."
CRS Report for Congress, R41801