Senior Executive Service: An Overview [January 28, 2021]   [open pdf - 478KB]

From the Document: "The Senior Executive Service (SES) was established by the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (P.L. 95-454) to provide a government-wide cadre of high-level managers within federal agencies. The SES comprises mostly career appointees who are chosen through a merit staffing process and serve in policy, supervisory, and managerial positions above grade 15 of the General Schedule (GS). Most agencies have SES members, but some agencies are exempted by statute, including government corporations and certain intelligence and financial regulatory agencies. The SES was intended to create a link between the politically appointed leadership of agencies and career civil servants. The SES was to be the solution to frictions caused by sometimes differing objectives that each of these two groups may have, with the focus of political appointees often on instituting programmatic changes in line with the President's policy goals and the focus of career civil servants more on the technical details of program execution. In addition, the creation of the SES was partly intended to ease the transition period for new Presidents and their political appointees by providing incoming administrations with a flexible, responsive set of experienced leaders who could ensure that agencies were running smoothly through the change in leadership and beyond. This In Focus provides a brief overview of the SES, including types of positions, the process for and types of appointments to the SES, and compensation."

Report Number:
CRS In Focus, IF11743
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/
Media Type:
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