[USC02] 5 USC PART III, Subpart B, CHAPTER 31, SUBCHAPTER II: THE SENIOR EXECUTIVE SERVICE
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5 USC PART III, Subpart B, CHAPTER 31, SUBCHAPTER II: THE SENIOR EXECUTIVE SERVICE
From Title 5—GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATION AND EMPLOYEESPART III—EMPLOYEESSubpart B—Employment and RetentionCHAPTER 31—AUTHORITY FOR EMPLOYMENT

SUBCHAPTER II—THE SENIOR EXECUTIVE SERVICE

§3131. The Senior Executive Service

It is the purpose of this subchapter to establish a Senior Executive Service to ensure that the executive management of the Government of the United States is responsive to the needs, policies, and goals of the Nation and otherwise is of the highest quality. The Senior Executive Service shall be administered so as to—

(1) provide for a compensation system, including salaries, benefits, and incentives, and for other conditions of employment, designed to attract and retain highly competent senior executives;

(2) ensure that compensation, retention, and tenure are contingent on executive success which is measured on the basis of individual and organizational performance (including such factors as improvements in efficiency, productivity, quality of work or service, cost efficiency, and timeliness of performance and success in meeting equal employment opportunity goals);

(3) assure that senior executives are accountable and responsible for the effectiveness and productivity of employees under them;

(4) recognize exceptional accomplishment;

(5) enable the head of an agency to reassign senior executives to best accomplish the agency's mission;

(6) provide for severance pay, early retirement, and placement assistance for senior executives who are removed from the Senior Executive Service for nondisciplinary reasons;

(7) protect senior executives from arbitrary or capricious actions;

(8) provide for program continuity and policy advocacy in the management of public programs;

(9) maintain a merit personnel system free of prohibited personnel practices;

(10) ensure accountability for honest, economical, and efficient Government;

(11) ensure compliance with all applicable civil service laws, rules, and regulations, including those related to equal employment opportunity, political activity, and conflicts of interest;

(12) provide for the initial and continuing systematic development of highly competent senior executives;

(13) provide for an executive system which is guided by the public interest and free from improper political interference; and

(14) appoint career executives to fill Senior Executive Service positions to the extent practicable, consistent with the effective and efficient implementation of agency policies and responsibilities.

(Added Pub. L. 95–454, title IV, §402(a), Oct. 13, 1978, 92 Stat. 1154.)

Effective Date

Pub. L. 95–454, title IV, §415, Oct. 13, 1978, 92 Stat. 1179, provided that:

"(a)(1) The provisions of this title, other than sections 413 and 414(a) [enacting this subchapter and sections 2101a, 3391 to 3397, 3591 to 3595, 4311 to 4315, 4507, 5381 to 5385, 5752, and 7541 to 7543 of this title, amending sections 2102, 2103, 2108, 3109, 3501, 5311, 5331, 5504, 5541, 5595, 5723, 6304, 8336, and 8339 of this title, and enacting provisions set out as a note under section 5311 of this title], shall take effect 9 months after the date of the enactment of this Act [Oct. 13, 1978].

"(2) The provisions of section 413 of this title [set out as a note under section 3133 of this title] shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act [Oct. 13, 1978].

"(3) The provisions of section 414(a) of this title [amending sections 3104 and 5108 of this title and enacting provisions set out as notes under sections 3104 and 5108 of this title] shall take effect 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act [Oct. 13, 1978].

"(b)(1) The amendments made by sections 401 through 412 of this title [enacting this subchapter and sections 2101a, 3391 to 3397, 3591 to 3595, 4311 to 4315, 4507, 5381 to 5385, 5752, and 7541 to 7543 of this title, amending sections 2102, 2103, 2108, 3109, 3501, 5311, 5331, 5504, 5541, 5595, 5723, 6304, 8336, and 8339 of this title] shall continue to have effect unless, during the first period of 60 calendar days of continuous session of the Congress beginning after 5 years after the effective date of such amendments, a concurrent resolution is introduced and adopted by the Congress disapproving the continuation of the Senior Executive Service. Such amendments shall cease to have effect on the first day of the first fiscal year beginning after the date of the adoption of such concurrent resolution.

"(2) The continuity of a session is broken only by an adjournment of the Congress sine die, and the days on which either House is not in session because of an adjournment of more than 3 days to a day certain are excluded in the computation of the 60-day period.

"(3) The provisions of subsections (d), (e), (f), (g), (h), (i), (j), and (k) of section 5305 of title 5, United States Code, shall apply with respect to any concurrent resolution referred to in paragraph (1) of this subsection, except that for the purpose of this paragraph the reference in such subsection (e) to 10 calendar days shall be considered a reference to 30 calendar days.

"(4) During the 5-year period referred to in paragraph (1) of this subsection, the Director of the Office of Personnel Management shall include in each report required under section 3135 of title 5, United States Code (as added by this title) an evaluation of the effectiveness of the Senior Executive Service and the manner in which such Service is administered."

Congressional Findings Respecting Continuation of Senior Executive Service

Pub. L. 98–615, title III, §301, Nov. 8, 1984, 98 Stat. 3217, provided that: "The Congress finds that the Senior Executive Service should be continued indefinitely."

Ex. Ord. No. 13714. Strengthening the Senior Executive Service

Ex. Ord. No. 13714, Dec. 15, 2015, 80 F.R. 79225, provided:

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, in order to strengthen the recruitment, hiring, and development of the Federal Government's senior executives; I hereby order as follows:

Section 1. Policy. It is in the national interest to facilitate career executive continuity between administrations; to increase senior leadership attention to, and involvement in, executive recruitment; to reduce unnecessary burdens on applicants for executive positions; and to efficiently document demonstrated executive experience. Furthermore, it is imperative to periodically explore and promote new selection methods that effectively and efficiently identify the most capable and talented candidates for executive leadership positions to enhance the breadth and diversity of experiences among our Federal executives; to better support, recognize, and reward our executives, especially our top performers; and to strengthen executive accountability, all while maintaining a system that is focused on the public interest and free from improper political influence. An important aspect of strengthening our Senior Executive Service (SES) members is valuing the work they do every day, rewarding excellence, professionalism, and outstanding achievement through special act awards, Presidential Rank Awards, and other non-monetary and honorary awards. Consistent with the requirements of Executive Order 13583 of August 18, 2011 (Establishing a Coordinated Government-Wide Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce), and with merit-based principles, this order continues to support executive departments and agencies (agencies) to develop and implement a comprehensive, integrated, and strategic focus on diversity and inclusion as a key component of the recruitment, hiring, retention, and development of their SES cadre. Pursuing these goals will significantly improve the Federal Government's ability to serve the American people. Unless otherwise noted, this order applies to career members of the SES.

Section 2 of this order establishes, under the President's Management Council (PMC), a Subcommittee to advise the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the PMC, and the President on senior executive matters, help monitor execution of an important set of executive reforms contained in section 3 of this order, and help keep the Federal Government's executive management practices current and effective. In order to identify and maximize the use of best practices, requirements in sections [sic] 3(b)(i)–(iv) of this order will be implemented in three phases, with Phase I consisting of seven agencies, which will execute those reforms in fiscal year (FY) 2016; Phase II consisting of seven agencies, which will execute those reforms in FY 2017; and Phase III consisting of all other agencies, which will execute those reforms in FY 2018.

Sec. 2. Establishment of PMC Subcommittee to Strengthen the Senior Executive Service. There is established the PMC Subcommittee to Strengthen the Senior Executive Service (Subcommittee) to inform and support Government-wide priorities for improved management of senior executives identified by the Deputy Director for Management of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in consultation with the Director of OPM. The Subcommittee shall consist of five members of the PMC: the Deputy Director for Management of OMB, the Director of OPM, and three other members of the PMC. The Subcommittee will be advised by at least two career members of the SES to be determined by the members of the Subcommittee, and shall collaborate with the Chief Human Capital Officers Council. Expressions of interest to serve on the Subcommittee will be solicited, and final selections will be made by the Deputy Director for Management of OMB in consultation with the Director of OPM. The Subcommittee will advise OPM, members of the PMC, and the President on ways to strengthen and improve the SES workforce, as outlined in this order. In addition, it will identify any Government-wide obstacles it perceives to executive management, assist OPM in facilitating career executive continuity between administrations, and facilitate communication among the SES cadre.

Sec. 3. Requirements. Under the direction, or, in the case of sections 3(a)(i) and 3(b)(ii) of this order, the guidance, of the Director of OPM, and in consultation with OMB and the PMC Subcommittee, agencies shall undertake the following actions:

(a) Actions for Immediate Government-wide Implementation.

(i) Starting in FY 2017, agencies should limit their aggregate spending on agency performance awards for SES and Senior Level (SL) and Senior Scientific or Professional (ST) employees to 7.5 percent of aggregate SES and SL/ST salaries respectively. OMB and OPM shall undertake a review of, and revise as appropriate, their current guidance regarding aggregate spending on such awards. In addition, agencies should allocate awards in a manner that provides meaningfully greater rewards to top performers. Within 120 days of the date of this order, OPM shall issue, as appropriate, additional guidance regarding the distribution of such awards.

(ii) The heads of agencies with SES positions that supervise General Schedule (GS) employees shall implement policies, as permitted by and consistent with applicable law and regulation, for initial pay setting and pay adjustments, as appropriate, for career SES appointees to result in compensation exceeding the rates of pay, including locality pay, of their subordinate GS employees. Similar policies shall be implemented by heads of agencies for Senior Professional (i.e., SL or ST) employees that supervise GS employees. Such policies and practices support, recognize, and reward agency executives, especially top performers, in a manner commensurate with their roles, responsibilities, and contributions, and may increase the competitiveness of SES positions with comparable positions outside of Government.

(iii) Within 90 days of the date of this order, OPM shall evaluate the current Qualifications Review Board (QRB) process and issue guidance to agencies about materials that would be acceptable for QRB consideration and that will serve as an alternative or replacement to the current lengthy essay requirement for QRB submission, which may deter qualified applicants for SES positions or put an additional burden on human resources staff. The guidance shall also advise agencies about ways to streamline their initial application requirements for SES positions, including evaluation of options, such as allowing individuals to apply by only submitting a resume-based application and any additional materials necessary to determine relevant qualifications, consistent with the new QRB submission requirements.

(iv) Within 120 days of OPM issuing the guidance described in section 3(a)(iii) of this order, the heads of agencies with SES positions shall examine the agency's career SES hiring process and make changes to the process to make it more efficient, effective, and less burdensome for all participants. Agencies shall simplify the initial application requirements for SES positions consistent with the guidance issued in section 3(a)(iii) of this order, and should only request critically necessary technical qualifications, with the goal of minimizing requirements that may deter qualified applicants from applying. Agencies shall also monitor time to hire of SES positions, and identify appropriate process improvements or other changes that can help reduce time to hire while ensuring high quality of hires.

(v) By May 31, 2016, the heads of agencies with 20 or more SES positions shall develop and submit to OPM a 2-year plan to increase the number of SES members who are rotating to improve talent development, mission delivery and collaboration. While agency specific targets will not be required, this order establishes a Government-wide goal of 15 percent of SES members rotating for a minimum of 120 days (including to different departments, agencies, subcomponents, functional areas, sectors, and non-federal partners) during FY 2017, and thereafter, in order to ensure the mobility of the corps while also maintaining stability of operations. Within 45 days of the date of this order, OPM shall issue guidance for implementation of section 3(a)(v) of this order. OPM shall evaluate the percentages set forth in this subsection on an ongoing basis and make adjustments as necessary and appropriate. These plans shall take into consideration the policy priorities of the agency, agency needs and rules in the context of administration transitions, needs identified in agency hiring plans and succession plans, the development opportunities listed in individuals' Executive Development Plans (EDP), and the Federal Government's interest in cultivating generalist executives with broad and diverse experiences who can lead a variety of organizations. These plans shall build on existing succession management processes and those established in section 3(b)(i) of this order to ensure high potential and top performers have an opportunity to cycle through rotations. These plans shall also incorporate, as appropriate, flexibilities agencies have such as the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (implemented in 5 CFR part 334) to encourage SES members to pursue temporary assignments to State and local governments, colleges and universities, tribal governments, and other eligible organizations, and to better understand the impact of the Federal Government's work on those it serves. Finally, these plans shall include an assessment of the degree to which these rotation assignments achieve the desired goals for the individual and agency.

(b) Actions for Phased Implementation. Under the direction, or, in the case of section 3(b)(ii) of this order, the guidance, of the Director of OPM, in consultation with OMB and the PMC Subcommittee, the reforms listed in sections [sic] 3(b)(i)–(iv) of this order shall be implemented by agencies on the following schedule: the Secretaries of Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Veterans Affairs; the Administrator of General Services; and the Director of OPM shall implement these reforms by September 30, 2016; the Secretaries of Agriculture, Education, Labor, and Transportation, and the Administrators of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Small Business Administration shall implement these reforms by September 30, 2017; the Secretaries of State, the Treasury, the Interior, Commerce, and Homeland Security, the Attorney General, and the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, as well as the Directors of OMB and the National Science Foundation, shall implement these reforms by September 30, 2018. By October 1 of each year, OPM shall issue additional guidance after each phase of implementation that reflects lessons learned and any adjustments to these reforms based on the agencies that have implemented them. By the respective date specified above, the heads of agencies shall:

(i) Establish an annual talent management and succession planning process to assess the development needs of all SES members, and SL and ST employees as appropriate, to inform readiness decisions about hiring, career development, and executive reassignments and rotations. These assessments shall include input from each executive, as well as the executive's supervisor, and shall be used to recommend development activities and inform the organization's succession planning, decisions about duty assignments, and agency hiring plans;

(ii) Proactively recruit individuals for vacant SES positions and regularly review those recruitment efforts at the Deputy Secretary (or direct designee) level on at least a quarterly basis, consistent with existing rules and regulations. Establish a mechanism to track, and raise for appropriate senior-level attention, information about each position that agencies are seeking to fill, including, at a minimum, source of the recruitment, number, quality and diversity (as available) of applicants, source of applicants (subcomponent, agency or non-government), and timeliness of the hiring process. Use the talent management and succession planning process described in section 3(b)(i) of this order and agency hiring plans to inform these recruitment efforts; and develop a tailored outreach strategy for proactive recruitment for key strategic positions;

(iii) Require supervisors of executives in their agency to work with their subordinate executives to update EDPs for each executive required by 5 CFR part 412.401, to include at least one developmental activity annually and at least one leadership assessment involving employee feedback (for example, 360 degree-type reviews) every 3 years to inform each executive's developmental needs. In addition, non-career SES and equivalent appointees should also have one leadership assessment during their first 2 years, and additional assessments every 3 years thereafter; and

(iv) Establish a formal Executive Onboarding Program informed by OPM's Enhanced Executive Onboarding Model and Government-Wide Executive Onboarding Framework, which shall provide critical support and guidance to executives through their first year of service in new positions, consistent with guidance to be issued by OPM no later than 60 days after the date of this order. Onboarding shall be provided for career and non-career SES, SL and ST employees, and SES-equivalent positions.

Sec. 4. Additional Implementation Considerations. (a) Actions for Agencies with SES-Equivalent Positions. Certain agencies have independent authorities enabling them to establish positions that are equivalent to SES or Senior Professional positions, or an executive personnel system that includes such positions. Whether the positions or employment systems are established in title 5 (for example, FBI/DEA SES) or in other titles of the United States Code (for example, Senior Foreign Service, Defense Intelligence SES, Senior National Intelligence Service), the agency head shall determine the extent to which the agency implements policies and processes to support objectives identified in sections 3(a) and 3(b) of this order for such positions consistent with the agency's authorities and purposes for which the law provides them, with such consultation with the Director of OPM, OMB, and the PMC Subcommittee as the agency may require.

(b) Agency Status and Reporting. Within 45 days of the date of this order, OPM will issue guidance, concurrent with guidance in section 3(a)(v) of this order, that defines regular reporting on the status of each agency's implementation of the provisions in this order.

Sec. 5. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of OMB relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

Barack Obama.      

§3132. Definitions and exclusions

(a) For the purpose of this subchapter—

(1) "agency" means an Executive agency, except a Government corporation and the Government Accountability Office, but does not include—

(A) any agency or unit thereof excluded from coverage by the President under subsection (c) of this section; or

(B) the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, Department of Defense intelligence activities the civilian employees of which are subject to section 1590 of title 10, and, as determined by the President, an Executive agency, or unit thereof, whose principal function is the conduct of foreign intelligence or counterintelligence activities;

(C) the Federal Election Commission or the Election Assistance Commission;

(D) the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Office of Thrift Supervision,,1 the Resolution Trust Corporation, the Farm Credit Administration, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the National Credit Union Administration, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, and the Office of Financial Research;

(E) the Securities and Exchange Commission; or

(F) the Commodity Futures Trading Commission;


(2) "Senior Executive Service position" means any position in an agency which is classified above GS–15 pursuant to section 5108 or in level IV or V of the Executive Schedule, or an equivalent position, which is not required to be filled by an appointment by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and in which an employee—

(A) directs the work of an organizational unit;

(B) is held accountable for the success of one or more specific programs or projects;

(C) monitors progress toward organizational goals and periodically evaluates and makes appropriate adjustments to such goals;

(D) supervises the work of employees other than personal assistants; or

(E) otherwise exercises important policy-making, policy-determining, or other executive functions;


but does not include—

(i) any position in the Foreign Service of the United States;

(ii) an administrative law judge position under section 3105 of this title;

(iii) any position established as a qualified position in the excepted service by the Secretary of Homeland Security under section 226 2 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002; or

(iv) any position established as a qualified position in the excepted service by the Secretary of Defense under section 1599f of title 10;


(3) "senior executive" means a member of the Senior Executive Service;

(4) "career appointee" means an individual in a Senior Executive Service position whose appointment to the position or previous appointment to another Senior Executive Service position was based on approval by the Office of Personnel Management of the executive qualifications of such individual;

(5) "limited term appointee" means an individual appointed under a nonrenewable appointment for a term of 3 years or less to a Senior Executive Service position the duties of which will expire at the end of such term;

(6) "limited emergency appointee" means an individual appointed under a nonrenewable appointment, not to exceed 18 months, to a Senior Executive Service position established to meet a bona fide, unanticipated, urgent need;

(7) "noncareer appointee" means an individual in a Senior Executive Service position who is not a career appointee, a limited term appointee, or a limited emergency appointee;

(8) "career reserved position" means a position which is required to be filled by a career appointee and which is designated under subsection (b) of this section; and

(9) "general position" means any position, other than a career reserved position, which may be filled by either a career appointee, noncareer appointee, limited emergency appointee, or limited term appointee.


(b)(1) For the purpose of paragraph (8) of subsection (a) of this section, the Office shall prescribe the criteria and regulations governing the designation of career reserved positions. The criteria and regulations shall provide that a position shall be designated as a career reserved position only if the filling of the position by a career appointee is necessary to ensure impartiality, or the public's confidence in the impartiality, of the Government. The head of each agency shall be responsible for designating career reserved positions in such agency in accordance with such criteria and regulations.

(2) The Office shall periodically review general positions to determine whether the positions should be designated as career reserved. If the Office determines that any such position should be so designated, it shall order the agency to make the designation.

(3) Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law, any position to be designated as a Senior Executive Service position (except a position in the Executive Office of the President) which—

(A) is under the Executive Schedule, or for which the rate of basic pay is determined by reference to the Executive Schedule, and

(B) on the day before the date of the enactment of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 was specifically required under section 2102 of this title or otherwise required by law to be in the competitive service,


shall be designated as a career reserved position if the position entails direct responsibility to the public for the management or operation of particular government programs or functions.

(4) Not later than March 1 of each year, the head of each agency shall publish in the Federal Register a list of positions in the agency which were career reserved positions during the preceding calendar year.

(c) An agency may file an application with the Office setting forth reasons why it, or a unit thereof, should be excluded from the coverage of this subchapter. The Office shall—

(1) review the application and stated reasons,

(2) undertake a review to determine whether the agency or unit should be excluded from the coverage of this subchapter, and

(3) upon completion of its review, recommend to the President whether the agency or unit should be excluded from the coverage of this subchapter.


If the Office recommends that an agency or unit thereof be excluded from the coverage of this subchapter, the President may, on written determination, make the exclusion for the period determined by the President to be appropriate.

(d) Any agency or unit which is excluded from coverage under subsection (c) of this section shall make a sustained effort to bring its personnel system into conformity with the Senior Executive Service to the extent practicable.

(e) The Office may at any time recommend to the President that any exclusion previously granted to an agency or unit thereof under subsection (c) of this section be revoked. Upon recommendation of the Office, the President may revoke, by written determination, any exclusion made under subsection (c) of this section.

(f) If—

(1) any agency is excluded under subsection (c) of this section, or

(2) any exclusion is revoked under subsection (e) of this section,


the Office shall, within 30 days after the action, transmit to the Congress written notice of the exclusion or revocation.

(Added Pub. L. 95–454, title IV, §402(a), Oct. 13, 1978, 92 Stat. 1155; amended Pub. L. 96–54, §2(a)(12), Aug. 14, 1979, 93 Stat. 382; Pub. L. 96–187, title II, §203, Jan. 8, 1980, 93 Stat. 1368; Pub. L. 100–325, §2(c), May 30, 1988, 102 Stat. 581; Pub. L. 101–73, title VII, §742(c), Aug. 9, 1989, 103 Stat. 437; Pub. L. 101–509, title V, §529 [title I, §101(b)(9)(A)], Nov. 5, 1990, 104 Stat. 1427, 1441; Pub. L. 101–624, title XVIII, §1841, Nov. 28, 1990, 104 Stat. 3835; Pub. L. 102–496, title IV, §402(b), Oct. 24, 1992, 106 Stat. 3184; Pub. L. 102–550, title XIII, §1351(b), Oct. 28, 1992, 106 Stat. 3969; Pub. L. 103–359, title V, §501(d), Oct. 14, 1994, 108 Stat. 3429; Pub. L. 104–201, div. A, title XI, §1122(a)(1), Sept. 23, 1996, 110 Stat. 2687; Pub. L. 107–123, §8(d)(1)(B), Jan. 16, 2002, 115 Stat. 2399; Pub. L. 107–171, title X, §10702(c)(1), May 13, 2002, 116 Stat. 517; Pub. L. 107–252, title VIII, §811(b), Oct. 29, 2002, 116 Stat. 1727; Pub. L. 108–271, §8(b), July 7, 2004, 118 Stat. 814; Pub. L. 110–289, div. A, title I, §1161(g)(2), July 30, 2008, 122 Stat. 2781; Pub. L. 110–417, [div. A], title IX, §931(a)(1), Oct. 14, 2008, 122 Stat. 4575; Pub. L. 111–203, title I, §152(d)(4), July 21, 2010, 124 Stat. 1414; Pub. L. 112–277, title V, §505(b), Jan. 14, 2013, 126 Stat. 2478; Pub. L. 113–277, §3(b), Dec. 18, 2014, 128 Stat. 3008; Pub. L. 114–92, div. A, title XI, §1107(b), Nov. 25, 2015, 129 Stat. 1027.)

References in Text

Level IV or V of the Executive Schedule, referred to in subsec. (a)(2), are set out in sections 5315 and 5316 of this title.

Section 226 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, referred to in cl. (iii) of concluding provisions of subsec. (a)(2), probably means the section 226 of Pub. L. 107–296 as added by Pub. L. 113–277, §3(a), Dec. 18, 2014, 128 Stat. 3005, which was renumbered section 2208 of Pub. L. 107–296 by Pub. L. 115–278, §2(g)(2)(I), Nov. 16, 2018, 132 Stat. 4178, and is classified to section 658 of Title 6, Domestic Security.

The date of the enactment of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, referred to in subsec. (b)(3), is the date of the enactment of Pub. L. 95–454, which was approved Oct. 13, 1978.

Amendments

2015—Subsec. (a)(2). Pub. L. 114–92 added cl. (iv) of concluding provisions.

2014—Subsec. (a)(2). Pub. L. 113–277 added cl. (iii) of concluding provisions.

2013—Subsec. (a)(1)(B). Pub. L. 112–277 inserted "the Office of the Director of National Intelligence," after "the Central Intelligence Agency,".

2010—Subsec. (a)(1)(D). Pub. L. 111–203 substituted "the National Credit Union Administration, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, and the Office of Financial Research;" for "and the National Credit Union Administration;".

2008—Subsec. (a)(1)(B). Pub. L. 110–417 substituted "National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency" for "National Imagery and Mapping Agency".

Pub. L. 110–289, §1161(g)(2)(A), substituted ", and" for ",, and".

Subsec. (a)(1)(D). Pub. L. 110–289, §1161(g)(2)(B), struck out "the Federal Housing Finance Board" after "the Office of Thrift Supervision,", substituted "the Federal Housing Finance Agency" for "the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight of the Department of Housing and Urban Development", and struck out "or or" at end.

Subsec. (a)(1)(E), (F). Pub. L. 110–289, §1161(g)(2)(C), (D), inserted "or" at end of subpar. (E), relating to Securities and Exchange Commission, and redesignated subpar. (E), relating to Commodity Futures Trading Commission, as (F).

2004—Subsec. (a)(1). Pub. L. 108–271 substituted "Government Accountability Office" for "General Accounting Office" in introductory provisions.

2002—Subsec. (a)(1)(C). Pub. L. 107–252, §811(b), inserted "or the Election Assistance Commission" after "Commission".

Pub. L. 107–171, §10702(c)(1)(A), which directed amendment by striking "or" at the end, could not be executed because the word "or" did not appear at the end. See below.

Pub. L. 107–123, §8(d)(1)(B)(i), struck out "or" at end.

Subsec. (a)(1)(D). Pub. L. 107–171, §10702(c)(1)(B), inserted "or" at end.

Pub. L. 107–123, §8(d)(1)(B)(ii), inserted "or" at end.

Subsec. (a)(1)(E). Pub. L. 107–171, §10702(c)(1)(C), added subpar. (E) relating to Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Pub. L. 107–123, §8(d)(1)(B)(iii), added subpar. (E) relating to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

1996—Subsec. (a)(1)(B). Pub. L. 104–201 substituted "National Imagery and Mapping Agency" for "Central Imagery Office".

1994—Subsec. (a)(1)(B). Pub. L. 103–359 inserted "the Central Imagery Office," after "Defense Intelligence Agency,".

1992—Subsec. (a)(1)(B). Pub. L. 102–496 inserted ", Department of Defense intelligence activities the civilian employees of which are subject to section 1590 of title 10," after "National Security Agency".

Subsec. (a)(1)(D). Pub. L. 102–550 inserted "the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight of the Department of Housing and Urban Development," after "Farm Credit Administration,".

1990—Subsec. (a)(1)(D). Pub. L. 101–624 inserted reference to Farm Credit Administration.

Subsec. (a)(2). Pub. L. 101–509 substituted "classified above GS–15 pursuant to section 5108" for "in GS–16, 17, or 18 of the General Schedule".

1989—Subsec. (a)(1)(D). Pub. L. 101–73 added subpar. (D).

1988—Subsec. (a)(1)(B). Pub. L. 100–325, §2(c)(1), inserted reference to Drug Enforcement Administration.

Subsec. (a)(2)(iii). Pub. L. 100–235, §2(c)(2), struck out cl. (iii) which read as follows: "any position in the Drug Enforcement Administration which is excluded from the competitive service under section 201 of the Crime Control Act of 1976 (5 U.S.C. 5108 note; 90 Stat. 2425);".

1980—Subsec. (a)(1)(C). Pub. L. 96–187 added subpar. (C).

1979—Subsec. (a)(1)(B). Pub. L. 96–54 inserted "and," after "Security Agency,".

Effective Date of 2010 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 111–203 effective 1 day after July 21, 2010, except as otherwise provided, see section 4 of Pub. L. 111–203, set out as an Effective Date note under section 5301 of Title 12, Banks and Banking.

Effective Date of 2008 Amendment

Pub. L. 110–289, div. A , title I, §1163, July 30, 2008, 122 Stat. 2782, provided that: "Except as otherwise specifically provided in this title [see Tables for classification], this title and the amendments made by this title shall take effect on, and shall apply beginning on, the date of enactment of this Act [July 30, 2008]."

Effective Date of 2002 Amendments

Amendment by Pub. L. 107–252 effective upon appointment of all members of the Election Assistance Commission under section 20923 of Title 52, Voting and Elections, see section 21134(a) of Title 52.

Amendment by Pub. L. 107–123 effective Oct. 1, 2001, see section 11 of Pub. L. 107–123, set out as a note under section 78ee of Title 15, Commerce and Trade.

Effective Date of 1996 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 104–201 effective Oct. 1, 1996, see section 1124 of Pub. L. 104–201, set out as a note under section 193 of Title 10, Armed Forces.

Effective Date of 1990 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 101–509 effective on such date as the President shall determine, but not earlier than 90 days, and not later than 180 days, after Nov. 5, 1990, see section 529 [title III, §305] of Pub. L. 101–509, set out as a note under section 5301 of this title.

Effective Date of 1980 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 96–187 effective on Jan. 8, 1980, see section 301(a) of Pub. L. 96–187, set out as a note under section 30101 of Title 52, Voting and Elections.

Effective Date of 1979 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 96–54 effective July 12, 1979, see section 2(b) of Pub. L. 96–54, set out as a note under section 305 of this title.

Effective Date

Section effective 9 months after Oct. 13, 1978, and congressional review of provisions of sections 401 through 412 of Pub. L. 95–454, see section 415(a)(1), (b), of Pub. L. 95–454, set out as a note under section 3131 of this title.

Construction

Pub. L. 112–166, §2(hh), Aug. 10, 2012, 126 Stat. 1290, provided that: "Notwithstanding section 3132(a)(2) of title 5, United States Code, removal of Senate confirmation for any position in this section shall not—

"(1) result in any such position being placed in the Senior Executive Service; or

"(2) alter compensation for any such position under the Executive Schedule or other applicable compensation provisions of law."

1 So in original.

2 So in original. See References in Text note below.

§3133. Authorization of positions; authority for appointment

(a) During each even-numbered calendar year, each agency shall—

(1) examine its needs for Senior Executive Service positions for each of the 2 fiscal years beginning after such calendar year; and

(2) submit to the Office of Personnel Management a written request for a specific number of Senior Executive Service positions for each of such fiscal years.


(b) Each agency request submitted under subsection (a) of this section shall—

(1) be based on the anticipated type and extent of program activities and budget requests of the agency for each of the 2 fiscal years involved, and such other factors as may be prescribed from time to time by the Office; and

(2) identify, by position title, positions which are proposed to be designated as or removed from designation as career reserved positions, and set forth justifications for such proposed actions.


(c) The Office of Personnel Management, in consultation with the Office of Management and Budget, shall review the request of each agency and shall authorize, for each of the 2 fiscal years covered by requests required under subsection (a) of this section, a specific number of Senior Executive Service positions for each agency. Beginning in 2023, the number of such positions authorized under the preceding sentence for the Department of Defense may not exceed the limitation provided in section 1109 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017.

(d)(1) The Office of Personnel Management may, on a written request of an agency or on its own initiative, make an adjustment in the number of positions authorized for any agency. Each agency request under this paragraph shall be submitted in such form, and shall be based on such factors, as the Office shall prescribe.

(2) The total number of positions in the Senior Executive Service may not at any time during any fiscal year exceed 105 percent of the total number of positions authorized under subsection (c) of this section for such fiscal year.

(e)(1) Not later than July 1, 1979, and from time to time thereafter as the Director of the Office of Personnel Management finds appropriate, the Director shall establish, by rule issued in accordance with section 1103(b) of this title, the number of positions out of the total number of positions in the Senior Executive Service, as authorized by this section or section 413 of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, which are to be career reserved positions. Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, the number of positions required by this subsection to be career reserved positions shall not be less than the number of the positions then in the Senior Executive Service which, before the date of such Act, were authorized to be filled only through competitive civil service examination.

(2) The Director may, by rule, designate a number of career reserved positions which is less than the number required by paragraph (1) of this subsection only if the Director determines such lesser number necessary in order to designate as general positions one or more positions (other than positions described in section 3132(b)(3) of this title) which—

(A) involve policymaking responsibilities which require the advocacy or management of programs of the President and support of controversial aspects of such programs;

(B) involve significant participation in the major political policies of the President; or

(C) require the senior executives in the positions to serve as personal assistants of, or advisers to, Presidential appointees.


The Director shall provide a full explanation for his determination in each case.

(Added Pub. L. 95–454, title IV, §402(a), Oct. 13, 1978, 92 Stat. 1158; amended Pub. L. 114–328, div. A, title XI, §1109(c), Dec. 23, 2016, 130 Stat. 2449.)

References in Text

Section 1109 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, referred to in subsec. (c), is section 1109 of Pub. L. 114–328, set out as a note below.

Section 413 of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, referred to in subsec. (e)(1), is section 413 of Pub. L. 95–454, set out as a note below.

The date of such Act, referred to in subsec. (e)(1), probably means Oct. 13, 1978, the date of the enactment of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978.

Amendments

2016—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 114–328 inserted at end "Beginning in 2023, the number of such positions authorized under the preceding sentence for the Department of Defense may not exceed the limitation provided in section 1109 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017."

Effective Date

Section effective 9 months after Oct. 13, 1978, and congressional review of provisions of sections 401 through 412 of Pub. L. 95–454, see section 415(a)(1), (b), of Pub. L. 95–454, set out as a note under section 3131 of this title.

Limitation on Number of DOD SES Positions

Pub. L. 114–328, div. A, title XI, §1109, Dec. 23, 2016, 130 Stat. 2449, provided that:

"(a) Limitation on Number of DOD SES Positions.—

"(1) In general.—Not later than December 31, 2022, the total number of Senior Executive Service positions authorized under section 3133 of title 5, United States Code, for the Department of Defense may not exceed 1,260.

"(2) Highly qualified experts.—Of the total number of positions authorized under paragraph (1), not more than 200 of such positions may be occupied by an individual appointed under the authority provided in section 9903 of such title.

"(b) Plan to Achieve Required Limitation.—

"(1) In general.—The Secretary of Defense shall develop a plan to achieve the limitation required by subsection (a) that includes—

"(A) the distribution of Senior Executive Service positions across the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Military Departments, the Defense Agencies and Field Activities, the unified and specified combatant commands, and other key elements of the Department of Defense;

"(B) the by-year reductions to Senior Executive Service positions consistent with the distribution required under subparagraph (A); and

"(C) recommendations for any legislative action that may be necessary for personnel management and shaping authorities to achieve the required limitation.

"(2) Submission of plan.—Not less than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act [Dec. 23, 2016], the Secretary of Defense shall submit to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives a report setting forth the plan developed under paragraph (1).

"(3) Progress reports.—The Secretary of Defense shall provide to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives semi-annual progress report briefings describing and assessing the progress of the Secretary in implementing the plan developed under paragraph (1).

"(c) Conforming Amendment.—[Amended section 3133(c) of this title.]

"(d) Definition of Senior Executive Service Position.—In this section, the term 'Senior Executive Service position' has the meaning given such term in section 3132(a)(2) of title 5, United States Code."

Conversion to Senior Executive Service

Pub. L. 95–454, title IV, §413, Oct. 13, 1978, 92 Stat. 1175, provided that:

"(a) For the purpose of this section, 'agency', 'Senior Executive Service position', 'career appointee', 'career reserved position', 'limited term appointee', 'noncareer appointee', and 'general position' have the meanings set forth in section 3132(a) of title 5, United States Code (as added by this title) and 'Senior Executive Service' has the meaning set forth in section 2101a of such title 5 (as added by this title).

"(b)(1) Under the guidance of the Office of Personnel Management, each agency shall—

"(A) designate those positions which it considers should be Senior Executive Service positions and designate which of those positions it considers should be career reserved positions; and

"(B) submit to the Office a written request for—

"(i) a specific number of Senior Executive Service positions; and

"(ii) authority to employ a specific number of noncareer appointees.

"(2) The Office of Personnel Management shall review the designations and requests of each agency under paragraph (1) of this subsection, and shall establish interim authorizations in accordance with sections 3133 and 3134 of title 5, United States Code (as added by this Act), and shall publish the titles of the authorized positions in the Federal Register.

"(c)(1) Each employee serving in a position at the time it is designated as a Senior Executive Service position under subsection (b) of this section shall elect to—

"(A) decline conversion and be appointed to a position under such employee's current type of appointment and pay system, retaining the grade, seniority, and other rights and benefits associated with such type of appointment and pay system; or

"(B) accept conversion and be appointed to a Senior Executive Service position in accordance with the provisions of subsections (d), (e), (f), (g), and (h) of this section.

The appointment of an employee in an agency because of an election under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph shall not result in the separation or reduction in grade of any other employee in such agency.

"(2) Any employee in a position which has been designated a Senior Executive Service position under this section shall be notified in writing of such designation, the election required under paragraph (1) of this subsection, and the provisions of subsections (d), (e), (f), (g), and (h) of this section. The employee shall be given 90 days from the date of such notification to make the election under paragraph (1) of this subsection.

"(d) Each employee who has elected to accept conversion to a Senior Executive Service position under subsection (c)(1)(B) of this section and who is serving under—

"(1) a career or career-conditional appointment; or

"(2) a similar type of appointment in an excepted service position, as determined by the Office;

in a position which is designated as a Senior Executive Service position shall be appointed as a career appointee to such Senior Executive Service position without regard to section 3393(b)–(e) of title 5, United States Code (as added by this title).

"(e) Each employee who has elected conversion to a Senior Executive Service position under subsection (c)(1)(B) of this section and who is serving under an excepted appointment in a position which is not designated a career reserved position in the Senior Executive Service, but is—

"(1) a position in Schedule C of subpart C of part 213 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations;

"(2) a position filled by noncareer executive assignment under subpart F of part 305 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations; or

"(3) a position in the Executive Schedule under subchapter II of chapter 53 of title 5, United States Code [section 5311 et seq. of this title], other than a career Executive Schedule position;

shall be appointed as a noncareer appointee to a Senior Executive Service position.

"(f) Each employee who has elected conversion to a Senior Executive Service position under subsection (c)(1)(B) of this section, who is serving in a position described in paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of subsection (e) of this section, and whose position is designated as a career reserved position under subsection (b) of this section shall be appointed as a noncareer appointee to an appropriate general position in the Senior Executive Service or shall be separated.

"(g) Each employee who has elected conversion to a Senior Executive Service position under subsection (c)(1)(B) of this section, who is serving in a position described in paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of subsection (e) of this section, and whose position is designated as a Senior Executive Service position and who has reinstatement eligibility to a position in the competitive service, may, on request to the Office, be appointed as a career appointee to a Senior Executive Service position. The name of, and basis for reinstatement eligibility for, each employee appointed as a career appointee under this subsection shall be published in the Federal Register.

"(h) Each employee who has elected conversion to a Senior Executive Service position under subsection (c)(1)(B) of this section and who is serving under a limited executive assignment under subpart F of part 305 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, shall—

"(1) be appointed as a limited term appointee to a Senior Executive Service position if the position then held by such employee will terminate within 3 years of the date of such appointment;

"(2) be appointed as a noncareer appointee to a Senior Executive Service position if the position then held by such employee is designated as a general position; or

"(3) be appointed as a noncareer appointee to a general position if the position then held by such employee is designated as a career reserved position.

"(i) The rate of basic pay for any employee appointed to a Senior Executive Service position under this section shall be greater than or equal to the rate of basic pay payable for the position held by such employee at the time of such appointment.

"(j) Any employee who is aggrieved by any action by any agency under this section is entitled to appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board under section 7701 of title 5, United States Code (as added by this title). An agency shall take any corrective action which the Board orders in its decision on an appeal under this subsection.

"(k) The Office shall prescribe regulations to carry out the purpose of this section."

[Pub. L. 95–454, title IV, §415(a)(2), Oct. 13, 1978, 92 Stat. 1179, provided that section 413 [set out above] is effective Oct. 13, 1978.]

§3134. Limitations on noncareer and limited appointments

(a) During each calendar year, each agency shall—

(1) examine its needs for employment of noncareer appointees for the fiscal year beginning in the following year; and

(2) submit to the Office of Personnel Management, in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Office, a written request for authority to employ a specific number of noncareer appointees for such fiscal year.


(b) The number of noncareer appointees in each agency shall be determined annually by the Office on the basis of demonstrated need of the agency. The total number of noncareer appointees in all agencies may not exceed 10 percent of the total number of Senior Executive Service positions in all agencies.

(c) Subject to the 10 percent limitation of subsection (b) of this section, the Office may adjust the number of noncareer positions authorized for any agency under subsection (b) of this section if emergency needs arise that were not anticipated when the original authorizations were made.

(d) The number of Senior Executive Service positions in any agency which are filled by noncareer appointees may not at any time exceed the greater of—

(1) 25 percent of the total number of Senior Executive Service positions in the agency; or

(2) the number of positions in the agency which were filled on the date of the enactment of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 by—

(A) noncareer executive assignments under subpart F of part 305 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, as in effect on such date, or

(B) appointments to level IV or V of the Executive Schedule which were not required on such date to be made by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.


This subsection shall not apply in the case of any agency having fewer than 4 Senior Executive Service positions.

(e) The total number of limited emergency appointees and limited term appointees in all agencies may not exceed 5 percent of the total number of Senior Executive Service positions in all agencies.

(Added Pub. L. 95–454, title IV, §402(a), Oct. 13, 1978, 92 Stat. 1159.)

References in Text

The date of enactment of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, referred to in subsec. (d)(2), is the date of enactment of Pub. L. 95–454, which was approved Oct. 13, 1978.

Level IV or V of the Executive Schedule, referred to in subsec. (d)(2)(B), are set out in sections 5315 and 5316 of this title.

Effective Date

Section effective 9 months after Oct. 13, 1978, and congressional review of provisions of sections 401 through 412 of Pub. L. 95–454, see section 415(a)(1), (b), of Pub. L. 95–454, set out as a note under section 3131 of this title.

[§3135. Repealed. Pub. L. 104–66, title II, §2181(a)(1), Dec. 21, 1995, 109 Stat. 732]

Section, added Pub. L. 95–454, title IV, §402(a), Oct. 13, 1978, 92 Stat. 1159; amended Pub. L. 98–168, title III, §301(b), Nov. 29, 1983, 97 Stat. 1112; Pub. L. 98–615, title III, §306(a), Nov. 8, 1984, 98 Stat. 3219, directed Office of Personnel Management to submit reports to Congress relating to Senior Executive Service.

§3136. Regulations

The Office of Personnel Management shall prescribe regulations to carry out the purpose of this subchapter.

(Added Pub. L. 95–454, title IV, §402(a), Oct. 13, 1978, 92 Stat. 1160.)

Effective Date

Section effective 9 months after Oct. 13, 1978, and congressional review of provisions of sections 401 through 412 of Pub. L. 95–454, see section 415(a)(1), (b), of Pub. L. 95–454, set out as a note under section 3131 of this title.