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The Senior Executive Service (SES)

The Senior Executive Service (SES) is a corps of men and women who administer public programs at the highest levels of Federal Government utilizing well-honed executive skills and broad perspectives of government and public service. Positions are primarily managerial and supervisory and serve just below top Presidential appointees forming a vital link between these appointees and the rest of the Federal workforce. Members of the SES are selected according to their leadership qualifications based on criteria established by the Office of Personnel Management which manages the overall Federal executive personnel system.
The SES was established by the Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA) of 1978 as a unique personnel system separate from the competitive and excepted services.

SES positions are within the executive branch of the Federal government that are classified above the GS-15 level, or an equivalent position, these positions are not required to be filled by Presidential appointment with Senate confirmation, and the incumbent.