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Biennial Review of Executive Resources Allocations for Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019

Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Biennial Review of Executive Resources Allocations for Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019

This memorandum provides information and guidance to Federal Departments, Agencies, and Offices of Inspectors General for the submission to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) of a written request for a specific number of Senior Executive Service (SES), Senior Level (SL), and Scientific/Professional (ST) positions for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 and FY 2019. 

Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 3133(a), Federal agencies are required – during each even-numbered calendar year (CY) – to examine their needs for SES positions for each of the two fiscal years beginning after such calendar year, and to submit to OPM a written request for any changes.  Since 2016 is an even-numbered calendar year, agencies are required to conduct an examination of their SES position needs for FY 2018 and FY 2019, and must submit a written request to OPM, by December 30, 2016, for a specific number of SES positions for FY 2018 and FY 2019.  By practice, Federal agencies also conduct the same examination and submit a similar written request to OPM for their positions in the SL and ST pay systems. 

In light of the upcoming change in Presidential administration, OPM expects agencies will limit requests for changes to their executive allocations to support the prerogative of incoming agency heads to have the opportunity to determine mission priorities and workforce planning decisions.  Therefore, OPM will primarily give consideration to requests based upon new or changed legislation, unforeseen exigent needs, and those submitted by agency heads whose appointments will continue across the change in administration.*  At this time, justifications based on reorganizations or ongoing initiatives (including mission expansion) are strongly discouraged from being submitted, and agencies should refrain from requesting additional allocations for positions that will report directly to an agency head who has not yet been appointed.  We understand this may result in the need for agencies to submit out-of-cycle allocation requests upon appointment of new agency heads. 

OPM administers the executive resources biennial allocation process to conduct an enterprise-level review of organizational missions, plans, and structures and assess whether executive resources are being used in the most efficient manner.  To further support the upcoming transition in administration and the decision-making of incoming agency heads, OPM is extending the due date for the submission of the detailed justifications until May 2, 2017, for this current biennial allocation review cycle. 

The following Agency submissions and deadlines apply for the FY 2018-FY 2019 executive resources (i.e., SES, SL, and ST positions) allocation process: 

  • By December 30, 2016,  allagencies must complete and submit the attached Biennial Allocations Request template indicating their intent to:  a.) maintain, increase or decrease their established executive resources allocations  (i.e., SES, SL, and ST positions), and/or b.) request changes in their executive resources allocations, such as a re-designation of positions (e.g., from General to Career Reserved), or a conversion of existing allocations, (e.g., from SES to SL), for FY 2018 and FY 2019. 
  • By May 2, 2017, agencies requesting changes to their executive resources allocations for FY 2018 and FY 2019 must also submit detailed written justifications and documentation to OPM, consistent with the attached guidance. 

While requirements may vary from one biennial cycle to another, the following provides additional general information agencies must ultimately submit for requests for additional allocations, which are due to OPM by May 2, 2017: 

  • Identification of specific positions (by title and organizational location) for which any additional executive spaces are sought and the basis for determining these needs;
  • Description of the particular circumstances giving rise to the needs (e.g., legislative mandate or presidential directive, new agency mission, etc.);
  • Specific results expected from each additional position and impact to agency mission and/or administration goals;
  • Identification of funding or other resources to support the new allocations, including reprogramming of resources and revision to functions within each agency, aligned to agency priorities;
  • Prioritization of all established and proposed positions (vacant, encumbered, or temporary) by their relative significance and impact to agencies’ mission requirements (i.e., agency-wide goals and objectives); 
  • Numbers of vacant positions, and length of time positions remain vacant; and
  • The extent to which individual positions meet SES functional criteria. 

The following documents are attached to assist agencies in developing their submissions for the FY 2018-FY 2019 executive resources allocation process: 

  • FY 2018-FY 2019 Executive Resources Biennial Allocation(s) Request template
  • Executive Resources Biennial Allocations Guidance 

Agencies are required to electronically transmit the two above-referenced submissions, pursuant to the instructions provided in the attached guidance. 

If you or your staff have any questions or require any assistance, please contact:  Phyllis Proctor by telephone at (202) 606-2683 or e-mail at, or Laura Lynch by telephone at (202) 606-2773 or e-mail at

*On November 7, 2016, President Barack Obama requested letters of resignation from all non-termed presidential appointees by December 07, 2016, and the following categories of appointees were exempted from this request:  U.S. Marshals; U.S. Attorneys; Inspectors General; Appointees serving in termed appointments; Appointees of independent and regulatory agencies headed by termed appointees; and Appointees serving on part-time boards and commissions. 

cc:  Chief Human Capital Officers and Human Resources Directors 

Attachments (see PDFs below)