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Call for Biennial Review Submission for Executive Allocations for Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021 (Part I)

Friday, December 14, 2018
Call for Biennial Review Submission for Executive Allocations for Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021 (Part I)

This memorandum is a call for agencies to submit requests to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for a specific number of Senior Executive Service (SES), Senior Level (SL), and Scientific/Professional (ST) allocations for Fiscal Years (FY) 2020 and 2021. 

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. 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. 

By December 31, 2018, allagencies must complete and submit the “FY 2020-2021 Biennial Review – Agency Response Template” (attached) indicating their intent to: 

  • maintain, increase or decrease their established executive resources allocations  (i.e., SES, SL, and ST positions); and/or
  • request changes in their current executive resources allocations, such as a conversion of existing allocations, (e.g., from SES to SL or ST), or a redesignation of positions (e.g., from General to Career Reserved). 

OPM expects agencies to be judicious in making requests for additional allocations.  Agency assessments should include a rigorous evaluation to ensure effective utilization of all existing allocations and to determine if positions are still appropriately classified.  Agency Heads should continue to consider the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) comprehensive Government-wide Reform Plan (M-17-22) supporting long-term workforce reductions and exigent mission priorities in determining the number of allocations to submit to OPM.  Priority will be given to requests based upon new or changed legislation, or unforeseen exigent needs.  Requests based upon on-going initiatives or positions with an accretion of duties (i.e., promotions) may not be considered priority. Additionally, agencies will be required to address in detail vacancy rates that exceed 8 percent.  

OPM is in the process of implementing changes to the biennial review process in order reduce agency burden and streamline the analysis. A separate memorandum will follow, within the next 45 days, which explains the revised process and additional agency submission requirements, including the deadline for submission. 

If you or your staff have any questions or require any assistance, please contact Cathryn Thornton by telephone at (202) 418-4321 or Phyllis Proctor by telephone at (202) 606-2683 or by email at

cc:  Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCOs), Deputy CHCOs, and Human Resources Directors 

Attachment (see 508-conformant PDF of OPM Form 5028 below)