The excepted service is the part of the United States federal civil service that is not part of either the competitive service or the Senior Executive Service. It provides streamlined hiring processes to be used under certain circumstances.
The United States federal civil service is the civilian workforce of the United States federal government's departments and agencies. The federal civil service was established in 1871. U.S. state and local government entities often have comparable civil service systems that are modeled on the national system, in varying degrees.
The competitive service is a part of the United States federal government civil service. Applicants for jobs in the competitive civil service must compete with other applicants in open competition under the merit system administered by the Office of Personnel Management, unlike applicants in the excepted service and Senior Executive Service. There are several hiring authorities for the competitive service, including "traditional" competitive examining, as well as expedited procedures such as Direct Hire Authority and the Veterans Employment Opportunities Act.
The Senior Executive Service (SES) is a position classification in the civil service of the United States federal government, equivalent to general officer or flag officer ranks in the U.S. Armed Forces. It was created in 1979 when the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 went into effect under President Jimmy Carter.
Most civilian positions in the federal government of the United States are part of the competitive service, where applicants must compete with other applicants in open competition under the merit system administered by the Office of Personnel Management. However, some agencies (and some positions within other agencies) are excluded from these provisions. Although they primarily operate on a merit basis also, they have their own hiring systems and evaluation criteria. These agencies are called excepted service agencies and such positions are part of the excepted civil service.
The Federal Government of the United States is the national government of the United States, a federal republic in North America, composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and several island possessions. The federal government is composed of three distinct branches: legislative, executive, and judicial, whose powers are vested by the U.S. Constitution in the Congress, the President, and the federal courts, respectively. The powers and duties of these branches are further defined by acts of congress, including the creation of executive departments and courts inferior to the Supreme Court.
The primary common denominator of many of these agencies and positions is that they have national security and/or intelligence functions, such as the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of State, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Secret Service, and the NCIS. Attorney positions, Presidential Management Fellows, Presidential Innovation Fellows, and Foreign Service positions are examples of positions excepted across-the-board in all Federal agencies. Not all excepted service members serve in sensitive areas—for example, teachers and administrators at DOD schools, both in the U.S. and overseas, are also excepted, as are all patent examiners. In addition, most employees in the legislative branch of the federal government are excepted service employees.
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is a civilian foreign intelligence service of the federal government of the United States, tasked with gathering, processing, and analyzing national security information from around the world, primarily through the use of human intelligence (HUMINT). As one of the principal members of the United States Intelligence Community (IC), the CIA reports to the Director of National Intelligence and is primarily focused on providing intelligence for the President and Cabinet of the United States.
The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), an external intelligence service of the United States federal government, specializes in defense and military intelligence.
The National Security Agency (NSA) is a national-level intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense, under the authority of the Director of National Intelligence. The NSA is responsible for global monitoring, collection, and processing of information and data for foreign and domestic intelligence and counterintelligence purposes, specializing in a discipline known as signals intelligence (SIGINT). The NSA is also tasked with the protection of U.S. communications networks and information systems. The NSA relies on a variety of measures to accomplish its mission, the majority of which are clandestine.
One key factor concerning the excepted service is that employees have fewer appeal rights (compared to positions in the competitive service) in the event of disciplinary actions or job termination. For example, non-veteran employees in the excepted service are generally barred from appealing adverse agency personnel decisions to the United States Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) or to the Federal courts for their first two years of employment, whereas employees in the competitive service have a one-year probationary period. Excepted service agencies have consistently claimed that they need the speed and flexibility afforded by being in the excepted service in order to perform their missions and maintain good order and discipline.
A veteran is a person who has had long service or experience in a particular occupation or field. A military veteran is a person who has served and is no longer serving in the armed forces. Those veterans that have had direct exposure to acts of military conflict may also be referred to as war veterans. A combat veteran is a person who has fought in combat during a war or a skirmish against a declared enemy and may still be serving in the military.
The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) is an independent quasi-judicial agency established in 1979 to protect federal merit systems against partisan political and other prohibited personnel practices and to ensure adequate protection for federal employees against abuses by agency management.
A hiring authority is the law, executive order, or regulation that allows an agency to hire a person into the federal civil service.
Some service positions are classified by the Office of Personnel Management into four categories, although not all excepted service authorities fall into this classification:
The United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government that manages the government's civilian workforce. The agency provides federal human resources policy, oversight and support, and tends to healthcare, insurance and retirement benefits and services for federal government employees.
Schedules A and B were created by the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883, Schedule C was created in 1956, and Schedule D was created in 2012.
Several excepted service hiring authorities are not classified into the four schedules. Some of the more prevalent include:
From 5 U.S.C. § 2103:
(a) For the purpose of this title, the excepted service consists of those civil service positions which are not in the competitive service or the Senior Executive Service.
(b) As used in other Acts of the United States Congress, “unclassified civil service” or “unclassified service” means the “excepted service”.
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The United States Department of State (DOS), commonly referred to as the State Department, is the federal executive department that advises the President and conducts international relations. Equivalent to the foreign ministry of other countries, it was established in 1789 as the nation's first executive department. The current Secretary of State is Mike Pompeo, who ascended to the office in April 2018 after Rex Tillerson resigned.
The Federal Protective Service (FPS) is the uniformed security police division of the National Protection and Programs Directorate of the United States Department of Homeland Security. FPS is "the federal agency charged with protecting and delivering integrated law enforcement and security services to facilities owned or leased by the General Services Administration (GSA)"—over 9,000 buildings—and their occupants.
The Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA) is an American law enforcement agency within the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) charged with protecting and safeguarding the occupants, visitors, and infrastructure of The Pentagon, the Mark Center Building, the Defense Health Headquarters, and other assigned Pentagon facilities. In 2004 the Pentagon Force Protection Agency employed 482 police officers.
The general schedule (GS) is the predominant pay scale within the United States civil service. The GS includes the majority of white collar personnel positions. As of September 2004, 71 percent of federal civilian employees were paid under the GS.
The United States Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is a permanent independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency whose basic legislative authority comes from four federal statutes: the Civil Service Reform Act, the Whistleblower Protection Act, the Hatch Act, and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). OSC's primary mission is the safeguarding of the merit system in federal employment by protecting employees and applicants from prohibited personnel practices (PPPs), especially reprisal for "whistleblowing." The agency also operates a secure channel for federal whistleblower disclosures of violations of law, rule, or regulation; gross mismanagement; gross waste of funds; abuse of authority; and substantial and specific danger to public health and safety. In addition, OSC issues advice on the Hatch Act and enforces its restrictions on partisan political activity by government employees. Finally, OSC protects the civilian employment and reemployment rights of military service members under USERRA. OSC has around 120 staff, and the Special Counsel is an ex officio member of Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE), an association of inspectors general charged with the regulation of good governance within the federal government.
The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, (CSRA), reformed the civil service of the United States federal government, partly in response to the Watergate scandal. The Act abolished the U.S. Civil Service Commission and distributed its functions primarily among three new agencies: the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), and the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA).
A Foreign Service Officer (FSO) is a commissioned member of the United States Foreign Service. Foreign Service Officers formulate and implement the foreign policy of the United States. FSOs spend most of their careers overseas as members of U.S. embassies, consulates, and other diplomatic missions, though some receive assignments to serve at combatant commands, Congress, and educational institutions such as the various U.S. War Colleges.
Executive Order 13087 was signed by U.S. President Bill Clinton on May 28, 1998, amending Executive Order 11478 to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in the competitive service of the federal civilian workforce. The order also applies to employees of the government of the District of Columbia, and the United States Postal Service. However, it does not apply to positions and agencies in the excepted service, such as the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Executive Schedule is the system of salaries given to the incumbents of the highest-ranked appointed positions in the executive branch of the U.S. government. The President of the United States appoints incumbents to these positions, most with the advice and consent of the United States Senate. They include members of the President's Cabinet as well as other subcabinet policy makers. There are five pay rates within the Executive Schedule, usually denoted with a Roman numeral with I being the highest level and V the lowest. Federal law lists the positions eligible for the Executive Schedule and the corresponding level. The law also gives the president the ability to grant Executive Schedule IV and V status to no more than 34 employees not listed.
National Park Service rangers are among the uniformed employees charged with protecting and preserving areas set aside in the National Park System by the United States Congress and the President of the United States. While all employees of the agency contribute to the National Park Service mission of preserving unimpaired the natural and cultural resources set aside by the American people for future generations, the term "park ranger" is traditionally used to describe all National Park Service employees who wear the uniform. Broadly speaking, all National Park Service rangers promote stewardship of the resources in their care - either voluntary stewardship via resource interpretation, or compliance with statute or regulation through law enforcement. These comprise the two main disciplines of the ranger profession in the National Park Service.
The federal government of the United States empowers a wide range of law enforcement agencies to maintain law and public order related to matters affecting the country as a whole.
According to the United States Office of Government Ethics, a political appointee is "any employee who is appointed by the President, the Vice President, or agency head". As of 2016, there are around 4,000 political appointment positions which an incoming administration needs to review, and fill or confirm, of which about 1,200 require Senate confirmation.
A Schedule C appointment is a type of political appointment in the United States who serve in confidential or policy roles immediately subordinate to other appointees. as of 2016, there are 1,403 Schedule C appointees. Most of these are confidential assistants, policy experts, special counsels, and schedulers, although about 500 of them are non-policy support roles. Schedule C appointments were created in 1956.
A Title 42 appointment is an excepted service employment category in the United States federal civil service. It allows scientists and special consultants to be hired as part of the Public Health Service or Environmental Protection Agency under a streamlined process "without regard to the civil-service laws". Courts have ruled that, although Title 42 appointments are exempt from hiring and compensation provisions of civil service laws, they are still entitled to protections relating to termination, including appeals to the Merit Systems Protection Board.