There is no statutory limitation on the total number of SES positions. However, the law (5 U.S.C. 3133) requires OPM to allocate "spaces" to agency heads on a biennial cycle. Agencies can establish positions within their allocation without further OPM approval. Flexibility has been built into the process to allow for limited adjustments outside the biennial cycle. However, agencies are expected to manage their executive resource needs within the levels set during the biennial allocation process to the extent possible (including "reprogramming" existing spaces to meet high priority needs, and maintaining flexibility to meet unanticipated needs). To facilitate strategic management of the Government's total executive resources pool, OPM also uses the biennial schedule to allocate Senior Level (SL) and Scientific/Professional (ST) spaces.
As of September 30, 2007, the number of permanent SES positions allocated is 8096.
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