Office of Personnel Management

Office of Personnel Management

United States Office of Personnel Management
Official seal
Agency overview
Formed January 1, 1979
Preceding Agency Civil Service Commission
Jurisdiction Federal government of the United States
Headquarters 1900 E Street NW, Washington, D.C.
Employees 6,205 (2011)
Agency executive Katherine Archuleta [1], Director

The United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is an independent agency of the United States government that manages the civil service of the federal government.


OPM was originally founded as the United States Civil Service Commission by the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883. The commission was abolished and replaced by OPM on January 1, 1979 following the passage of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 and Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1978 (43 F.R. 36037, 92 Stat. 3783).[2]

In 1996 the investigation branch of the OPM was privatized, and USIS was formed.[3]


According to their website, the mission of the OPM is "recruiting, retaining and honoring a world-class force to serve the American people."[4] The OPM is partially responsible for maintaining the appearance of independence and neutrality in the Administrative Law System. While technically employees of the agencies they work for, Administrative Law Judges (or ALJs) are hired exclusively by the OPM, effectively removing any discretional employment procedures from the other agencies. The OPM uses a rigorous selection process which ranks the top three candidates for each ALJ vacancy, and then makes a selection from those candidates, generally giving preference to veterans.

The OPM is also responsible for a large part of the management of security clearances (Federal Investigative Services a/k/a FIS conducts these investigations) for the United States Government. With the exception of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which maintains its own system, separate programs for each executive department have gradually been merged into a single, Government-wide clearance system. The OPM is responsible for investigating individuals to give them Secret and Top Secret clearances. SCI compartments, however, are still managed by the particular agency that uses that compartment.

Revolving fund

The OPM revolving fund is described as the OPM’s “fee for service” business that moves federal budget money from various federal agencies to the OPM for human resources (HR) services. During the decade from 2002-2012, the dollar amount of the fund has tripled.[5] The fund is worth $2 billion, equivalent to almost all (90 percent) of the OPM budget.[6]

In July 2013, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) introduced the Office of Personnel Management Inspector General Act.[7] The bill would increase oversight of the fund. Farenthold introduced the bill as a response to accusations of fraud and concerns about security clearance background investigations.[8] The bill would fund the expenses for investigations, oversight activities and audits from the revolving fund.[9] In February 2014, President Obama signed the bill into law.[10]

The fund’s history goes back to the early 1980s, where it was used for two main activities: training and background investigations for government personnel.[11]

Past directors

Source: OPM's Agency Leadership Through Time

See also


  1. ^ Washington Post
  2. ^
  3. ^ Gayathri, Amrutha. "USIS That Vetted Snowden Under Investigation; Booz Allen Hamilton Overlooked Snowden Resume Discrepancies." International Business Times. June 21, 2013. Retrieved on July 1, 2013.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Fact Sheet: OPM Revolving Fund, Products and Services. Avue Technologies Corporation. 2013-09-24 (Retrieved 2014-02-17)
  6. ^ Reilly, Sean. "OPM inspector general getting more money for revolving fund oversight”. Federal Times. 2014-02-13 (Retrieved 2014-02-17)
  7. ^ "OPM IG Act (H.R. 2860)”. (2014) (Retrieved 2014-02-17)
  8. ^ "OPM Inspector General Act signed into law”. Ripon Advance. 2014-02-17 (Retrieved 2014-02-17)
  9. ^ "H.R.2860 OPM IG Act” The Week in Congress; Volume 10 Number 3. 2014-01-17 (Retrieved 2014-02-17)
  10. ^ Carney, Jay (White House Press Secretary). "Statement by the Press Secretary on H.R. 2860, S. 1901”. The White House, Office of the Press Secretary. 2014-02-12 (Retrieved 2014-02-17)
  11. ^ U.S. Government Accountability Office. "OPM's Revolving Fund Policy Should Be Clarified and Management Controls Strengthened”. GGD-84-23: Published: Oct 13, 1983. Publicly Released: Oct 13, 1983 (Retrieved 2014-02-17)
  12. ^ "Our Mission: Constance Horner". Retrieved August 1, 2014. 
  13. ^ a b Rosenberg, Alyssa (2008-08-01). "Bush taps new OPM director". National Journal. Retrieved 2009-04-04. 
  14. ^ "Linda M. Springer Sworn In as New OPM Director" (Press release). United States Office of Personnel Management. 2005-06-29. Retrieved 2009-04-04. 
  15. ^ "White House Names Acting Director of OPM" (Press release). United States Office of Personnel Management. 2009-01-23. Retrieved 2009-04-04. 
  16. ^ "OPM Director John Berry". United States Office of Personnel Management. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 

External links

  • Office of Personnel Management
  • Office of Personnel Management in the Federal Register