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Press Release

Tuesday, December 7, 2021
Contact: Office of Communications
Tel: 202-594-6827

RELEASE: President Biden Selects 2021 Presidential Rank Award Winners

Winners chosen for premier federal government awards that honor the service of career senior leaders in government

WASHINGTON -- Today, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced the 2021 Presidential Rank Award (PRA) winners, chosen by President Biden. The Presidential Rank Awards resumed this year after having been canceled in 2020.  

A Presidential Rank Award is one of the most prestigious awards in the federal career civil service, and these awards are critical to recognizing the hard work and important contributions of dedicated civil servants in the American federal workforce. This year, 230 winners from 37 federal agencies were selected by the President for their exceptional leadership, accomplishments, and service over an extended period of time. These individuals are all members of the Senior Executive Service (SES), Senior-Level (SL) and Scientific and Professional (ST) corps. 

This year’s recipients are leaders across government, including a Department of Commerce employee who led significant and critical improvements to physical and IT infrastructure; a Department of Homeland Security official who was instrumental in the building of the first-ever, risk-based passenger screening system – TSA PreCheck – which now has over 10 million enrolled travelers (35 percent of daily passenger volume); and a member of the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General who helped developed a robust network of public and private health care program integrity partners to ensure the most effective approach to preventing, detecting, and prosecuting fraud, resulting in thousands of criminal and civil actions over the past five years, as well as over $19 billion in fines, penalties, and restitutions while also preventing harm to program beneficiaries. 

“The resumption of the Presidential Rank Awards reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to support the federal workforce and recognize federal employees who serve with distinction,” said OPM Director Kiran Ahuja. “The federal workforce is in the business of achieving the unachievable – from curing disease, to combatting climate change, to landing rovers on the surface of Mars.  I am pleased to be lifting up hard-working individuals who consistently demonstrate strength, integrity, industry, and a relentless commitment to public service.” 

For the first time in PRA history, the entire program was managed virtually. Agencies submitted nominations electronically, and OPM conducted review panels virtually. Historically, in-person review panels have been limited to participants who reside in the Washington, DC area. However, given the virtual nature of this year’s selection process, OPM was able to expand participation by selecting 100 review-panel members who reside around the world. 

As administrator of the PRAs, OPM develops criteria for agencies to use, makes determinations of eligibility, and convenes meetings of PRA Review Boards to evaluate the nominees. The OPM Director then recommends finalists to the President, who selects the PRA recipients.  The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 established the Presidential Rank Awards Program to recognize a select group of career members of senior leaders for exceptional performance over an extended period of time.  

The complete list of the Presidential Rank Awards may be found on OPM's website. More information on the program and winners can be found on the OPM blog. 

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The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is the leader in workforce management for the federal government. Our agency builds, strengthens, and serves a federal workforce of 2.2 million employees with programs like hiring assistance, healthcare and insurance, retirement benefits, and much more. We provide agencies with policies, guidance, and best practices for supporting federal workers, so they can best serve the American people.

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