Top 10 highest paying federal agencies in 2021


What were the highest-paying federal agencies in fiscal year 2021? These are the average salaries paid to federal employees who worked in the agencies last year. Some agencies are ones you may not have heard of.

All salary data in this article is courtesy of For more information on finding and locating salaries for individual federal employees, see How to Find Federal Employee Salaries by Name.

Here is the list :

Federal agency Average annual salary

What are these agencies?

What are some of these agencies? Some of the names on the list are ones many Americans probably haven’t heard of. Here are descriptions of some of the more obscure ones.

The Office of the National Cyber ​​Director

One of the agencies is a brand new one created last year by the Biden administration. According to the White House website:

The Office of the National Cyber ​​Director was created by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, along with President Joe Biden’s nomination and Senate confirmation of John Christopher Inglis as first national director of cyber. The National Director of Cybersecurity acts as the President’s senior advisor on cybersecurity policy and strategy and on cybersecurity engagement with industry and international stakeholders.

ONCD works to ensure that every American can enjoy all the benefits of our digital ecosystem, including the economic prosperity and democratic participation it enables, while aggressively addressing and mitigating the risks and threats in general in cyberspace. By cultivating unity of purpose and effort across agencies and sectors, ONCD will contribute to the development and implementation of a stronger national strategy, policy and resilience for our digital ecosystem. lists only one employee for this particular agency in 2021, John Christopher Inglis, who had an annual salary last year of $183,100. Chances are there will be more agency staff, or there will be soon, as the White House website puts it: “ONCD intends to strengthen significantly increase its capabilities and partnerships in fiscal year 2022 to support this national effort.

Office of the Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Coordinator

Another agency that operates under the White House is the Office of the Coordinator of Intellectual Property Enforcement. According to the Obama White House website:

The Office of the US Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator is dedicated to protecting the US intellectual property that fuels our economy. American entrepreneurs, business owners, and the general public are best served by an economy that promotes and protects our global competitive advantage, which must deter intellectual property theft while protecting the constitutional rights of our citizens. Our office works to ensure that the federal government takes the most appropriate steps to achieve these goals.

I couldn’t find a description on the Biden White House website, but I did confirm that office is still active as it released a report in April. listed three federal employees of this agency in 2021, whose highest annual salary was $199,300.

United States Arctic Research Commission

Here is the description from the US Arctic Research Commission according to its website:

The US Arctic Research Commission (USARC) is an independent federal agency created by the Arctic Research and Policy Act of 1984. It is an advisory body appointed by the President and supported by staff in Washington, DC, and Anchorage, Alaska. In addition to submitting a biennial report to the President and Congress outlining recommended scientific research goals and objectives for the Arctic, the Commission develops and recommends an integrated national Arctic research policy and establishes cooperative Arctic research within the federal government, with the State of Alaska, and with international partners.

Public Buildings Reform Commission

The Public Buildings Reform Council website says this about the agency:

The Public Buildings Reform Board (PBRB) was established under PL 114-287, the Federal Asset Sale and Transfer Act of 2016 (FASTA), as an independent agency to identify opportunities for the federal government to significantly reduce its inventory of civilian real property and thereby reduce costs.

Among the agency’s stated goals are “reducing dependence on leased space” and “selling or redevelopment of high-value assets that are underutilized to achieve the highest value and best for the taxpayer and maximize the return for the taxpayer”. If post-COVID telecommuting policies are here to stay and are even extended, I suspect this agency will likely be very busy in the short term.

Why are federal employee salaries public information?

The current policy of disclosing federal names and salaries began in 2005. At that time, the Bush administration began withholding salary information from the public for approximately 900,000 federal civilian employees. The practice of withholding information “broken a tradition of openness that began in 1816,” according to a lawsuit filed by a group at Syracuse University under the Freedom of Information Act.

The group argued that “citizens have a right to know who works for the government” and the new policy changed that policy.

The federal government began publicly naming its employees, their job class, salary, and location in 1816. The first entry in the 1816 version of the Federal Register was James Madison. He was identified as the President of the United States with a salary of $25,000 and his birthplace was Virginia. The second entry was Secretary of State James Monroe and noted his salary of $5,000.

It wasn’t just political leaders who were on the list. According to an article from Washington PostTreasury Department messenger John Connell was a native of Maryland and worked in Washington for the federal government on a salary of $410 a year, and another Marylander, Richard H. Briscoe, worked for the Comptroller’s Office clerk for $1,000 per year.

© 2022 Ian Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without the express written consent of Ian Smith.


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