The year 2003 marks the twentieth-fifth anniversary of the Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA) of 1978, a late chapter in the development of the American administrative state and the most significant reform of the civil service system since its creation through the Pendleton Act of 1883. The Act made a number of enduring contributions to the personnel system of the federal government. Given the recursive nature of public management debate, there is considerable policy importance in trying to understand the original basis of decisions on legislation that have shaped the federal government over the last twenty-five years, and the CSRA has recently been the subject of renewed interest. More important, the CSRA was a rare and relatively important shift in the beliefs and attitudes—the administrative doctrine—that shape the evolution of the administrative state. Significantly, the debate during the CSRA saw the emergence of deep divisions within administrative doctrine, divisions that continue to shape public management policymaking.