A description of the general schedule (GS) system as it exists today and a discussion of alternative hypotheses to explain the average grade increase from 6.6 in l959 to 7.4 in l976. The analysis indicates: (1) "Grade creep" occurred throughout the federal government, not only the DOD. (2) There was a clearly observable change in the mix of occupations. (3) Before 1969, when comparability was achieved, the GS was pushed in subtle ways to increase grades as a substitute for pay raises. (4) The agencies that use GS are almost autonomous in their ability to prescribe their organizational structure. (5) Even more significant was the movement out of the lower grades into the middle grades. It is unclear what degree of importance to attach to any of the multiple factors affecting GS grades, but average grade may not be an appropriate measure of the problem. 38 pp.