B-175809, AUG 30, 1972, 52 COMP GEN 105

B-175809: Aug 30, 1972

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GRATUITIES - ENLISTMENT BONUS - MILITARY SPECIALTY REQUIREMENT SINCE PAYMENT OF THE ENLISTMENT BONUS AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 203(A) OF PUBLIC LAW 92-129(37 U.S.C. 308A) TO AID IN FILLING MILITARY COMBAT POSITIONS BY ENCOURAGING NEW ENLISTMENTS AND THE EXTENSION OF INITIAL ENLISTMENT TERMS IS CONTINGENT ON A MEMBER QUALIFYING AND SERVING IN HIS DESIGNATED MILITARY SPECIALTY. THE RIGHT OF A QUALIFIED MEMBER WHO EXTENDS HIS SERVICE VESTS AT THE TIME THE EXTENSION IS EXECUTED. IF A MEMBER IS NOT QUALIFIED. HIS RIGHT VESTS AFTER THE EXTENSION IS EXECUTED AND HE COMPLETES RETRAINING. 1972: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED APRIL 20. THE QUESTIONS PRESENTED ARE CONTAINED IN DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE MILITARY PAY AND ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE ACTION NOS. 462 AND 463.

B-175809, AUG 30, 1972, 52 COMP GEN 105

GRATUITIES - ENLISTMENT BONUS - MILITARY SPECIALTY REQUIREMENT SINCE PAYMENT OF THE ENLISTMENT BONUS AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 203(A) OF PUBLIC LAW 92-129(37 U.S.C. 308A) TO AID IN FILLING MILITARY COMBAT POSITIONS BY ENCOURAGING NEW ENLISTMENTS AND THE EXTENSION OF INITIAL ENLISTMENT TERMS IS CONTINGENT ON A MEMBER QUALIFYING AND SERVING IN HIS DESIGNATED MILITARY SPECIALTY, PROMULGATED REGULATIONS SHOULD REQUIRE A MEMBER TO BE QUALIFIED AND SERVING IN HIS SPECIALTY BEFORE GAINING ENTITLEMENT TO THE $3,000 BONUS PRESCRIBED FOR A PERIOD OF AT LEAST 3 YEARS SERVICE - THE BONUS TO BE PAID IN A LUMP SUM OR PERIODIC INSTALLMENTS - AND SHOULD PROVIDE THAT A MEMBER TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR CONTINUED BONUS INSTALLMENTS MUST MAINTAIN QUALIFICATION IN HIS SPECIALTY. FURTHERMORE, THE RIGHT OF A QUALIFIED MEMBER WHO EXTENDS HIS SERVICE VESTS AT THE TIME THE EXTENSION IS EXECUTED, AND IF A MEMBER IS NOT QUALIFIED, HIS RIGHT VESTS AFTER THE EXTENSION IS EXECUTED AND HE COMPLETES RETRAINING.

TO THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, AUGUST 30, 1972:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED APRIL 20, 1972, WITH ENCLOSURES, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE (COMPTROLLER) REQUESTING A DECISION ON QUESTIONS CONCERNING THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE ENLISTMENT BONUS AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 308A OF TITLE 37, U.S. CODE, AS ADDED BY SECTION 203(A) OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 28, 1971, PUBLIC LAW 92 129, 85 STAT. 358.

THE QUESTIONS PRESENTED ARE CONTAINED IN DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE MILITARY PAY AND ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE ACTION NOS. 462 AND 463. COMMITTEE ACTION NO. 463 CONSISTS OF TWO QUESTIONS AS FOLLOWS:

(1) MAY A MEMBER WHO ENLISTS FOR SERVICE IN A COMBAT ELEMENT OF AN ARMED FORCE FOR PARTICIPATION IN THE ENLISTMENT BONUS PROGRAM BE REQUIRED TO BECOME QUALIFIED IN THE COMBAT ELEMENT SKILL PRIOR TO GAINING BONUS ENTITLEMENT?

(2) IF THE ANSWER TO QUESTION (1) IS YES, MAY THE MEMBER BE REQUIRED TO MAINTAIN SKILL QUALIFICATION IN ORDER TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR CONTINUED BONUS INSTALLMENTS?

SINCE ANOTHER QUESTION IS PRESENTED IN COMMITTEE ACTION NO. 462, THAT QUESTION WILL BE NUMBERED 3 AND CONSIDERED IN THAT ORDER. THE QUESTION IS:

(3) MAY A MEMBER WHO EXTENDS HIS INITIAL PERIOD OF ACTIVE DUTY IN A COMBAT ELEMENT OF AN ARMED FORCE BE PAID THE ENLISTMENT BONUS AS PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE BEFORE HE ENTERS INTO SERVICE UNDER THE EXTENSION PERIOD?

THE PERTINENT PARTS OF 37 U.S.C. 308A, SUBSECTIONS (A) AND (B) READ AS FOLLOWS:

(A) NOTWITHSTANDING SECTION 514(A) OF TITLE 10 OR ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW, A PERSON WHO ENLISTS IN ANY COMBAT ELEMENT OF AN ARMED FORCE FOR A PERIOD OF AT LEAST THREE YEARS, OR WHO EXTENDS HIS INITIAL PERIOD OF ACTIVE DUTY IN A COMBAT ELEMENT OF AN ARMED FORCE TO A TOTAL OF AT LEAST THREE YEARS, MAY, UNDER REGULATIONS TO BE PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, BE PAID A BONUS IN AN AMOUNT PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARY, BUT NOT MORE THAN $3,000. THE BONUS MAY BE PAID IN A LUMP SUM OR IN EQUAL PERIODIC INSTALLMENTS, AS DETERMINED BY THE SECRETARY.

(D) UNDER REGULATIONS APPROVED BY THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, A PERSON WHO VOLUNTARILY, OR BECAUSE OF HIS MISCONDUCT, DOES NOT COMPLETE THE TERM OF ENLISTMENT FOR WHICH A BONUS WAS PAID TO HIM UNDER THIS SECTION SHALL REFUND THAT PERCENTAGE OF THE BONUS THAT THE UNEXPIRED PART OF HIS ENLISTMENT IS OF THE TOTAL ENLISTMENT PERIOD FOR WHICH THE BONUS WAS PAID.

CONCERNING QUESTIONS (1) AND (2), IT IS STATED IN THE DISCUSSION IN COMMITTEE ACTION NO. 463 THAT UNDER THE ABOVE LAW THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE PROPOSES TO PROMULGATE REGULATIONS PROVIDING THAT THE ENLISTMENT BONUS BE PAID "*** TO PERSONS WHO ENLIST FOR THE PURPOSE OF QUALIFYING AND SERVING IN DESIGNATED MILITARY SPECIALTIES ***." FURTHER, IT IS PROPOSED THAT THE REGULATIONS WILL PRESCRIBE THE METHOD OF PAYMENT AS "*** PAYABLE IN THREE EQUAL PERIODIC INSTALLMENTS OF $1,000. THE FIRST INSTALLMENT WILL ACCRUE AND BE PAYABLE UPON COMPLETION OF TRAINING AND AWARD OF THE DESIGNATED MILITARY SPECIALITY." SUBSEQUENT INSTALLMENTS WOULD BE PAYABLE ON THE ANNIVERSARY DATES OF THE FIRST INSTALLMENT "PROVIDING THE MEMBER MAINTAINS QUALIFICATION IN THE SPECIALTY."

THE VIEW IS EXPRESSED IN THE COMMITTEE ACTION DISCUSSION THAT THE PHRASE IN 37 U.S.C. 308AA), "UNDER REGULATIONS TO BE PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE," PROVIDES AUTHORITY FOR THE ISSUANCE OF REGULATIONS REQUIRING THE MEMBER TO BECOME QUALIFIED AND AWARDED THE DESIGNATED MILITARY SPECIALTY PRIOR TO HIS BEING ENTITLED TO THE BONUS.

IT IS STATED, HOWEVER, THAT OUR DECISION 45 COMP. GEN. 379(1966), INVOLVING THE PAYMENT OF THE VARIABLE REENLISTMENT BONUS AUTHORIZED BY 37 U.S.C. 308(G), A PROVISION OF LAW SOMEWHAT SIMILAR TO 37 U.S.C. 308A, RAISES SOME DOUBT AS TO THE VALIDITY OF THE PROPOSED REGULATIONS. IN THAT DECISION IT WAS STATED THAT THE REENLISTMENT OF A MEMBER PURSUANT TO REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED AS PROVIDED IN THE STATUTE CONSTITUTES AN ACCEPTANCE OF THE GOVERNMENT'S OFFER AND AT THAT POINT THE GOVERNMENT BECOMES OBLIGATED TO PAY THE VARIABLE REENLISTMENT BONUS. HENCE, IT WAS OUR VIEW THAT THE RIGHT TO RECEIVE THE VARIABLE REENLISTMENT BONUS VESTS IN THE MEMBER UPON COMPLETION OF THE REENLISTMENT PROCEDURE, AND REGULATIONS PROMULGATED BY THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED MAY NOT DIMINISH THE AMOUNT OF SUCH VARIABLE REENLISTMENT BONUS WHICH BECAME FIXED AT THE POINT OF REENLISTMENT NOR IN ANY OTHER MANNER CURTAIL SUBSEQUENT PAYMENTS OF ANY PORTION OF THE BONUS. IT IS APPARENT THAT IF THIS REASONING ALSO APPLIES TO 37 U.S.C. 308A, THE PROPOSED REGULATIONS WOULD BE INVALID.

THE COMMITTEE ACTION DISCUSSION INDICATES THAT THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF 37 U.S.C. 308A SUPPORTS THE VIEW THAT THE REASONING APPLIED IN OUR DECISION 45 COMP. GEN. 379, SUPRA, IS NOT APPLICABLE TO 37 U.S.C. 308A. IN THIS REGARD THE TESTIMONY IS CITED BY THE HONORABLE ROGER T. KELLEY, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE (MANPOWER AND RESERVE AFFAIRS) BEFORE THE SENATE AND HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEES ON FEBRUARY 2 AND 23, 1971, RESPECTIVELY, IN REGARD TO LEGISLATION PROPOSED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE TO AUTHORIZE THE ENLISTMENT BONUS. IN THAT TESTIMONY MR. KELLEY PRESENTED THE PROPOSAL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE THAT THE ENLISTMENT BONUS BE PAID "TO THOSE WHO ENLIST FOR AT LEAST 3 YEARS IN THE ARMY COMBAT SKILLS AS FOLLOWS: $1,000 WHEN QUALIFIED THROUGH COMBAT SKILLS TRAINING. $1,000 EACH AFTER THE FIRST AND SECOND YEAR, IF STILL QUALIFIED." (SEE HEARINGS BEFORE THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES ON S. 495, 92D CONG., 1ST SESS., P. 63, AND HEARINGS BEFORE THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES ON H.R. 3498, 92D CONG., 1ST SESS., P. 48.) IT IS ALSO POINTED OUT THAT ON MAY 25, 1971, IN DEBATE ON THE SENATE FLOOR ON H.R. 6531 WHICH BECAME THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 28, 1971, SENATOR STROM THURMOND IN EFFECT REITERATED MR. KELLEY'S STATEMENT AS TO THE MANNER IN WHICH THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE PROPOSED TO PAY THE ENLISTMENT BONUS. (117 CONG. REC., MAY 25, 1971, S7754.)

THERE IS ALSO FOR NOTING THAT IN LETTERS DATED JANUARY 29, 1971, TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE AND THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TRANSMITTING PROPOSED LEGISLATION TO AUTHORIZE THE ENLISTMENT BONUS, THE HONORABLE DAVID PACKARD, THEN DEPUTY SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, STATED IN PART THAT THE BONUS WOULD BE "OFFERED TO THE PROSPECTIVE ENLISTEE AND PAID AFTER HE HAS COMPLETED QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE MILITARY OCCUPATION IN QUESTION." HE FURTHER PROPOSED THAT THE BONUS OF $3,000 WOULD BE OFFERED PAYABLE IN THREE EQUAL INSTALLMENTS, THE FIRST INSTALLMENT OF WHICH "WOULD BE PAYABLE UPON COMPLETION OF TRAINING AND UPON BEING QUALIFIED FOR AND AWARDED THE APPROPRIATE MILITARY OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTY (MOS)." (S. REPT. NO. 93, 92D CONG., 1ST SESS., P. 51, AND H. REPT. NO. 82, 92D CONG., 1ST SESS., P. 54.)

IT IS APPARENT FROM THE LANGUAGE OF 37 U.S.C. 308A AND ITS LEGISLATIVE HISTORY THAT THE PURPOSE OF THE STATUTE IS TO PROVIDE A SUBSTANTIAL FINANCIAL INDUCEMENT IN THE FORM OF A BONUS TO AID IN OBTAINING PERSONNEL TO FILL COMBAT POSITIONS IN THE ARMED FORCES BY ENCOURAGING NEW ENLISTMENTS AND BY ENCOURAGING THOSE SERVING THEIR INITIAL TERMS OF SERVICE TO EXTEND THEIR TERMS FOR SUCH SERVICE.

THE INDIVIDUALS AT WHOM THE ENLISTMENT BONUS IS AIMED ARE FIRST-TERM ENLISTEES OR DRAFTEES WITH WHOM THE SERVICES HAVE HAD LITTLE OR NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE AND, AS WAS POINTED OUT IN THE COMMITTEE ACTION DISCUSSION, THE SERVICES GENERALLY DO NOT KNOW WHETHER SUCH INDIVIDUALS WILL BE ABLE TO QUALIFY FOR THE COMBAT ELEMENTS. IN THIS RESPECT THE PURPOSE OF THE ENLISTMENT BONUS DIFFERS FROM THE REENLISTMENT AND VARIABLE REENLISTMENT BONUSES WHICH ARE DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE REENLISTMENTS BY MEN WHO HAVE BEEN TRAINED AND HAVE SERVED IN THE ARMED SERVICES AND WITH WHOSE SKILLS AND QUALIFICATIONS THE SERVICES ARE THOROUGHLY FAMILIAR.

ALTHOUGH THE STATUTE DOES NOT SPECIFICALLY STATE THAT A MEMBER MUST QUALIFY IN THE APPROPRIATE MILITARY SPECIALTY BEFORE BECOMING ELIGIBLE, IT DOES PROVIDE THAT THE BONUS IS PAYABLE FOR AN ENLISTMENT OR EXTENSION OF INITIAL PERIOD OF ACTIVE DUTY FOR THE REQUIRED PERIOD IN A "COMBAT ELEMENT OF AN ARMED FORCE." IT APPEARS THAT CONGRESS DID NOT INTEND THAT BONUSES OF UP TO $3,000 BE PAID WITHOUT SOME ASSURANCE THAT THE MEMBERS TO WHOM THEY ARE PAID WILL BE QUALIFIED AND CAPABLE OF SERVING IN SUCH COMBAT ELEMENTS. THEREFORE, IT IS OUR VIEW THAT A REGULATION SUCH AS THAT PROPOSED IN COMMITTEE ACTION NO. 463 TO THE EFFECT THAT PAYMENT OF THE ENLISTMENT BONUS IS CONTINGENT ON THE MEMBER'S QUALIFYING AND SERVING IN THE DESIGNATED MILITARY SPECIALTY IS WITHIN THE OVERALL INTENT OF AND IN HARMONY WITH THE LAW. ACCORDINGLY, QUESTION (1) IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

CONCERNING QUESTION (2), WHILE THERE IS NO SPECIFIC REQUIREMENT IN SECTION 308(A) OF TITLE 37, U.S. CODE, THAT IN ORDER FOR A MEMBER TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR CONTINUED BONUS INSTALLMENTS (SECOND AND THIRD INSTALLMENTS) HE MUST MAINTAIN QUALIFICATION IN HIS DESIGNATED MILITARY SPECIALTY, THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF SECTION 308AA) SUPPORTS THE VIEW EXPRESSED IN COMMITTEE ACTION NO. 463 THAT THE SECOND AND THIRD INSTALLMENT PAYMENTS OF THE BONUS MAY BE CONTINGENT, UNDER APPROPRIATE ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS, UPON THE MEMBER MAINTAINING QUALIFICATION IN HIS SPECIALTY.

IN THIS CONNECTION, THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE (MANPOWER AND RESERVE AFFAIRS) IN TESTIFYING ON THE BILL, WHICH ADDED SECTION 308A, CLEARLY POINTED OUT THAT UNDER THE METHOD OF PAYMENT AS PROPOSED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE THE INITIAL PAYMENT ($1,000) OF THE BONUS WOULD BE PAYABLE WHEN QUALIFIED THROUGH COMBAT SKILLS TRAINING AND "$1,000 EACH (WOULD BE PAYABLE) AFTER THE FIRST AND SECOND YEAR, IF STILL QUALIFIED." ALSO, DURING THE FLOOR DEBATE ON THE BILL, SENATOR STENNIS HAD INCORPORATED IN THE CONGRESSIONAL RECORD THE ABOVE-MENTIONED PART OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S TESTIMONY PERTAINING TO THE METHOD OF PAYMENT. SEE 117 CONG. REC. MAY 25, 1971, S7751.

SINCE CONGRESS WAS FULLY AWARE OF THE MANNER IN WHICH THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE PLANNED TO IMPLEMENT THE ENLISTMENT BONUS PROGRAM, IT IS OUR VIEW THAT, IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY EVIDENCE OF LEGISLATIVE INTENT TO THE CONTRARY, THE QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENT IN THE PROPOSED REGULATIONS RESPECTING THE SECOND AND THIRD INSTALLMENT PAYMENTS OF THE BONUS DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE INCONSISTENT WITH THE LAW NOR WITH THE HOLDING IN OUR DECISION IN 45 COMP. GEN. 379. QUESTION 2 IS ALSO ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

IT IS INDICATED IN THE DISCUSSION WITH RESPECT TO QUESTION (3) IN COMMITTEE ACTION NO. 462 THAT CERTAIN ENLISTEES AND INDUCTEES WHO ARE OTHERWISE QUALIFIED AND WHO EXTEND THEIR INITIAL ACTIVE DUTY COMMITMENT AS THERE INDICATED WOULD BE ENTITLED TO A BONUS OF $1,000 WHICH WOULD BE PAYABLE UNDER THE PROPOSED REGULATIONS AS FOLLOWS:

EXTENSIONS OF INITIAL ACTIVE DUTY COMMITMENTS. FOR EXTENDEES QUALIFIED AND SERVING IN DESIGNATED MILITARY SPECIALITIES, THE BONUS WILL BE PAYABLE ON THE DATE THE MEMBER EXECUTES HIS EXTENSION OF INITIAL ACTIVE DUTY COMMITMENT. FOR EXTENDEES SERVING IN MILITARY SPECIALITIES NOT DESIGNATED FOR THE BONUS, THE BONUS WILL BE PAYABLE ON THE DATE THE MEMBER COMPLETES RETRAINING AND IS AWARDED THE DESIGNATED MILITARY SPECIALITY.

IT IS INDICATED THAT QUESTION HAS ARISEN AS TO THE TIME OF PAYMENT OF THE ENLISTMENT BONUS IN LIGHT OF OUR DECISION 35 COMP. GEN. 663(1956) WHICH CONCERNED THE REENLISTMENT BONUS AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 208(A) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949 AS ADDED BY SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1954, 68 STAT. 488, NOW CODIFIED IN ESSENTIALLY THE SAME FORM IN 37 U.S.C. 308(A)-(F).

IN THAT DECISION WE STATED THAT "FOR THE PURPOSES OF SECTION 208, A VOLUNTARY EXTENSION OF AN ENLISTMENT FOR TWO OR MORE YEARS IS TO BE CONSIDERED A 'REENLISTMENT' AND REGARDLESS OF THE DATE ON WHICH THE EXTENSION AGREEMENT MAY BE SIGNED BY THE MEMBER, IT SEEMS PLAIN THAT SERVICE UNDER SUCH AGREEMENT WOULD NOT BEGIN AND THAT, THEREFORE, THE 'REENLISTMENT' WOULD NOT BECOME EFFECTIVE, UNTIL AFTER THE NORMAL DATE OF EXPIRATION OF THE ENLISTMENT CURRENT WHEN THE AGREEMENT WAS SIGNED." HELD, THEREFORE, THAT THE REENLISTMENT BONUS AUTHORIZED FOR A VOLUNTARY EXTENSION OF AN ENLISTMENT COULD BE PAID ONLY AFTER EXPIRATION OF THE TERM FOR WHICH THE MEMBER WAS OTHERWISE OBLIGATED TO SERVE AND AFTER THE EXTENSION HAD BECOME FULLY EFFECTIVE AND SERVICE THEREUNDER HAD ACTUALLY BEGUN.

THE COMMITTEE ACTION DISCUSSION POINTS OUT, AND WE AGREE, THAT THE PURPOSES OF THE REENLISTMENT BONUS AND THE ENLISTMENT BONUS, NOW AUTHORIZED IN 37 U.S.C. 308A, ARE DIFFERENT IN THAT ONE IS TO ENCOURAGE REENLISTMENTS WHILE THE OTHER IS TO ENCOURAGE INITIAL ENLISTEES OR DRAFTEES TO ENTER A COMBAT ELEMENT OF AN ARMED FORCE. ENTITLEMENT TO THE REENLISTMENT BONUS AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 208 OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949 AROSE UPON REENLISTMENT WITHIN 90 DAYS AFTER THE DATE OF THE MEMBER'S RELEASE FROM ACTIVE DUTY, AND A VOLUNTARY EXTENSION OF AN ENLISTMENT FOR 2 OR MORE YEARS WAS TO BE CONSIDERED A REENLISTMENT. SUCH BONUS WAS COMPUTED BASED ON THE MONTHLY BASIC PAY TO WHICH THE MEMBER WAS ENTITLED AT THE DATE OF DISCHARGE. IN AUTHORIZING THE ENLISTMENT BONUS, HOWEVER, 37 U.S.C. 308A PROVIDES THAT SUCH BONUS MAY BE PAID IN AN AMOUNT PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, BUT NOT MORE THAN $3,000, AND AMONG OTHERS, MAY BE PAID TO A PERSON WHO EXTENDS HIS INITIAL PERIOD OF ACTIVE DUTY IN A COMBAT ELEMENT "TO A TOTAL OF AT LEAST THREE YEARS." THEREFORE, ELIGIBILITY FOR THE ENLISTMENT BONUS IN THE CASE OF AN EXTENDEE IS NOT BASED SOLELY UPON THE EXTENSION PERIOD AS IS THE CASE WITH REENLISTMENT BONUS. IN THE CASE OF THE ENLISTMENT BONUS THE EXTENDEE'S ELIGIBILITY IS BASED UPON THE INITIAL PERIOD OF SERVICE IN A COMBAT ELEMENT AS EXTENDED "TO A TOTAL OF AT LEAST THREE YEARS."

ACCORDINGLY, IT IS OUR VIEW THAT THE RIGHT TO SUCH BONUS (OR THE FIRST INSTALLMENT IF PAYABLE IN INSTALLMENTS) VESTS AT THE TIME THE ENLISTMENT EXTENSION IS EXECUTED PROVIDED THE MEMBER IS OTHERWISE QUALIFIED. IF HE IS NOT OTHERWISE QUALIFIED THE RIGHT TO THE BONUS (OR FIRST INSTALLMENT) VESTS AFTER THE EXTENSION AGREEMENT IS EXECUTED AND OTHER QUALIFICATIONS ARE ATTAINED (SEE ANSWER TO QUESTION (1)). QUESTION (3) IS THEREFORE ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE ON THE BASIS INDICATED.

WE NOTE THAT SUBSEQUENT TO THE ABOVE-MENTIONED ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S LETTER OF APRIL 20, 1972, THERE HAS BEEN ISSUED DOD DIRECTIVE NO. 1304.16 DATED JUNE 1, 1972, ESTABLISHING THE POLICY GOVERNING THE AWARD OF AN ENLISTMENT BONUS UNDER 37 U.S.C. 308A. THIS DIRECTIVE IS IMPLEMENTED IN DOD INSTRUCTION NO. 1304.17 DATED JUNE 1, 1972. UNDER THE DOD INSTRUCTION, AN ENLISTMENT BONUS IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,500 WOULD BE PAID TO A PERSON WHO INITIALLY ENLISTS FOR A PERIOD OF 4 YEARS FOR THE PURPOSE OF QUALIFYING AND SERVING IN A DESIGNATED MILITARY SPECIALTY IN THE ARMY OR MARINE CORPS COMBAT ELEMENT AS THERE SPECIFIED. THE INSTRUCTION STATES THAT THIS PROCEDURE IS ON A TEST BASIS AND IS APPLICABLE ONLY FOR THE PERIOD JUNE 1 TO AUGUST 31, 1972.