B-182088, DEC 26, 1974, 54 COMP GEN 536

B-182088: Dec 26, 1974

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GRATUITIES - REENLISTMENT BONUS - ELIGIBILITY - PUBLIC LAW 93-277 MEMBERS OF MILITARY SERVICE WHO WERE DISCHARGED OR SEPARATED PRIOR TO JUNE 1. WHO REENLISTED WITHIN 3 MONTHS BUT WERE NOT ON ACTIVE DUTY ON JUNE 1. ARE NOT ENTITLED TO RECEIVE THE REGULAR REENLISTMENT BONUS UNDER PRIOR LAW. AS SAVED BY SECTION 3 OF PUBLIC LAW 93-277 SINCE THE LAW AS ENACTED SPECIFICALLY LIMITS SAVE-PAY TO THOSE MEMBERS WHO WERE ON ACTIVE DUTY ON THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE ACT AND THERE IS NOTHING IN THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THAT ACT WHICH WOULD FURNISH A BASIS UPON WHICH THAT LIMITATION COULD BE DISREGARDED. 1974: THIS ACTION IS IN RESPONSE TO A LETTER DATED AUGUST 15. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES DISCUSSED IN DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE MILITARY PAY AND ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE ACTION NO. 513 WHICH WAS ENCLOSED WITH THE REQUEST.

B-182088, DEC 26, 1974, 54 COMP GEN 536

GRATUITIES - REENLISTMENT BONUS - ELIGIBILITY - PUBLIC LAW 93-277 MEMBERS OF MILITARY SERVICE WHO WERE DISCHARGED OR SEPARATED PRIOR TO JUNE 1, 1974, AND WHO REENLISTED WITHIN 3 MONTHS BUT WERE NOT ON ACTIVE DUTY ON JUNE 1, 1974, THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF PUBLIC LAW 93-277, ARE NOT ENTITLED TO RECEIVE THE REGULAR REENLISTMENT BONUS UNDER PRIOR LAW, AS SAVED BY SECTION 3 OF PUBLIC LAW 93-277 SINCE THE LAW AS ENACTED SPECIFICALLY LIMITS SAVE-PAY TO THOSE MEMBERS WHO WERE ON ACTIVE DUTY ON THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE ACT AND THERE IS NOTHING IN THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THAT ACT WHICH WOULD FURNISH A BASIS UPON WHICH THAT LIMITATION COULD BE DISREGARDED.

IN THE MATTER OF ELIGIBILITY FOR REGULAR REENLISTMENT BONUS UNDER PUBLIC LAW 93-277, DECEMBER 26, 1974:

THIS ACTION IS IN RESPONSE TO A LETTER DATED AUGUST 15, 1974, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE REQUESTING AN ADVANCE DECISION CONCERNING ENTITLEMENT TO A REGULAR REENLISTMENT BONUS PURSUANT TO SECTION 3 OF THE ARMED FORCES ENLISTED PERSONNEL BONUS REVISION ACT OF 1974, APPROVED MAY 10, 1974, PUBLIC LAW 93-277, 88 STAT. 119, 121, IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES DISCUSSED IN DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE MILITARY PAY AND ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE ACTION NO. 513 WHICH WAS ENCLOSED WITH THE REQUEST.

THE QUESTION PRESENTED IN THE COMMITTEE ACTION IS AS FOLLOWS:

IS AN ENLISTED MEMBER WHO WAS DISCHARGED PRIOR TO 1 JUNE 1974, OR AN OFFICER WHO IS OTHERWISE QUALIFIED AND WHO WAS SEPARATED PRIOR TO 1 JUNE 1974, WHO REENLISTED AFTER 1 JUNE 1974, BUT WITHIN A THREE MONTH PERIOD AFTER DISCHARGE OR SEPARATION ENTITLED TO A REGULAR REENLISTMENT BONUS?

THE DISCUSSION CONTAINED IN THE COMMITTEE ACTION STATES THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE MILITARY PAY AND ALLOWANCES ENTITLEMENTS MANUAL, PARAGRAPH 10922, INTERIM CHANGE 129 (EFFECTIVE JUNE 1, 1974), SPECIFIES THAT A REGULAR REENLISTMENT BONUS MAY BE PAID TO AN ENLISTED MEMBER WHO WAS ON ACTIVE DUTY ON JUNE 1, 1974, IN THE ARMED FORCES, COMPLETED REQUIRED SERVICE AND ENLISTED IN THE REGULAR COMPONENT OF THE SAME SERVICE WITHIN A THREE-MONTH PERIOD. THIS INTERIM CHANGE WAS PROMULGATED PURSUANT TO THE SAVE PAY PROVISION CONTAINED IN SECTION 3 OF PUBLIC LAW 93-277, WHICH BECAME EFFECTIVE JUNE 1, 1974.

THE DISCUSSION POINTS OUT THAT THE JUNE 1, 1974, ACTIVE DUTY REQUIREMENT HAS CAUSED AN INEQUITY TO ACCRUE TO ANY MEMBER WHO WAS DISCHARGED OR SEPARATED BEFORE JUNE 1, 1974, AND REENLISTED WITHIN A THREE-MONTH PERIOD BUT AFTER JUNE 1, 1974, IN THAT HE IS INELIGIBLE FOR SUCH A BONUS. IT IS FURTHER POINTED OUT THAT THE INEQUITY IS INTENSIFIED WHEN THAT RESULT IS COMPARED TO THE CASE OF A MEMBER ON ACTIVE DUTY ON JUNE 1, 1974, WHO IS SUBSEQUENTLY DISCHARGED OR SEPARATED AND REENLISTS WITHIN A THREE-MONTH PERIOD AND IS ENTITLED TO THE REGULAR REENLISTMENT BONUS.

WITH REGARD TO THE ABOVE, THE VIEW IS EXPRESSED IN THE COMMITTEE ACTION THAT IT DOES NOT APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN THE INTENT OF CONGRESS TO EXCLUDE MEMBERS FROM THIS ENTITLEMENT IF THEY WERE DISCHARGED OR SEPARATED PRIOR TO JUNE 1, 1974, AND REENLISTED WITHIN A THREE-MONTH PERIOD.

PUBLIC LAW 93-277, APPROVED MAY 10, 1974, 88 STAT. 119, AND ENTITLED THE ARMED FORCES ENLISTED PERSONNEL BONUS REVISION ACT BECAME EFFECTIVE ON JUNE 1, 1974. THIS LAW WAS ENACTED TO REVISE THE SPECIAL PAY BONUS STRUCTURE RELATING TO MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES BY ESTABLISHING A NEW CRITICAL SKILL RETENTION INCENTIVE TO REPLACE BOTH THE VARIABLE REENLISTMENT BONUS AND THE REGULAR REENLISTMENT BONUS. HOWEVER, SECTION 3 OF THAT ACT AUTHORIZES THE CONTINUATION OF PAYMENT OF THE REGULAR REENLISTMENT BONUS PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED TO ALL REENLISTEES IN NONSELECTIVE REENLISTMENT BONUS SPECIALITIES WHO WERE ON ACTIVE DUTY ON JUNE 1, 1974. THAT SECTION PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

NOTWITHSTANDING SECTION 308 OF TITLE 37, U.S.C. AS AMENDED BY THIS ACT, A MEMBER OF A UNIFORMED SERVICE ON ACTIVE DUTY ON THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE ACT, WHO WOULD HAVE BEEN ELIGIBLE, AT THE END OF HIS CURRENT OR SUBSEQUENT ENLISTMENT, FOR THE REENLISTMENT BONUS PRESCRIBED IN SECTION 308 (A) OR (D) OF THAT TITLE, AS IT EXISTED ON THE DAY BEFORE THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS ACT, SHALL CONTINUE TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE REENLISTMENT BONUS UNDER THAT SECTION AS IT EXISTED ON THE DAY BEFORE THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS ACT. IF A MEMBER IS ALSO ELIGIBLE FOR THE REENLISTMENT BONUS PRESCRIBED IN THAT SECTION AS AMENDED BY THIS ACT, HE MAY ELECT TO RECEIVE EITHER, ONE OF THOSE REENLISTMENT BONUSES. HOWEVER, A MEMBER'S ELIGIBILITY UNDER SECTION 308 (A) OR (D) OF THAT TITLE, AS IT EXISTED ON THE DAY BEFORE THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS ACT, TERMINATES WHEN HE HAS RECEIVED A TOTAL OF $2,000 IN REENLISTMENT BONUS PAYMENTS, RECEIVED UNDER EITHER SECTION 308(A) OR (D) OF THAT TITLE AS IT EXISTED ON THE DAY BEFORE THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS ACT, OR UNDER SECTION 308 OF THAT TITLE, AS AMENDED BY THIS ACT, OR FROM A COMBINATION OF BOTH.

WITH REGARD TO THE INTENT OF CONGRESS IN THE ENACTMENT OF THAT PROVISION, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES REPORT NO. 93-857 (1973) CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING LANGUAGE AT PAGE 6:

UNDER THE BILL ANY MEMBER ON ACTIVE-DUTY SERVICE PRIOR TO THE FIRST DAY OF THE MONTH FOLLOWING THE DATE OF ENACTMENT, THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE BILL, WILL NOT BE DENIED A REGULAR REENLISTMENT BONUS.

THE PURPOSE OF THIS PROVISION IS TO ENSURE THAT EVERY ENLISTED MEMBER ON ACTIVE DUTY ON THE EFFECTIVE DATE WILL NOT BE DENIED A REENLISTMENT INCENTIVE WHICH WAS AVAILABLE AT THE TIME HE OR SHE JOINED THE ARMED FORCES.

THIS SAVED-PAY FEATURE IS DESIRABLE BECAUSE MANY OF THE INDIVIDUALS NOW ENTITLED TO RECEIVE A REENLISTMENT BONUS WILL NOT CONTINUE TO BE SO ENTITLED UNDER THE PROPOSED LEGISLATION. THE SAVED-PAY FEATURE PRECLUDES THOSE CURRENTLY ON ACTIVE DUTY FROM LOSING THEIR $2,000 REENLISTMENT ENTITLEMENT WHICH BY LAW THEY EXPECTED TO RECEIVE. CONVERSELY, IT DENIES HIS ENTITLEMENT TO ANYONE ENTERING ON ACTIVE DUTY AFTER THE DATE THIS PROPOSED LAW BECOMES EFFECTIVE WHO DOES NOT REENLIST IN A CRITICAL SPECIALTY.

SEE ALSO S. REPORT 93-659 (1973), 5.

ALTHOUGH THE HISTORY OF SECTION 3, AS TYPIFIED BY THE ABOVE, DOES NOT CLEARLY SHOW THAT CONGRESS INTENDED TO DENY THE SAVED REGULAR REENLISTMENT BONUS TO INDIVIDUALS WHO HAPPENED TO BE BETWEEN ENLISTMENTS ON JUNE 1, 1974, THE WORDS ENACTED ARE CLEAR. SINCE THE LAW PROVIDES THAT THE SAVED REGULAR REENLISTMENT BONUS IS AUTHORIZED FOR MEMBERS ON ACTIVE DUTY ON THE EFFECTIVE DATE THEREOF AND DOES NOT PROVIDE SUCH A BENEFIT FOR OTHER CLASSES OF INDIVIDUALS WE WOULD NOT BE JUSTIFIED IN EXPANDING THAT SAVED PAY PROVISION EVEN THOUGH THERE MAY BE SOME INDICATION IN THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THAT PROVISION THAT CONGRESS MAY NOT HAVE REALIZED THAT THE CLASS OF INDIVIDUALS HERE UNDER CONSIDERATION WOULD BE EXCLUDED.

ACCORDINGLY, MEMBERS WHO WERE SEPARATED PRIOR TO JUNE 1, 1974, AND WERE NOT ON ACTIVE DUTY ON THAT DATE BUT WHO SUBSEQUENT THERETO AND WITHIN 3 MONTHS OF SEPARATION REENLISTED ARE NOT ENTITLED TO A REGULAR REENLISTMENT BONUS UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 3 OF THE ARMED FORCES ENLISTED PERSONNEL BONUS REVISION ACT OF 1974. YOUR QUESTION IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.