An appointee in the inactive Reserve Corps of the Public Health Service was assigned to the Commissioned Officer Residency Deferred (CORD) program. He entered the program on extended active duty after the authority for induction and training pursuant to the Military Selective Service Act had expired. The officer signed a service agreement in which he agreed to remain on active duty for 2 years for purposes of qualifying for variable incentive pay. His superiors recommended him for variable incentive pay, but his application was denied. The denial was based of the premise that his CORD status rendered him ineligible since it had been determined that all officers appointed in the CORD program prior to September 3, 1974, would have an initial active duty obligation to perform. The purpose of variable incentive pay is to increase the pay provided to medical officers in the uniformed services in an attempt to provide an incentive for those professionals to remain voluntarily in the uniformed services. Regulations provided that the medical officer should have no disqualifying active duty obligation. At the time of his election and appointment in the CORD program, the appointee could not have been involuntarily inducted into the Armed Forces. Individuals entering the program after the expiration date of the Selective Service Act did not have an obligated period of service and, since the authority to induct had expired, there was no reason to grant a deferrment. In the opinion of GAO, individuals entering the CORD program subsequent to the expiration of the Selective Service Act should not be considered as serving an initial active duty obligation. The appointee should not have been considered as having a disqualifying active duty obligation and, if otherwise eligible, is entitled to variable incentive pay computed on the service he performed.
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