37 USC 323 - Special pay: retention incentives for members qualified in critical military skills or assigned to high priority units

(a) Retention Bonus Authorized.— 
An officer or enlisted member of the armed forces who is serving on active duty in a regular component or in an active status in a reserve component and who is qualified in a critical military skill designated under subsection (b) or accepts an assignment to a high priority unit designated under such subsection may be paid a retention bonus as provided in this section if
(1) in the case of an officer, the member executes a written agreement to remain on active duty for at least one year or to remain in an active status in a reserve component for at least one year;
(2) in the case of an enlisted member, other than an enlisted member referred to in paragraph (3), the member reenlists or voluntarily extends the members enlistment for a period of at least one year; or
(3) in the case of an enlisted member serving pursuant to an indefinite reenlistment, the member executes a written agreement to remain on active duty for a period of at least one year or to remain in an active status in a reserve component for a period of at least one year.

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(b) Eligibility Criteria.— 

(1) A designated critical military skill referred to in subsection (a) is a military skill designated as critical by the Secretary of Defense, or by the Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to the Coast Guard when it is not operating as a service in the Navy.
(2) The Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to the Coast Guard when it is not operating as a service in the Navy, may designate a unit as a high priority unit regarding which a retention bonus will be provided to a member of the armed forces who agrees to accept an assignment to the unit under subsection (a).
(c) Payment Methods.— 
A bonus under this section may be paid in a single lump sum or in periodic installments.
(d) Maximum Bonus Amount.— 

(1) A member may enter into an agreement under this section, or reenlist or voluntarily extend the members enlistment, more than once to receive a bonus under this section. However, a member may not receive a total of more than $200,000 (or $100,000 in the case of a reserve component member) in payments under this section.
(2) The limitation in paragraph (1) on the total bonus payments that a member may receive under this section does not apply with respect to an officer who is assigned duties as a health care professional.
(e) Certain Members Ineligible.— 

(1) A retention bonus may not be provided under subsection (a) to a member of the armed forces who
(A) has completed more than 25 years of active duty or service in an active status in a reserve component; or

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(B) will complete the members twenty-fifth year of active duty or service in an active status in a reserve component before the end of the period of active duty or service in an active status in a reserve component for which the bonus is being offered.
(2) The limitations in paragraph (1) do not apply with respect to an officer who, during the period of active duty or service in an active status in a reserve component for which the bonus is being offered, is assigned duties as a health care professional.
(3) The limitations in paragraph (1) do not apply with respect to a member who, during the period of active duty or service in an active status in a reserve component for which the bonus is being offered
(A) is qualified in a skill designated as critical under subsection (b)(1) related to special operations forces; or
(B) is qualified for duty in connection with the supervision, operation, and maintenance of naval nuclear propulsion plants.
(f) Relationship to Other Incentives.— 
A retention bonus paid under this section is in addition to any other pay and allowances to which a member is entitled.
(g) Repayment.— 
A member paid a bonus under this section who fails, during the period of service covered by the members agreement, reenlistment, or voluntary extension of enlistment under subsection (a), to remain qualified in the critical military skill or to satisfy the other eligibility criteria for which the bonus was paid shall be subject to the repayment provisions of section 303a (e) of this title.
(h) Annual Report.— 
Not later than February 15 of each year, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall submit to Congress a report
(1) analyzing the effect, during the preceding fiscal year, of the provision of bonuses under this section on the retention of members of the armed forces who were offered a bonus under this section; and
(2) describing the intentions of the Secretary regarding the continued use of the bonus authority during the current and next fiscal years.
(i) Termination of Bonus Authority.— 
No bonus may be paid under this section with respect to any reenlistment, or voluntary extension of an enlistment, in the armed forces entered into after December 31, 2007, and no agreement under this section may be entered into after that date.