Form PHS-1662 is a “Request for Personnel Action - Commissioned Officer” that is used to request all types of personnel actions (excluding separations and retirements). An agency submits this document through the appropriate channels to formally request an officer to fill a vacancy or transfer.

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Accession Bonus (AB)
A monetary bonus paid to candidates in certain professions when they accept a commission in the USPHS. The candidate agrees to remain on active duty for a pre-determined period of time as a condition for payment. For example, USPHS offers all newly commissioned nurses a $25,000 accession bonus when they sign a 4-year active-duty agreement.

Accredited Institution
An accredited institution is a college, university, institution, school, or program located in one of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or one of the U.S. Territories. The institution must be accredited by an accrediting agency or association, recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and/or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, and is acceptable to the USPHS.

Active Duty Service Time
Full-time duty in active military or uniform service of the United States. This includes members of the Reserve Component serving on active duty or full-time training duty, but does not include full-time National Guard duty.

Agency Supervisor
The designated Federal agency official who will be directly responsible for the day-to-day supervision of the officer while the officer is on detail to a Federal agency.

Annual Leave (AL)
Any period of authorized absence of one workday or more during which an officer is relieved from his/her scheduled working hours (other than sick, administrative, or court leave) including all non workdays within such period.

Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH)
Oversees 14 core public health offices, including the Office of the Surgeon General and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, 10 Regional Health Offices across the Nation, and 10 Presidential and Secretarial advisory committees. The ASH serves as the senior public health advisor to the Secretary of Health. The ASH helps coordinate the activities of the USPHS agencies on behalf of the Secretary of Health. Visit the Leadership page to view the bio of the current Assistant Secretary for Health.

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Base Pay
Pay received by all service members and the main component of an individual's salary. This is calculated by the rank/grade of the individual and amount of service time.

Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH)
An amount of money prescribed and limited by law which an officer receives to pay for quarters not provided by the Government. This is calculated by the rank/grade of the individual, zip code of the duty station, and dependent status.

Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS)
Offset costs for a service member's meals. This allowance is based in the historic origins of the military in which the military provided room and board (or rations) as part of a member's pay. This allowance is not intended to offset the costs of meals for family members, and each year, it is adjusted based upon the increase of the price of food as measured by the USDA food cost index.

Battle Dress Uniform (BDU)
Used by the military for duties such as training, combat, field maneuvers, and basic utility purposes. It is worn by orders from the commander and, unlike some uniforms, can be worn off-post in many cases.

Blanket Memorandum of Agreement (BMA)
An assignment agreement between the Department of Health and Human Services and a non-departmental organization that is for either a specific project of undetermined duration or an ongoing departmental mission and covers one or more detailed officers. For example, the USPHS has a BMA with the Department of Homeland Security to provide officers the opportunity to serve in the Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) Health Service Corps (HSC).

Board Certification Pay (BCP)
A monthly payment that requires current board certification. The amount is based on the number of years of creditable service.

See Professionally Boarded

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Call to Active Duty (CAD)
The issuance of personnel orders to an officer to enter on full-time duty in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service.

Call to Duty Date
The date a candidate receives personnel orders effectively bringing them onto active duty as an officer in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service. This only applies to new officers or students participating in the COSTEP programs. Also known as the effective date, this is the date a new officer or COSTEP participant can begin to report to their new duty station.

Career Assignment Manager (CAM)
Human resource personnel who assist applicants from the submission of the commissioning application packet through to their call-to-active duty; current active duty officers with identifying new career opportunities; and active duty personnel in career decisions related to assignments.

See Professional Category

Chief Professional Officer (CPO)
The leader of a professional category within the USPHS who provides advice and consultation to the Surgeon General on issues related to both the professional practice of a specific category, and the personnel activities of civil service and Commissioned Corps officers in said category.

Commissioned Officers Student Training and Externship Program (COSTEP)
The student programs available at USPHS. Please also see JRCOSTEP and SRCOSTEP in the Glossary or visit the Student Opportunities and Training section for more details.

Creditable Education and Training
Education and training that is in a discipline, specialty, or closely allied and relevant field of study acceptable in a category for which the candidate is being considered, from an accredited institution, and is at the proper educational level.

Creditable Work Experience
Work experience that is at the professional work level and is in the category, discipline, or specialty for which the candidate is being considered, or is in a closely allied and relevant field of study that is considered so relevant or essential that the work experience may be substituted fully for that obtained in the category, discipline, or specialty itself.

Stands for “Continental United States” and refers to the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia. Alaska and Hawaii are not included in the definition of CONUS.

Cut Orders
The act of issuing personnel orders.

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An immediate family member (including spouse) or other authorized person who is entitled to benefits as a result of the service of an active duty sponsor or retired officer.

Placement of an officer, whether on a voluntary or involuntary basis, where the officer is ordered to perform duties in, or for, a non-departmental organization.

The emblem of the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service consisting of a fouled anchor and caduceus crossed as in the seal of the Service (known as the Corps device). In the case of the cap device, a shield with a chief having 13 stars surmounted with a spread eagle, with the head pointing to the right, overlying the crossed fouled anchor and caduceus.

The date of initial entry to uniformed services.

Division of Commissioned Corps Personnel and Readiness (DCCPR)
Carries out the day-to-day management and administration of major Commissioned Corps operational functions. More specifically, conducts recruitment; Commissioned Corps boards; issues personnel orders; oversees the performance, discipline, and conduct of commissioned officers as well as the development and the implementation of policies and regulations; and advises the Assistant Secretary for Health and the Surgeon General on matters related to operations management.

Duty Station
The location in which an officer reports to work while serving a specific agency. Visit the Active Duty Station Map to learn more about the duty stations where Corps officers are currently serving.

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Effective Date
The date in which a personal order takes effect. Essentially it is the date an officer becomes eligible to start travel for temporary duty assignment (TDY) or permanent change of station (PCS). In the case of a new call to duty it is the date the candidate is officially an officer (see also Call to Duty Date).

Extended Active Duty
A phrase used to refer to a period of active duty service in excess of 120 consecutive days.

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The corresponding code associated with a service member’s rank, e.g., O-4 is an O-4 pay grade equivalent to Lieutenant Commander in the USPHS and Navy. Refer to the Uniformed Services Rank Chart on the Uniforms page for more details.

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Home of Record (HOR)
The location in which an individual was living when they entered active duty in the military or in a uniformed service. The main purpose of the HOR is to determine an officer's travel and transportation needs, and shipment of household goods (HHG) entitlements. When officers are called to duty, they are asked to provide the city and state they consider their "permanent home" or HOR. This must be a location in which they have lived or owned property before to their call to duty, but it does not have to be the same location from which they are called to duty. Upon call to active duty, an officer's HHG may be shipped from either the city from which they travel or from their HOR. After serving a minimum of two years of active duty, officers are entitled to travel and shipment of HHG from the duty station back to either the location from which they were called to duty or to their HOR upon inactivation or termination.

Household Goods (HHG)
Items associated with the home and all personal effects belonging to an officer and dependents. Refer to the Joint Federal Travel Regulations (JFTR) [PDF] for a list of specific items which may not be considered household goods for the purposes of shipment at Government expense.

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Incentive Special Pay (ISP)
An annual payment for medical officers based on medical specialty. ISP requires a one-year contract.

Inter-Service Transfer (IST) or Lateral Transfer
Transfer of an officer from one service to another with comparable duties and responsibilities without a change in rank/grade.

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Joint Federal Travel Regulations (JFTR)
Regulation that governs travel entitlements and restrictions for government personnel.

Junior Commissioned Officer Student Training and Extern Program (JRCOSTEP)
Provides eligible participants in specific health disciplines with a short-term paid opportunity to work in the same Federal agencies and programs as Commissioned Corps officers. The assignments are in locations throughout the country and vary from 31 up to 120 days during official school breaks. Visit the Internship/Externship Program section under Student Opportunities and Training for more information about JRCOSTEP.

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Loan Repayment Program
A Federal program that awards monies to be used to pay down student loan debt in return for a commitment to provide care in underserved communities.

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Medically Qualified
All applicants to the USPHS Commissioned Corps must undergo a physical examination and be found medically qualified prior to an appointment. The commissioned officer is expected to be physically qualified to perform the duties of his/her rank and profession in various climates and work assignments without endangering his/her health or the health of others.

Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)
A personnel assignment agreement between the Department of Health and Human Services or one of its departmental organizations and a non-departmental organization that sets forth the rights, duties, benefits, obligations, and financial arrangements (where necessary) relating to the detail of one or more officers to a non-departmental organization. Visit the DoD-HHS Partners in Mental Health page to read about the MOA with the Department of Defense.

Military Pay Chart
An itemization of the various pays and allowances service members may receive according to rank/grade and years of service. Officers in the USPHS are paid according to the military pay chart. It is important to note that the amounts depicted on this chart do not include special pays and allowances.

Military Treatment Facility (MTF)
Includes military health care, hospitals and clinics, and those facilities under contract with the Government to provide health care services for members of the uniformed services.

Combining or involving several academic disciplines or professional specializations. Some duty stations where Commissioned Corps officers serve offer multidisciplinary positions, meaning they are not restricted to just one of the disciplines listed under Careers & Benefits.

Multiyear Retention Bonus (MRB)
A written contract between an officer (afforded to clinicians) and an agency, by which an officer agrees to remain on active duty for pre-determined period, beginning on the effective date of the agreement for additional pay.

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National Health Service Corps (NHSC)
The NHSC, through scholarship and loan repayment programs, helps Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) in the U.S. get the medical, dental, and mental health providers they need to meet their tremendous need for health care. Visit the National Health Services Corps page under Student Opportunities and Training for more information.

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Stands for “Outside Continental United States” and refers to geographic locations outside the contiguous 48 United States and the District of Columbia. Alaska and Hawaii are considered OCONUS.

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Refers to “Professional Advisory Committee” which provides advice and consultation to the Surgeon General on issues related to both the professional practice of a specific category, and the personnel activities of civil service and Commissioned Corps officers in said category. The PAC provides similar advisory assistance to the respective category Chief Professional Officer (CPO) and, upon request, to the Agency/OPDIV and/or program heads of the USPHS and to non-USPHS programs that routinely use USPHS personnel.

Refers to “Professional Advisory Group” which is a subgroup of a PAC consisting of a specific discipline of professionals. Currently the only category that has PAGs is the Health Services PAC.

Permanent Change of Station (PCS)
A PCS is the detail or transfer of an officer to a different permanent duty station under official orders that do not specify the duty as temporary.

Permanent Duty Station (PDS)
The duty location or official station of an officer. Visit the Active Duty Station Map to learn more about the duty stations where Corps officers are currently serving.

Personnel Orders
Formal written document issued by your uniformed service which directs you to execute a personnel action.

PLEAD (Place from which called/ordered to active duty)

  1. The place of acceptance in current enlistment, commission, or appointment of an active Service member, or of an RC member when enlisted, commissioned, or appointed for immediate active duty. For an inductee, it’s the location of the local Selective Service Board to which the individual first reported for delivery to the induction station
  2. In the case of an RC member who is not enlisted, commissioned, or appointed for immediate active duty, the place to which an order to active duty is addressed.
  3. Effective 1 January 1983, in the case of a non-prior service midshipman or cadet at a Service academy or a civilian college or university, the place at which the members attains a military status or at which the member enters the Service.

Prior Service
Used to describe previous military/uniformed service time in another branch of uniformed service.

Professionally Boarded
Applicants are “professionally boarded,” “boarded,” or “board certified” when they have successfully completed all board certification requirements dictated by the Appointment Standards of the USPHS and are deemed “certified” by a professional board in the officer’s professional category as designated by the USPHS.

Professional Category (Category)
A grouping by an officer’s professional discipline, the USPHS has 11 professional categories. These categories are used by the USPHS to determine eligibility for promotion.

  • Physician
  • Dentist
  • Pharmacist
  • Nurse
  • Dietitian
  • Scientist
  • Engineer
  • Therapist
  • Environmental Health
  • Veterinarian
  • Health Services

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The formal title of a grade or position such as Captain (CAPT), Commander (CDR), Lieutenant Commander (LCDR), etc. Refer to the Uniformed Services Rank Chart on the Uniforms page for more details.

Ready Reserve Corps
The Ready Reserve Corps was authorized in 2010 to make additional Corps personnel available on short notice to assist full-time Commissioned Corps personnel to meet both routine public health and emergency response missions. It is similar to other uniformed services reserve components. Refer to the Ready Reserve Corps page under About the Commissioned Corps for more information.

Retention Special Pay (RSP)
An annual payment for medical officers who execute a contract to remain on active duty for a specified term of one or more years. Payment is made in a lump sum usually within 90 of the effective date of the contract. If other bonus pay contracts are negotiated, they will have concurrent dating.

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Secretary of Health and Human Services
Head of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and responsible for protecting and promoting public health and providing welfare and other social security services. Visit the HHS Web site to view the bio of the current Secretary for Health.

Senior Commissioned Officer Student Training and Extern Program (SRCOSTEP)
Provides full-time students who are completing their final year of academic study or professional training with financial assistance. In return for financial assistance, SRCOSTEP participants then work as a Commissioned Corps Officer after graduation. Visit Unique Financial Assistance Program under Student Opportunities and Training for more information.

Shipping Officer
An individual within a USPHS component who is responsible for making arrangements for the transportation of the household goods of USPHS commissioned officers.

Special Pay
An additional pay, above and beyond pay and allowances officers receive, that is awarded dependent of professional discipline, specialty training and location. These types of pays can incur an additional contractual service obligation.

An applicant is found suitable when they have passed a full background and credit check investigation. This investigation is conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).

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Training and Experience (T&E)
Education, training, or work experience that is creditable for purposes of establishing an officer's permanent and temporary grade upon appointment as well as determining an officer's eligibility for subsequent promotions after original appointment.

Training and Experience Date (TED)
The date established by subtracting the creditable T&E from the appointment date. This date is used to determine when an officer is to be considered for promotion according to the promotion schedule.

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Uniformed Service
One of the seven Uniformed Services of the United States, namely: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard (Department of Homeland Security), Marine Corps (Department of the Navy), Navy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Commissioned Corps (Department of Commerce), and the USPHS Commissioned Corps (Department of Health and Human Services).

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU)
The Nation's health sciences university, providing training to military physicians, nurses, and educators. Those that are accepted into USU agree to serve in a uniform service once they graduate in exchange for a free education. Visit USU School of Medicine under Student Opportunities and Training to learn about opportunities at the USU Health Sciences School of Medicine.

An officer demonstrates general character traits or misconduct that makes him/her unacceptable for continued affiliation or accession in a Uniformed Service.

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Variable Special Pay (VSP)
A monthly payment that is available to all medical officers based on years of creditable service which is defined as the number of years an officer has been on active duty as a medical officer of the Uniformed Services and/or the years spent participating in an accredited medical internship or residency training while not on active duty in a Uniformed Service.

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