(a)(1) Consistent with this section and the availability of appropriations for this purpose, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security may provide a financial incentive to members of the armed forces described in subsection (b) for voluntary appointment, enlistment, or transfer to a reserve component, requested and approved under subsection (c).
(2)(A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B), a financial incentive provided a member under this section shall be paid for the period equal to twice the number of years of service of the member, computed as provided in subsection (e)(5).
(B) If, before the expiration of the period otherwise applicable under subparagraph (A) to a member receiving a financial incentive under this section, the member is separated from a reserve component or is transferred to the Retired Reserve, the period for payment of a financial incentive to the member under this section shall terminate on the date of the separation or transfer unless—
(i) the separation or transfer is required by reason of the age or number of years of service of the member;
(ii) the separation or transfer is required by reason of the failure of selection for promotion or the medical disqualification of the member, except in a case in which the Secretary of Defense or the Secretary of Homeland Security determines that the basis for the separation or transfer is a result of a deliberate action taken by the member with the intent to avoid retention in the Ready Reserve or Standby Reserve; or
(iii) in the case of a separation, the member is separated from the reserve component for appointment or enlistment in or transfer to another reserve component of an armed force for service in the Ready Reserve or Standby Reserve of that armed force.
(b) The Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security may provide the incentive to a member of the armed forces if the member—
(1) has served on active duty or full-time National Guard duty or any combination of active duty and full-time National Guard duty for more than 6 but less than 20 years;
(2) has served at least 5 years of continuous active duty or full-time National Guard duty or any combination of active duty and full-time National Guard duty immediately preceding the date of separation;
(3) meets such other requirements as the Secretary may prescribe from time to time, which may include requirements relating to—
(A) years of service;
(B) skill or rating;
(C) grade or rank; and
(D) remaining period of obligated service.
(c) A member of the armed forces offered a voluntary separation incentive under this section shall be offered the opportunity to request separation under a program established pursuant to section 1174a of this title. If the Secretary concerned approves a request for separation under either such section, the member shall be separated under the authority of the section selected by such member.
(d)(1) A member of the armed forces described in subsection (b) may request voluntary appointment, enlistment, or transfer to a reserve component accompanied by this incentive, provided the member has completed 6 years of active service.
(2) The Secretary, in his discretion, may approve or disapprove a request according to the needs of the armed forces.
(3) After December 31, 2001, the Secretary may not approve a request.
(e)(1) The annual payment of the incentive shall equal 2.5 percent of the monthly basic pay the member receives on the date appointed, enlisted, or transferred to the reserve component, multiplied by twelve and multiplied again by the member's years of service.
(2) A member entitled to voluntary separation incentive payments who is also entitled to basic pay for active or reserve service, or compensation for inactive duty training, may elect to have a reduction in the voluntary separation incentive payable for the same period in an amount not to exceed the amount of the basic pay or compensation received for that period.
(3)(A) A member who has received the voluntary separation incentive and who later qualifies for retired or retainer pay under this title shall have deducted from each payment of such retired or retainer pay an amount, in such schedule of monthly installments as the Secretary of Defense shall specify, taking into account the financial ability of the member to pay and avoiding the imposition of undue financial hardship on the member and member's dependents, until the total amount deducted is equal to the total amount of voluntary separation incentive so paid. If the member elected to have a reduction in voluntary separation incentive for any period pursuant to paragraph (2), the deduction required under the preceding sentence shall be reduced as the Secretary of Defense shall specify.
(B) If a member is receiving simultaneous voluntary separation incentive payments and retired or retainer pay, the member may elect to terminate the receipt of voluntary separation incentive payments. Any such election is permanent and irrevocable. The rate of monthly recoupment from retired or retainer pay of voluntary separation incentive payments received after such an election shall be reduced by a percentage that is equal to a fraction with a denominator equal to the number of months that the voluntary separation incentive payments were scheduled to be paid and a numerator equal to the number of months that would not be paid as a result of the member's decision to terminate the voluntary separation incentive.
(4) A member who is receiving voluntary separation incentive payments shall not be deprived of this incentive by reason of entitlement to disability compensation under the laws administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, but there shall be deducted from voluntary separation incentive payments an amount equal to the amount of any such disability compensation concurrently received. Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, no deduction may be made from voluntary separation incentive payments for any disability compensation received because of an earlier period of active duty if the voluntary separation incentive is received because of discharge or release from a later period of active duty.
(5) The years of service of a member for purposes of this section shall be computed in accordance with section 1405 of this title.
(f) The member's right to incentive payments shall not be transferable, except that the member may designate beneficiaries to receive the payments in the event of the member's death.
(g) Subject to subsection (h), payments under this provision shall be paid from appropriations available to the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security for the Coast Guard.
(h)(1) There is established on the books of the Treasury a fund to be known as the "Voluntary Separation Incentive Fund" (hereinafter in this subsection referred to as the "Fund"). The Fund shall be administered by the Secretary of the Treasury. The Fund shall be used for the accumulation of funds in order to finance on an actuarially sound basis the liabilities of the Department of Defense under this section.
(2) There shall be deposited in the Fund the following, which shall constitute the assets of the Fund:
(A) Amounts paid into the Fund under paragraphs (5), (6), and (7).
(B) Any amount appropriated to the Fund.
(C) Any return on investment of the assets of the Fund.
(3) All voluntary separation incentive payments made by the Secretary of Defense after December 31, 1992, under this section shall be paid out of the Fund. To the extent provided in appropriation Acts, the assets of the Fund shall be available to the Secretary to pay voluntary separation incentives under this section.
(4) The Department of Defense Board of Actuaries (hereinafter in this subsection referred to as the "Board") shall perform the same functions regarding the Fund, as provided in this subsection, as such Board performs regarding the Department of Defense Military Retirement Fund.
(5) Not later than January 1, 1993, the Board shall determine the amount that is the present value, as of that date, of the future benefits payable under this section in the case of persons who are separated pursuant to this section before that date. The amount so determined is the original unfunded liability of the Fund. The Board shall determine an appropriate amortization period and schedule for liquidation of the original unfunded liability. The Secretary shall make deposits to the Fund in accordance with that amortization schedule.
(6) For persons separated under this section on or after January 1, 1993, the Secretary shall deposit in the Fund during the period beginning on that date and ending on September 30, 1999—
(A) such sums as are necessary to pay the current liabilities under this section during such period; and
(B) the amount equal to the present value, as of September 30, 1999, of the future benefits payable under this section, as determined by the Board.
(7)(A) For each fiscal year after fiscal year 1999, the Board shall—
(i) carry out an actuarial valuation of the Fund and determine any unfunded liability of the Fund which deposits under paragraphs (5) and (6) do not liquidate, taking into consideration any cumulative actuarial gain or loss to the Fund;
(ii) determine the period over which that unfunded liability should be liquidated; and
(iii) determine for the following fiscal year, the total amount, and the monthly amount, of the Department of Defense contributions that must be made to the Fund during that fiscal year in order to fund the unfunded liabilities of the Fund over the applicable amortization periods.
(B) The Board shall carry out its responsibilities for each fiscal year in sufficient time for the amounts referred to in subparagraph (A)(iii) to be included in budget requests for that fiscal year.
(C) The Secretary of Defense shall pay into the Fund at the end of each month as the Department of Defense contribution to the Fund the amount necessary to liquidate unfunded liabilities of the Fund in accordance with the amortization schedules determined by the Board.
(8) Amounts paid into the Fund under this subsection shall be paid from funds available for the pay of members of the armed forces under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of each military department.
(9) The investment provisions of section 1467 of this title shall apply to the Voluntary Separation Incentive Fund.
(i) The Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security may issue such regulations as may be necessary to carry out this section.
(j) A member of the armed forces who is provided a voluntary separation incentive under this section shall be eligible for the same benefits and services as are provided under chapter 58 of this title, sections 474 and 476 of title 37, and section 503(c) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1991 (104 Stat. 1558; 37 U.S.C. 476 note) for members of the armed forces who are involuntarily separated within the meaning of section 1141 of this title.
(Added Pub. L. 102–190, div. A, title VI, §662(a)(1), Dec. 5, 1991, 105 Stat. 1396; amended Pub. L. 102–484, div. A, title X, §1052(16), div. D, title XLIV, §§4405(b), 4406(a), (b), 4422(b), Oct. 23, 1992, 106 Stat. 2499, 2706, 2707, 2719; Pub. L. 103–160, div. A, title V, §§502, 561(h), Nov. 30, 1993, 107 Stat. 1644, 1668; Pub. L. 103–337, div. A, title V, §542(c), Oct. 5, 1994, 108 Stat. 2769; Pub. L. 105–261, div. A, title V, §§561(b), 563(a), (b), Oct. 17, 1998, 112 Stat. 2025, 2028; Pub. L. 106–398, §1 [[div. A], title V, §§571(b), 572(a)], Oct. 30, 2000, 114 Stat. 1654, 1654A–134, 1654A–135; Pub. L. 107–296, title XVII, §1704(b)(1), Nov. 25, 2002, 116 Stat. 2314; Pub. L. 110–181, div. A, title IX, §906(c)(1), Jan. 28, 2008, 122 Stat. 277; Pub. L. 111–32, title III, §318(b), June 24, 2009, 123 Stat. 1874; Pub. L. 112–81, div. A, title VI, §631(f)(4)(A), Dec. 31, 2011, 125 Stat. 1465; Pub. L. 112–239, div. A, title X, §1076(a)(9), Jan. 2, 2013, 126 Stat. 1948.)
Last modified: October 26, 2015