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DOD/OS RIN: 0790-AL00 Publication ID: Fall 2020 
Title: Screening the Ready Reserve 

On April 2, 2020, the Secretary of Defense issued a memorandum titled "Guidance on Activating the National Guard, Reserve, and Individual Ready Reserve for Coronavirus Disease Response," which describes the intent for the military Services to maximize DoD’s ability to support the domestic response to coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). In the criticality of the current COVID-19 pandemic, this part, titled Screening the Ready Reserve,” is in need of an update. The part, last codified on December 23, 1999 (64 FR 72027), provides guidance governing annual screening of Reserve component members of the U.S. military departments relative to their civilian employment to ensure compliance with 10 U.S.C. 10149 and to ensure availability of Ready Reserve members for military mobilization purposes. The intended effect of the screening is to preclude conflicts between Reserve mobilization obligations and civilian employment requirements during times of war or national emergency. This is the only rule of its kind and it provides employers a formal process to remove from federal military service a Ready Reserve employee who occupies a key position or occupies a position whose mobilization would create an extreme personal or community hardship. Updating this rule will assist the domestic response to COVID-19 by supporting military mobilization without diminishing the national coronavirus response.

Agency: Department of Defense(DOD)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
EO 13771 Designation: Other 
CFR Citation: 32 CFR 44   
Legal Authority: 10 U.S.C. 10149   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

The revised rule will apply only to non-Federal employers as it removes language pertaining to key federal positions and updates the naming of current offices within the Office of the Secretary of Defense.  This rule also ensures proper planning and balanced responsiveness of the military and civilian community, especially in response to COVID-19.  Without the identification of those with critical civilian skills, there could be a depletion of medical skills needed for the civilian capacity and capability to respond to COVID-19 surges within their communities.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

The revised rule is to ensure compliance with 10 U.S.C. 10149, the Secretary of Defense provides a system of continuous screening of Ready Reserve members to ensure there will be no significant attrition during mobilization, there is a proper balance of military skills, members with critical civilian skills are not retained beyond the need for those skills, participation in combat is duly recognized, and members whose mobilization would result in an extreme personal or community hardship are not retained in the Ready Reserve.


If no action were taken to update the current rule, the ability to screen medical employees with critical civilian skills needed for the COVID-19 response and to identify those critical employees to the Services for consideration of movement into the Standby Reserve would be reduced greatly impacting both military and civilian responses and creating inefficiencies in awareness and planning of medical capacity and capability.  Additionally, if no action were taken, the current names of OSD officials with screening the Ready Reserve responsibilities would not be communicated to employers.  This lack of action is not preferred as it would cause inefficiencies in providing medical capacity for COVID-19 response and cause confusion for employers because the list of offices to which transfer requests must be submitted is extremely outdated.  The results of this alternative are not preferred.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

Employers should have procedures in place for employees as this is not a new rule, just a revision of a previously codified rule.  Cost impacts are under review. Employee screening actions ensure civilian employers and the Military Services have the appropriate balance of civilian and military skills required for both parties in case of a mobilization.  Annual screening provides a Ready Reserve force composed of Service members who meet Military Service readiness standards of mental, moral, professional, and physical fitness and possess the military qualifications required in the various grades, ratings, and specialties of their Service; and are available immediately for active duty during a mobilization or as otherwise required by law.


If no action is taken to update this rule, DoD risks a lack of personnel available to fulfill contingency requirements during a contingency and civilian employers could experience community hardship due to the lack of required personnel needed to address local emergencies.  This risk has become apparent during the ongoing COVID-19 response with employers requesting Ready Reserve in the medical fields not be recalled to military duty.

Action Date FR Cite
Interim Final Rule  11/00/2020 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: No  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Col Tracy D. Smith
Director, Office of the Secretary of Defense
Department of Defense
Office of the Secretary
1500 Defense Pentagon, Room 2E565,
Washington, DC 20301-1500
Phone:703 545-7473