Text: S.2981 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 116-259 (12/23/2020)

 
[116th Congress Public Law 259]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



[[Page 134 STAT. 1153]]

Public Law 116-259
116th Congress

                                 An Act


 
     To reauthorize and amend the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
  Administration Commissioned Officer Corps Act of 2002, and for other 
             purposes. <<NOTE: Dec. 23, 2020 -  [S. 2981]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: National Oceanic 
and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps Amendments Act 
of 2020.>> 
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    (a) <<NOTE: 33 USC 3001 note.>>  Short Title.--This Act may be cited 
as the ``National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned 
Officer Corps Amendments Act of 2020''.

    (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is as 
follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. References to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
           Commissioned Officer Corps Act of 2002.

                       TITLE I--GENERAL PROVISIONS

Sec. 101. Strength and distribution in grade.
Sec. 102. Recalled officers.
Sec. 103. Obligated service requirement.
Sec. 104. Training and physical fitness.
Sec. 105. Aviation accession training programs.
Sec. 106. Recruiting materials.
Sec. 107. Technical correction.

                    TITLE II--PARITY AND RECRUITMENT

Sec. 201. Education loans.
Sec. 202. Interest payments.
Sec. 203. Student pre-commissioning program.
Sec. 204. Limitation on educational assistance.
Sec. 205. Applicability of certain provisions of title 10, United States 
           Code, and extension of certain authorities applicable to 
           members of the Armed Forces to commissioned officer corps.
Sec. 206. Applicability of certain provisions of title 37, United States 
           Code.
Sec. 207. Prohibition on retaliatory personnel actions.
Sec. 208. Employment and reemployment rights.
Sec. 209. Treatment of commission in commissioned officer corps for 
           purposes of certain hiring decisions.

            TITLE III--APPOINTMENTS AND PROMOTION OF OFFICERS

Sec. 301. Appointments.
Sec. 302. Personnel boards.
Sec. 303. Positions of importance and responsibility.
Sec. 304. Temporary appointments.
Sec. 305. Officer candidates.
Sec. 306. Procurement of personnel.
Sec. 307. Career intermission program.

             TITLE IV--SEPARATION AND RETIREMENT OF OFFICERS

Sec. 401. Involuntary retirement or separation.
Sec. 402. Separation pay.

[[Page 134 STAT. 1154]]

 TITLE V--OTHER NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION MATTERS

Sec. 501. Charting and survey services.
Sec. 502. Co-location agreements.
Sec. 503. Satellite and data management.
Sec. 504. Improvements relating to sexual harassment and assault 
           prevention at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
           Administration.

SEC. 2. REFERENCES TO NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC 
                    ADMINISTRATION COMMISSIONED OFFICER CORPS ACT 
                    OF 2002.

    Except as otherwise expressly provided, whenever in this Act an 
amendment or repeal is expressed in terms of an amendment to, or repeal 
of, a section or other provision, the reference shall be considered to 
be made to a section or other provision of the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps Act of 2002 (33 
U.S.C. 3001 et seq.).

                       TITLE I--GENERAL PROVISIONS

SEC. 101. STRENGTH AND DISTRIBUTION IN GRADE.

    Section 214 (33 U.S.C. 3004) is amended to read as follows:
``SEC. 214. STRENGTH AND DISTRIBUTION IN GRADE.

    ``(a) Grades.--The commissioned grades in the commissioned officer 
corps of the Administration are the following, in relative rank with 
officers of the Navy:
            ``(1) Vice admiral.
            ``(2) Rear admiral.
            ``(3) Rear admiral (lower half).
            ``(4) Captain.
            ``(5) Commander.
            ``(6) Lieutenant commander.
            ``(7) Lieutenant.
            ``(8) Lieutenant (junior grade).
            ``(9) Ensign.

    ``(b) Grade Distribution.--The Secretary shall prescribe, with 
respect to the distribution on the lineal list in grade, the percentages 
applicable to the grades set forth in subsection (a).
    ``(c) Annual Computation of Number in Grade.--
            ``(1) <<NOTE: Determination.>>  In general.--Not less 
        frequently than once each year, the Secretary shall make a 
        computation to determine the number of officers on the lineal 
        list authorized to be serving in each grade.
            ``(2) Method of computation.--The number in each grade shall 
        be computed by applying the applicable percentage to the total 
        number of such officers serving on active duty on the date the 
        computation is made.
            ``(3) Fractions.--If a final fraction occurs in computing 
        the authorized number of officers in a grade, the nearest whole 
        number shall be taken. If the fraction is one-half, the next 
        higher whole number shall be taken.

    ``(d) Temporary Increase in Numbers.--The total number of officers 
authorized by law to be on the lineal list during a fiscal year may be 
temporarily exceeded if the average number on that list during that 
fiscal year does not exceed the authorized number.
    ``(e) Positions of Importance and Responsibility.--Officers serving 
in positions designated under section 228(a) and officers

[[Page 134 STAT. 1155]]

recalled from retired status shall not be counted when computing 
authorized strengths under subsection (c) and shall not count against 
those strengths.
    ``(f) Preservation of Grade and Pay.--No officer may be reduced in 
grade or pay or separated from the commissioned officer corps of the 
Administration as the result of a computation made to determine the 
authorized number of officers in the various grades.''.
SEC. 102. RECALLED OFFICERS.

    (a) In General.--Section 215 (33 U.S.C. 3005) is amended to read as 
follows:
``SEC. 215. NUMBER OF AUTHORIZED COMMISSIONED OFFICERS.

    ``(a) In General.--The total number of authorized commissioned 
officers on the lineal list of the commissioned officer corps of the 
Administration shall not exceed 500.
    ``(b) Positions of Importance and Responsibility.--Officers serving 
in positions designated under section 228 and officers recalled from 
retired status or detailed to an agency other than the Administration--
            ``(1) may not be counted in determining the total number of 
        authorized officers on the lineal list under this section; and
            ``(2) may not count against such number.''.

    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of contents in section 1 of the 
Act entitled ``An Act to reauthorize the Hydrographic Services 
Improvement Act of 1998, and for other purposes'' (Public Law 107-
372) <<NOTE: 116 Stat. 3078.>>  is amended by striking the item relating 
to section 215 and inserting the following:

``Sec. 215. Number of authorized commissioned officers.''.

SEC. 103. OBLIGATED SERVICE REQUIREMENT.

    (a) In General.--Subtitle A (33 U.S.C. 3001 et seq.) is amended by 
adding at the end the following:
``SEC. 216. <<NOTE: 33 USC 3006.>>  OBLIGATED SERVICE REQUIREMENT.

    ``(a) In General.--
            ``(1) Regulations.--The Secretary shall prescribe the 
        obligated service requirements for appointments, training, 
        promotions, separations, continuations, and retirements of 
        officers not otherwise covered by law.
            ``(2) Written agreements.--The Secretary and officers shall 
        enter into written agreements that describe the officers' 
        obligated service requirements prescribed under paragraph (1) in 
        return for such appointments, training, promotions, separations, 
        continuations, and retirements as the Secretary considers 
        appropriate.

    ``(b) Repayment for Failure to Satisfy Requirements.--
            ``(1) In general.--The Secretary may require an officer who 
        fails to meet the service requirements prescribed under 
        subsection (a)(1) to reimburse the Secretary in an amount that 
        bears the same ratio to the total costs of the training provided 
        to that officer by the Secretary as the unserved portion of 
        active duty bears to the total period of active duty the officer 
        agreed to serve.

[[Page 134 STAT. 1156]]

            ``(2) Obligation as debt to united states.--An obligation to 
        reimburse the Secretary under paragraph (1) is, for all 
        purposes, a debt owed to the United States.
            ``(3) <<NOTE: Time period.>>  Discharge in bankruptcy.--A 
        discharge in bankruptcy under title 11 that is entered less than 
        five years after the termination of a written agreement entered 
        into under subsection (a)(2) does not discharge the individual 
        signing the agreement from a debt arising under such agreement.

    ``(c) Waiver or Suspension of Compliance.--The Secretary may waive 
the service obligation of an officer who--
            ``(1) becomes unqualified to serve on active duty in the 
        commissioned officer corps of the Administration because of a 
        circumstance not within the control of that officer; or
            ``(2) is--
                    ``(A) not physically qualified for appointment; and
                    ``(B) determined to be unqualified for service in 
                the commissioned officer corps of the Administration 
                because of a physical or medical condition that was not 
                the result of the officer's own misconduct or grossly 
                negligent conduct.''.

    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of contents in section 1 of the 
Act entitled ``An Act to reauthorize the Hydrographic Services 
Improvement Act of 1998, and for other purposes'' (Public Law 107-
372) <<NOTE: 116 Stat. 3078.>>  is amended by inserting after the item 
relating to section 215 the following:

``Sec. 216. Obligated service requirement.''.

SEC. 104. TRAINING AND PHYSICAL FITNESS.

    (a) In General.--Subtitle A (33 U.S.C. 3001 et seq.), as amended by 
section 103(a), is further amended by adding at the end the following:
``SEC. 217. <<NOTE: 33 USC 3007.>>  TRAINING AND PHYSICAL FITNESS.

    ``(a) Training.--The Secretary may take such measures as may be 
necessary to ensure that officers are prepared to carry out their duties 
in the commissioned officer corps of the Administration and proficient 
in the skills necessary to carry out such duties. Such measures may 
include the following:
            ``(1) Carrying out training programs and correspondence 
        courses, including establishing and operating a basic officer 
        training program to provide initial indoctrination and maritime 
        vocational training for officer candidates as well as refresher 
        training, mid-career training, aviation training, and such other 
        training as the Secretary considers necessary for officer 
        development and proficiency.
            ``(2) Providing officers and officer candidates with 
        educational materials.
            ``(3) Acquiring such equipment as may be necessary for 
        training and instructional purposes.

    ``(b) Physical Fitness.--The Secretary shall ensure that officers 
maintain a high physical state of readiness by establishing standards of 
physical fitness for officers that are substantially equivalent to those 
prescribed for officers in the Coast Guard.''.
    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of contents in section 1 of the 
Act entitled ``An Act to reauthorize the Hydrographic Services 
Improvement Act of 1998, and for other purposes'' (Public

[[Page 134 STAT. 1157]]

Law 107-372), as amended by section 103(b), is further amended by 
inserting after the item relating to section 216 the following:

``Sec. 217. Training and physical fitness.''.

SEC. 105. AVIATION ACCESSION TRAINING PROGRAMS.

    (a) In General.--Subtitle A (33 U.S.C. 3001 et seq.), as amended by 
section 104(a), is further amended by adding at the end the following:
``SEC. 218. <<NOTE: 33 USC 3008.>>  AVIATION ACCESSION TRAINING 
                        PROGRAMS.

    ``(a) Definitions.--In this section:
            ``(1) Administrator.--The term `Administrator' means the 
        Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and the 
        Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
        Administration.
            ``(2) Member of the program.--The term `member of the 
        program' means a student who is enrolled in the program.
            ``(3) Program.--The term `program' means an aviation 
        accession training program of the commissioned officer corps of 
        the Administration established pursuant to subsection (b).

    ``(b) Aviation Accession Training Programs.--
            ``(1) <<NOTE: Regulations.>>  Establishment authorized.--The 
        Administrator, under regulations prescribed by the Secretary, 
        shall establish and maintain one or more aviation accession 
        training programs for the commissioned officer corps of the 
        Administration at institutions described in paragraph (2).
            ``(2) Institutions described.--An institution described in 
        this paragraph is an educational institution--
                    ``(A) that requests to enter into an agreement with 
                the Administrator providing for the establishment of the 
                program at the institution;
                    ``(B) that has, as a part of its curriculum, a four-
                year baccalaureate program of professional flight and 
                piloting instruction that is accredited by the Aviation 
                Accreditation Board International;
                    ``(C) that is located in a geographic area that--
                          ``(i) experiences a wide variation in climate-
                      related activity, including frequent high winds, 
                      convective activity (including tornadoes), periods 
                      of low visibility, heat, and snow and ice 
                      episodes, to provide opportunities for pilots to 
                      demonstrate skill in all weather conditions 
                      compatible with future encounters during their 
                      service in the commissioned officer corps of the 
                      Administration; and
                          ``(ii) has a climate that can accommodate both 
                      primary and advanced flight training activity at 
                      least 75 percent of the year; and
                    ``(D) <<NOTE: Determination.>>  at which the 
                Administrator determines that--
                          ``(i) there will be at least one student 
                      enrolled in the program; and
                          ``(ii) the provisions of this section are 
                      otherwise satisfied.
            ``(3) Limitations in connection with particular 
        institutions.--The program may not be established or maintained 
        at an institution unless--
                    ``(A) the senior commissioned officer or employee of 
                the commissioned officer corps of the Administration who

[[Page 134 STAT. 1158]]

                is assigned as an advisor to the program at that 
                institution is given the academic rank of adjunct 
                professor; and
                    ``(B) the institution fulfills the terms of its 
                agreement with the Administrator.
            ``(4) Membership in connection with status as student.--At 
        institutions at which the program is established, the membership 
        of students in the program shall be elective, as provided by 
        State law or the authorities of the institution concerned.

    ``(c) Membership.--
            ``(1) Eligibility.--To be eligible for membership in the 
        program, an individual must--
                    ``(A) be a student at an institution at which the 
                program is established;
                    ``(B) be a citizen of the United States;
                    ``(C) contract in writing, with the consent of a 
                parent or guardian if a minor, with the Administrator, 
                to--
                          ``(i) accept an appointment, if offered, as a 
                      commissioned officer in the commissioned officer 
                      corps of the Administration; and
                          ``(ii) <<NOTE: Time period.>>  serve in the 
                      commissioned officer corps of the Administration 
                      for not fewer than four years;
                    ``(D) enroll in--
                          ``(i) a four-year baccalaureate program of 
                      professional flight and piloting instruction; and
                          ``(ii) other training or education, including 
                      basic officer training, which is prescribed by the 
                      Administrator as meeting the preliminary 
                      requirement for admission to the commissioned 
                      officer corps of the Administration; and
                    ``(E) execute a certificate or take an oath relating 
                to morality and conduct in such form as the 
                Administrator prescribes.
            ``(2) Completion of program.--A member of the program may be 
        appointed as a regular officer in the commissioned officer corps 
        of the Administration if the member meets all requirements for 
        appointment as such an officer.

    ``(d) Financial Assistance for Qualified Members.--
            ``(1) Expenses of course of instruction.--
                    ``(A) In general.--In the case of a member of the 
                program who meets such qualifications as the 
                Administrator establishes for purposes of this 
                subsection, the Administrator may pay the expenses of 
                the member in connection with pursuit of a course of 
                professional flight and piloting instruction under the 
                program, including tuition, fees, educational materials 
                such as books, training, certifications, travel, and 
                laboratory expenses.
                    ``(B) Assistance after fourth academic year.--In the 
                case of a member of the program described in 
                subparagraph (A) who is enrolled in a course described 
                in that subparagraph that has been approved by the 
                Administrator and requires more than four academic years 
                for completion, including elective requirements of the 
                program, assistance under this subsection may also be 
                provided during a fifth academic year or during a 
                combination of a part of a fifth academic year and 
                summer sessions.

[[Page 134 STAT. 1159]]

            ``(2) Room and board.--In the case of a member eligible to 
        receive assistance under paragraph (1), the Administrator may, 
        in lieu of payment of all or part of such assistance, pay the 
        room and board expenses of the member, and other educational 
        expenses, of the educational institution concerned.
            ``(3) Failure to complete program or accept commission.--A 
        member of the program who receives assistance under this 
        subsection and who does not complete the course of instruction, 
        or who completes the course but declines to accept a commission 
        in the commissioned officer corps of the Administration when 
        offered, shall be subject to the repayment provisions of 
        subsection (e).

    ``(e) Repayment of Unearned Portion of Financial Assistance When 
Conditions of Payment Not Met.--
            ``(1) <<NOTE: Determination.>>  In general.--A member of the 
        program who receives or benefits from assistance under 
        subsection (d), and whose receipt of or benefit from such 
        assistance is subject to the condition that the member fully 
        satisfy the requirements of subsection (c), shall repay to the 
        United States an amount equal to the assistance received or 
        benefitted from if the member fails to fully satisfy such 
        requirements and may not receive or benefit from any unpaid 
        amounts of such assistance after the member fails to satisfy 
        such requirements, unless the Administrator determines that the 
        imposition of the repayment requirement and the termination of 
        payment of unpaid amounts of such assistance with regard to the 
        member would be--
                    ``(A) contrary to a personnel policy or management 
                objective;
                    ``(B) against equity and good conscience; or
                    ``(C) contrary to the best interests of the United 
                States.
            ``(2) <<NOTE: Procedures.>>  Regulations.--The Administrator 
        may establish, by regulations, procedures for determining the 
        amount of the repayment required under this subsection and the 
        circumstances under which an exception to repayment may be 
        granted. The Administrator may specify in the regulations the 
        conditions under which financial assistance to be paid to a 
        member of the program will not be made if the member no longer 
        satisfies the requirements in subsection (c) or qualifications 
        in subsection (d) for such assistance.
            ``(3) Obligation as debt to united states.--An obligation to 
        repay the United States under this subsection is, for all 
        purposes, a debt owed to the United States.''.

    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of contents in section 1 of the 
Act entitled ``An Act to reauthorize the Hydrographic Services 
Improvement Act of 1998, and for other purposes'' (Public Law 107-372), 
as amended by section 104(b), is further amended by inserting after the 
item relating to section 217 the following:

``Sec. 218. Aviation accession training programs.''.

SEC. 106. RECRUITING MATERIALS.

    (a) In General.--Subtitle A (33 U.S.C. 3001 et seq.), as amended by 
section 105(a), is further amended by adding at the end the following:

[[Page 134 STAT. 1160]]

``SEC. 219. <<NOTE: 33 USC 3009.>>  USE OF RECRUITING MATERIALS 
                        FOR PUBLIC RELATIONS.

    ``The Secretary may use for public relations purposes of the 
Department of Commerce any advertising materials developed for use for 
recruitment and retention of personnel for the commissioned officer 
corps of the Administration. Any such use shall be under such conditions 
and subject to such restrictions as the Secretary shall prescribe.''.
    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of contents in section 1 of the 
Act entitled ``An Act to reauthorize the Hydrographic Services 
Improvement Act of 1998, and for other purposes'' (Public Law 107-372), 
as amended by section 105(b), is further amended by inserting after the 
item relating to section 218 the following:

``Sec. 219. Use of recruiting materials for public relations.''.

SEC. 107. TECHNICAL CORRECTION.

    Section 101(21)(C) of title 38, United States Code, is amended by 
inserting ``in the commissioned officer corps'' before ``of the 
National''.

                    TITLE II--PARITY AND RECRUITMENT

SEC. 201. EDUCATION LOANS.

    (a) In General.--Subtitle E (33 U.S.C. 3071 et seq.) is amended by 
adding at the end the following:
``SEC. 267. <<NOTE: 33 USC 3077.>>  EDUCATION LOAN REPAYMENT 
                        PROGRAM.

    ``(a) Authority To Repay Education Loans.--For the purpose of 
maintaining adequate numbers of officers of the commissioned officer 
corps of the Administration on active duty who have skills required by 
the commissioned officer corps, the Secretary may repay, in the case of 
a person described in subsection (b), a loan that--
            ``(1) was used by the person to finance education; and
            ``(2) was obtained from a governmental entity, private 
        financial institution, educational institution, or other 
        authorized entity.

    ``(b) Eligible Persons.--To be eligible to obtain a loan repayment 
under this section, a person must--
            ``(1) satisfy one of the requirements specified in 
        subsection (c);
            ``(2) be fully qualified for, or hold, an appointment as a 
        commissioned officer in the commissioned officer corps of the 
        Administration; and
            ``(3) sign a written agreement to serve on active duty, or, 
        if on active duty, to remain on active duty for a period in 
        addition to any other incurred active duty obligation.

    ``(c) <<NOTE: Determinations.>>  Academic and Professional 
Requirements.--One of the following academic requirements must be 
satisfied for purposes of determining the eligibility of an individual 
for a loan repayment under this section:
            ``(1) The person is fully qualified in a profession that the 
        Secretary has determined to be necessary to meet identified 
        skill shortages in the commissioned officer corps of the 
        Administration.
            ``(2) The person is enrolled as a full-time student in the 
        final year of a course of study at an accredited educational

[[Page 134 STAT. 1161]]

        institution (as determined by the Secretary of Education) 
        leading to a degree in a profession that will meet identified 
        skill shortages in the commissioned officer corps of the 
        Administration.

    ``(d) Loan Repayments.--
            ``(1) In general.--Subject to the limits established under 
        paragraph (2), a loan repayment under this section may consist 
        of the payment of the principal, interest, and related expenses 
        of a loan obtained by a person described in subsection (b).
            ``(2) Limitation on amount.--For each year of obligated 
        service that a person agrees to serve in an agreement described 
        in subsection (b)(3), the Secretary may pay not more than the 
        amount specified in section 2173(e)(2) of title 10, United 
        States Code.

    ``(e) Active Duty Service Obligation.--
            ``(1) In general.--A person entering into an agreement 
        described in subsection (b)(3) incurs an active duty service 
        obligation.
            ``(2) Length of obligation determined under regulations.--
                    ``(A) In general.--Except as provided in 
                subparagraph (B), the length of the obligation under 
                paragraph (1) shall be determined under regulations 
                prescribed by the Secretary.
                    ``(B) Minimum obligation.--The regulations 
                prescribed under subparagraph (A) may not provide for a 
                period of obligation of less than one year for each 
                maximum annual amount, or portion thereof, paid on 
                behalf of the person for qualified loans.
            ``(3) Persons on active duty before entering into 
        agreement.--The active duty service obligation of persons on 
        active duty before entering into the agreement shall be served 
        after the conclusion of any other obligation incurred under the 
        agreement.
            ``(4) Concurrent completion of service obligations.--A 
        service obligation under this section may be completed 
        concurrently with a service obligation under section 216.

    ``(f) Effect of Failure To Complete Obligation.--
            ``(1) Alternative obligations.--An officer who is relieved 
        of the officer's active duty obligation under this section 
        before the completion of that obligation may be given any 
        alternative obligation, at the discretion of the Secretary.
            ``(2) Repayment.--An officer who does not complete the 
        period of active duty specified in the agreement entered into 
        under subsection (b)(3), or the alternative obligation imposed 
        under paragraph (1), shall be subject to the repayment 
        provisions under section 216.

    ``(g) Rulemaking.--The Secretary shall prescribe regulations to 
carry out this section, including--
            ``(1) standards for qualified loans and authorized payees; 
        and
            ``(2) other terms and conditions for the making of loan 
        repayments.''.

    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of contents in section 1 of the 
Act entitled ``An Act to reauthorize the Hydrographic Services 
Improvement Act of 1998, and for other purposes'' (Public

[[Page 134 STAT. 1162]]

Law 107-372) <<NOTE: 116 Stat. 3078.>>  is amended by inserting after 
the item relating to section 266 the following:

``Sec. 267. Education loan repayment program.''.

SEC. 202. INTEREST PAYMENTS.

    (a) In General.--Subtitle E (33 U.S.C. 3071 et seq.), as amended by 
section 201(a), is further amended by adding at the end the following:
``SEC. 268. <<NOTE: 33 USC 3078.>>  INTEREST PAYMENT PROGRAM.

    ``(a) Authority.--The Secretary may pay the interest and any special 
allowances that accrue on one or more student loans of an eligible 
officer, in accordance with this section.
    ``(b) Eligible Officers.--An officer is eligible for the benefit 
described in subsection (a) while the officer--
            ``(1) is serving on active duty;
            ``(2) <<NOTE: Time period.>>  has not completed more than 
        three years of service on active duty;
            ``(3) is the debtor on one or more unpaid loans described in 
        subsection (c); and
            ``(4) is not in default on any such loan.

    ``(c) Student Loans.--The authority to make payments under 
subsection (a) may be exercised with respect to the following loans:
            ``(1) A loan made, insured, or guaranteed under part B of 
        title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1071 et 
        seq.).
            ``(2) A loan made under part D of such title (20 U.S.C. 
        1087a et seq.).
            ``(3) A loan made under part E of such title (20 U.S.C. 
        1087aa et seq.).

    ``(d) Maximum Benefit.--Interest and any special allowance may be 
paid on behalf of an officer under this section for any of the 36 
consecutive months during which the officer is eligible under subsection 
(b).
    ``(e) Coordination With Secretary of Education.--
            ``(1) <<NOTE: Consultation.>>  In general.--The Secretary 
        shall consult with the Secretary of Education regarding the 
        administration of this section.
            ``(2) Reimbursement authorized.--The Secretary is authorized 
        to reimburse the Secretary of Education--
                    ``(A) for the funds necessary to pay interest and 
                special allowances on student loans under this section 
                (in accordance with sections 428(o), 455(l), and 464(j) 
                of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1078(o), 
                1087e(l), and 1087dd(j)); and
                    ``(B) for any reasonable administrative costs 
                incurred by the Secretary of Education in coordinating 
                the program under this section with the administration 
                of the student loan programs under parts B, D, and E of 
                title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 
                1071 et seq., 1087a et seq., 1087aa et seq.).

    ``(f) Special Allowance Defined.--In this section, the term `special 
allowance' means a special allowance that is payable under section 438 
of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1087-1).''.
    (b) Conforming Amendments.--

[[Page 134 STAT. 1163]]

            (1) Section 428(o) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 
        U.S.C. 1078(o)) is amended--
                    (A) by striking the subsection heading and inserting 
                ``Armed Forces and NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps 
                Student Loan Interest Payment Programs''; and
                    (B) in paragraph (1)--
                          (i) by inserting ``or section 268 of the 
                      National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
                      Commissioned Officer Corps Act of 2002'' after 
                      ``Code,''; and
                          (ii) by inserting ``or an officer in the 
                      commissioned officer corps of the National Oceanic 
                      and Atmospheric Administration, respectively,'' 
                      after ``Armed Forces''.
            (2) Sections 455(l) and 464(j) of the Higher Education Act 
        of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1087e(l) and 1087dd(j)) are each amended--
                    (A) by striking the subsection heading and inserting 
                ``Armed Forces and NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps 
                Student Loan Interest Payment Programs''; and
                    (B) in paragraph (1)--
                          (i) by inserting ``or section 268 of the 
                      National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
                      Commissioned Officer Corps Act of 2002'' after 
                      ``Code,''; and
                          (ii) by inserting ``or an officer in the 
                      commissioned officer corps of the National Oceanic 
                      and Atmospheric Administration, respectively'' 
                      after ``Armed Forces''.

    (c) Clerical Amendment.--The table of contents in section 1 of the 
Act entitled ``An Act to reauthorize the Hydrographic Services 
Improvement Act of 1998, and for other purposes'' (Public Law 107-372), 
as amended by section 201(b), is further amended by inserting after the 
item relating to section 267 the following:

``Sec. 268. Interest payment program.''.

SEC. 203. STUDENT PRE-COMMISSIONING PROGRAM.

    (a) In General.--Subtitle E (33 U.S.C. 3071 et seq.), as amended by 
section 202(a), is further amended by adding at the end the following:
``SEC. 269. <<NOTE: 33 USC 3079.>>  STUDENT PRE-COMMISSIONING 
                        EDUCATION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM.

    ``(a) <<NOTE: Determination.>>  Authority To Provide Financial 
Assistance.--For the purpose of maintaining adequate numbers of officers 
of the commissioned officer corps of the Administration on active duty, 
the Secretary may provide financial assistance to a person described in 
subsection (b) for expenses of the person while the person is pursuing 
on a full-time basis at an accredited educational institution (as 
determined by the Secretary of Education) a program of education 
approved by the Secretary that leads to--
            ``(1) a baccalaureate degree in not more than five academic 
        years; or
            ``(2) a postbaccalaureate degree.

    ``(b) Eligible Persons.--
            ``(1) In general.--A person is eligible to obtain financial 
        assistance under subsection (a) if the person--
                    ``(A) is enrolled on a full-time basis in a program 
                of education referred to in subsection (a) at any 
                educational institution described in such subsection;

[[Page 134 STAT. 1164]]

                    ``(B) meets all of the requirements for acceptance 
                into the commissioned officer corps of the 
                Administration except for the completion of a 
                baccalaureate degree; and
                    ``(C) enters into a written agreement with the 
                Secretary described in paragraph (2).
            ``(2) Agreement.--A written agreement referred to in 
        paragraph (1)(C) is an agreement between the person and the 
        Secretary in which the person--
                    ``(A) agrees to accept an appointment as an officer, 
                if tendered; and
                    ``(B) <<NOTE: Time periods.>>  upon completion of 
                the person's educational program, agrees to serve on 
                active duty, immediately after appointment, for--
                          ``(i) up to three years if the person received 
                      less than three years of assistance; and
                          ``(ii) up to five years if the person received 
                      at least three years of assistance.

    ``(c) Qualifying Expenses.--Expenses for which financial assistance 
may be provided under subsection (a) are the following:
            ``(1) Tuition and fees charged by the educational 
        institution involved.
            ``(2) The cost of educational materials.
            ``(3) In the case of a program of education leading to a 
        baccalaureate degree, laboratory expenses.
            ``(4) Such other expenses as the Secretary considers 
        appropriate.

    ``(d) Limitation on Amount.--The Secretary shall prescribe the 
amount of financial assistance provided to a person under subsection 
(a), which may not exceed the amount specified in section 2173(e)(2) of 
title 10, United States Code, for each year of obligated service that a 
person agrees to serve in an agreement described in subsection (b)(2).
    ``(e) Duration of Assistance.--Financial assistance may be provided 
to a person under subsection (a) for not more than five consecutive 
academic years.
    ``(f) Subsistence Allowance.--
            ``(1) In general.--A person who receives financial 
        assistance under subsection (a) shall be entitled to a monthly 
        subsistence allowance at a rate prescribed under paragraph (2) 
        for the duration of the period for which the person receives 
        such financial assistance.
            ``(2) Determination of amount.--The Secretary shall 
        prescribe monthly rates for subsistence allowance provided under 
        paragraph (1), which shall be equal to the amount specified in 
        section 2144(a) of title 10, United States Code.

    ``(g) Initial Clothing Allowance.--
            ``(1) Training.--The Secretary may prescribe a sum which 
        shall be credited to each person who receives financial 
        assistance under subsection (a) to cover the cost of the 
        person's initial clothing and equipment issue.
            ``(2) Appointment.--Upon completion of the program of 
        education for which a person receives financial assistance under 
        subsection (a) and acceptance of appointment in the commissioned 
        officer corps of the Administration, the person may be issued a 
        subsequent clothing allowance equivalent to that normally 
        provided to a newly appointed officer.

    ``(h) Termination of Financial Assistance.--

[[Page 134 STAT. 1165]]

            ``(1) In general.--The Secretary shall terminate the 
        assistance provided to a person under this section if--
                    ``(A) the Secretary accepts a request by the person 
                to be released from an agreement described in subsection 
                (b)(2);
                    ``(B) the misconduct of the person results in a 
                failure to complete the period of active duty required 
                under the agreement; or
                    ``(C) the person fails to fulfill any term or 
                condition of the agreement.
            ``(2) Reimbursement.--The Secretary may require a person who 
        receives assistance described in subsection (c), (f), or (g) 
        under an agreement entered into under subsection (b)(1)(C) to 
        reimburse the Secretary in an amount that bears the same ratio 
        to the total costs of the assistance provided to that person as 
        the unserved portion of active duty bears to the total period of 
        active duty the officer agreed to serve under the agreement.
            ``(3) Waiver.--The Secretary may waive the service 
        obligation of a person through an agreement entered into under 
        subsection (b)(1)(C) if the person--
                    ``(A) becomes unqualified to serve on active duty in 
                the commissioned officer corps of the Administration 
                because of a circumstance not within the control of that 
                person; or
                    ``(B) is--
                          ``(i) not physically qualified for 
                      appointment; and
                          ``(ii) <<NOTE: Determination.>>  determined to 
                      be unqualified for service in the commissioned 
                      officer corps of the Administration because of a 
                      physical or medical condition that was not the 
                      result of the person's own misconduct or grossly 
                      negligent conduct.
            ``(4) Obligation as debt to united states.--An obligation to 
        reimburse the Secretary imposed under paragraph (2) is, for all 
        purposes, a debt owed to the United States.
            ``(5) Discharge in bankruptcy.--A discharge in bankruptcy 
        under title 11, United States Code, that is entered less than 
        five years after the termination of a written agreement entered 
        into under subsection (b)(1)(C) does not discharge the person 
        signing the agreement from a debt arising under such agreement 
        or under paragraph (2).

    ``(i) Regulations.--The Secretary may prescribe such regulations and 
orders as the Secretary considers appropriate to carry out this section.
    ``(j) Concurrent Completion of Service Obligations.--A service 
obligation under this section may be completed concurrently with a 
service obligation under section 216.''.
    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of contents in section 1 of the 
Act entitled ``An Act to reauthorize the Hydrographic Services 
Improvement Act of 1998, and for other purposes'' (Public Law 107-372), 
as amended by section 202(c), is further amended by inserting after the 
item relating to section 268 the following:

``Sec. 269. Student pre-commissioning education assistance program.''.

SEC. 204. <<NOTE: 33 USC 3079-1.>>  LIMITATION ON EDUCATIONAL 
                        ASSISTANCE.

    (a) <<NOTE: Effective date.>>  In General.--Each fiscal year, 
beginning with the fiscal year in which this Act is enacted, the 
Secretary of Commerce shall ensure that the total amount expended by the 
Secretary

[[Page 134 STAT. 1166]]

under section 267 of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
Commissioned Officer Corps Act of 2002 (as added by section 201(a)), 
section 268 of such Act (as added by section 202(a)), and section 269 of 
such Act (as added by section 203(a)) does not exceed the amount by 
which--
            (1) the total amount the Secretary would pay in that fiscal 
        year to officer candidates under section 203(f)(1) of title 37, 
        United States Code (as added by section 305(d)), if such section 
        entitled officer candidates to pay at monthly rates equal to the 
        basic pay of a commissioned officer in the pay grade O-1 with 
        less than 2 years of service, exceeds
            (2) the total amount the Secretary actually pays in that 
        fiscal year to officer candidates under section 203(f)(1) of 
        such title (as so added).

    (b) Officer Candidate Defined.--In this section, the term ``officer 
candidate'' has the meaning given the term in paragraph (4) of section 
212(b) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
Commissioned Officer Corps Act of 2002 (33 U.S.C. 3002), as added by 
section 305(c).
SEC. 205. APPLICABILITY OF CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF TITLE 10, UNITED 
                        STATES CODE, AND EXTENSION OF CERTAIN 
                        AUTHORITIES APPLICABLE TO MEMBERS OF THE 
                        ARMED FORCES TO COMMISSIONED OFFICER 
                        CORPS.

    (a) Applicability of Certain Provisions of Title 10.--Section 261(a) 
(33 U.S.C. 3071(a)) is amended--
            (1) by redesignating paragraphs (13) through (16) as 
        paragraphs (22) through (25), respectively;
            (2) by redesignating paragraphs (7) through (12) as 
        paragraphs (14) through (19), respectively;
            (3) by redesignating paragraphs (4) through (6) as 
        paragraphs (8) through (10), respectively;
            (4) by inserting after paragraph (3) the following:
            ``(4) Section 771, relating to unauthorized wearing of 
        uniforms.
            ``(5) Section 774, relating to wearing religious apparel 
        while in uniform.
            ``(6) Section 982, relating to service on State and local 
        juries.
            ``(7) Section 1031, relating to administration of oaths.'';
            (5) by inserting after paragraph (10), as redesignated, the 
        following:
            ``(11) Section 1074n, relating to annual mental health 
        assessments.
            ``(12) Section 1090a, relating to referrals for mental 
        health evaluations.
            ``(13) Chapter 58, relating to the Benefits and Services for 
        members being separated or recently separated.''; and
            (6) by inserting after paragraph (19), as redesignated, the 
        following:
            ``(20) Subchapter I of chapter 88, relating to Military 
        Family Programs, applicable on an as-available and fully 
        reimbursable basis.
            ``(21) Section 2005, relating to advanced education 
        assistance, active duty agreements, and reimbursement 
        requirements.''.

    (b) Extension of Certain Authorities.--

[[Page 134 STAT. 1167]]

            (1) Notarial services.--Section 1044a of title 10, United 
        States Code, is amended--
                    (A) in subsection (a)(1), by striking ``armed 
                forces'' and inserting ``uniformed services''; and
                    (B) in subsection (b)(4), by striking ``armed 
                forces'' both places it appears and inserting 
                ``uniformed services''.
            (2) Acceptance of voluntary services for programs serving 
        members and their families.--Section 1588 of such title is 
        amended--
                    (A) in subsection (a)(3), in the matter before 
                subparagraph (A), by striking ``armed forces'' and 
                inserting ``uniformed services''; and
                    (B) by adding at the end the following new 
                subsection:

    ``(g) Secretary Concerned for Acceptance of Services for Programs 
Serving Members of NOAA Corps and Their Families.--For purposes of the 
acceptance of services described in subsection (a)(3), the term 
`Secretary concerned' in subsection (a) shall include the Secretary of 
Commerce with respect to members of the commissioned officer corps of 
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.''.
            (3) Capstone course for newly selected flag officers.--
        Section 2153 of such title is amended--
                    (A) in subsection (a)--
                          (i) by inserting ``or the commissioned officer 
                      corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
                      Administration'' after ``in the case of the 
                      Navy''; and
                          (ii) by striking ``other armed forces'' and 
                      inserting ``other uniformed services''; and
                    (B) in subsection (b)(1), in the matter before 
                subparagraph (A), by inserting ``or the Secretary of 
                Commerce, as applicable,'' after ``the Secretary of 
                Defense''.
SEC. 206. APPLICABILITY OF CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF TITLE 37, UNITED 
                        STATES CODE.

    (a) In General.--Subtitle E (33 U.S.C. 3071 et seq.) is amended by 
inserting after section 261 the following:
``SEC. 261A. <<NOTE: 33 USC 3071a.>>  APPLICABILITY OF CERTAIN 
                          PROVISIONS OF TITLE 37, UNITED STATES 
                          CODE.

    ``The provisions of law applicable to the Armed Forces under the 
following provisions of title 37, United States Code, shall apply to the 
commissioned officer corps of the Administration:
            ``(1) Section 403(l), relating to temporary continuation of 
        housing allowance for dependents of members dying on active 
        duty.
            ``(2) Section 415, relating to initial uniform allowances.
            ``(3) Section 488, relating to allowances for recruiting 
        expenses.''.

    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of contents in section 1 of the 
Act entitled ``An Act to reauthorize the Hydrographic Services 
Improvement Act of 1998, and for other purposes'' (Public Law 107-
372) <<NOTE: 116 Stat. 3078.>>  is amended by inserting after the item 
relating to section 261 the following:

``Sec. 261A. Applicability of certain provisions of title 37, United 
           States Code.''.

[[Page 134 STAT. 1168]]

SEC. 207. PROHIBITION ON RETALIATORY PERSONNEL ACTIONS.

    (a) In General.--Subsection (a) of section 261 (33 U.S.C. 3071), as 
amended by section 205(a), is further amended--
            (1) by redesignating paragraphs (8) through (25) as 
        paragraphs (9) through (26), respectively; and
            (2) by inserting after paragraph (7) the following:
            ``(8) Section 1034, relating to protected communications and 
        prohibition of retaliatory personnel actions.''.

    (b) Conforming Amendment.--Subsection (b) of such section 261 is 
amended by adding at the end the following: ``For purposes of paragraph 
(8) of subsection (a), the term `Inspector General' in section 1034 of 
such title 10 shall mean the Inspector General of the Department of 
Commerce.''.
    (c) Regulations.--Such section is further amended by adding at the 
end the following:
    ``(c) Regulations Regarding Protected Communications and Prohibition 
of Retaliatory Personnel Actions.--The Secretary may prescribe 
regulations to carry out the application of section 1034 of title 10, 
United States Code, to the commissioned officer corps of the 
Administration, including by prescribing such administrative procedures 
for investigation and appeal within the commissioned officer corps as 
the Secretary considers appropriate.''.
SEC. 208. EMPLOYMENT AND REEMPLOYMENT RIGHTS.

    Section 4303(16) of title 38, United States Code, is amended by 
inserting ``the commissioned officer corps of the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration,'' after ``Public Health Service,''.
SEC. 209. TREATMENT OF COMMISSION IN COMMISSIONED OFFICER CORPS 
                        FOR PURPOSES OF CERTAIN HIRING DECISIONS.

    (a) In General.--Subtitle E (33 U.S.C. 3071 et seq.), as amended by 
this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the following:
``SEC. 269A. <<NOTE: 33 USC 3079a.>>  TREATMENT OF COMMISSION IN 
                          COMMISSIONED OFFICER CORPS AS EMPLOYMENT 
                          IN ADMINISTRATION FOR PURPOSES OF 
                          CERTAIN HIRING DECISIONS.

    ``(a) In General.--In any case in which the Secretary accepts an 
application for a position of employment with the Administration and 
limits consideration of applications for such position to applications 
submitted by individuals serving in a career or career-conditional 
position in the competitive service within the Administration, the 
Secretary shall deem an officer who has served as an officer in the 
commissioned officer corps of the Administration for at least three 
years to be serving in a career or career-conditional position in the 
competitive service within the Administration for purposes of such 
limitation.
    ``(b) Career Appointments.--If the Secretary selects an application 
submitted by an officer described in subsection (a) for a position 
described in such subsection, the Secretary shall give such officer a 
career or career-conditional appointment in the competitive service, as 
appropriate.
    ``(c) Competitive Service Defined.--In this section, the term 
`competitive service' has the meaning given the term in section 2102 of 
title 5, United States Code.''.
    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of contents in section 1 of the 
Act entitled ``An Act to reauthorize the Hydrographic Services 
Improvement Act of 1998, and for other purposes'' (Public

[[Page 134 STAT. 1169]]

Law 107-372) is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 
269, as added by section 203(b), the following new item:

``Sec. 269A. Treatment of commission in commissioned officer corps as 
           employment in Administration for purposes of certain hiring 
           decisions.''.

            TITLE III--APPOINTMENTS AND PROMOTION OF OFFICERS

SEC. 301. APPOINTMENTS.

    (a) Original Appointments.--Section 221 (33 U.S.C. 3021) is amended 
to read as follows:
``SEC. 221. ORIGINAL APPOINTMENTS AND REAPPOINTMENTS.

    ``(a) Original Appointments.--
            ``(1) Grades.--
                    ``(A) In general.--Except as provided in 
                subparagraph (B), an original appointment of an officer 
                may be made in such grades as may be appropriate for--
                          ``(i) the qualification, experience, and 
                      length of service of the appointee; and
                          ``(ii) the commissioned officer corps of the 
                      Administration.
                    ``(B) Appointment of officer candidates.--
                          ``(i) Limitation on grade.--An original 
                      appointment of an officer candidate, upon 
                      graduation from the basic officer training program 
                      of the commissioned officer corps of the 
                      Administration, may not be made in any other grade 
                      than ensign.
                          ``(ii) Rank.--Officer candidates receiving 
                      appointments as ensigns upon graduation from the 
                      basic officer training program shall take rank 
                      according to their proficiency as shown by the 
                      order of their merit at date of graduation.
            ``(2) Source of appointments.--An original appointment may 
        be made from among the following:
                    ``(A) Graduates of the basic officer training 
                program of the commissioned officer corps of the 
                Administration.
                    ``(B) Subject to the approval of the Secretary of 
                Defense, graduates of the military service academies of 
                the United States who otherwise meet the academic 
                standards for enrollment in the training program 
                described in subparagraph (A).
                    ``(C) Graduates of the State maritime academies 
                who--
                          ``(i) otherwise meet the academic standards 
                      for enrollment in the training program described 
                      in subparagraph (A);
                          ``(ii) completed at least three years of 
                      regimented training while at a State maritime 
                      academy; and
                          ``(iii) obtained an unlimited tonnage or 
                      unlimited horsepower Merchant Mariner Credential 
                      from the United States Coast Guard.
                    ``(D) Licensed officers of the United States 
                merchant marine who have served two or more years aboard 
                a vessel of the United States in the capacity of a 
                licensed officer,

[[Page 134 STAT. 1170]]

                who otherwise meet the academic standards for enrollment 
                in the training program described in subparagraph (A).
            ``(3) Definitions.--In this subsection:
                    ``(A) Military service academies of the united 
                states.--The term `military service academies of the 
                United States' means the following:
                          ``(i) The United States Military Academy, West 
                      Point, New York.
                          ``(ii) The United States Naval Academy, 
                      Annapolis, Maryland.
                          ``(iii) The United States Air Force Academy, 
                      Colorado Springs, Colorado.
                          ``(iv) The United States Coast Guard Academy, 
                      New London, Connecticut.
                          ``(v) The United States Merchant Marine 
                      Academy, Kings Point, New York.
                    ``(B) State maritime academy.--The term `State 
                maritime academy' has the meaning given the term in 
                section 51102 of title 46, United States Code.

    ``(b) Reappointment.--
            ``(1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph (2), an 
        individual who previously served in the commissioned officer 
        corps of the Administration may be appointed by the Secretary to 
        the grade the individual held prior to separation.
            ``(2) <<NOTE: President.>>  Reappointments to higher 
        grades.--An appointment under paragraph (1) to a position of 
        importance and responsibility designated under section 228 may 
        only be made by the President.

    ``(c) <<NOTE: Regulations.>>  Qualifications.--An appointment under 
subsection (a) or (b) may not be given to an individual until the 
individual's mental, moral, physical, and professional fitness to 
perform the duties of an officer has been established under such 
regulations as the Secretary shall prescribe.

    ``(d) Order of Precedence.--Appointees under this section shall take 
precedence in the grade to which appointed in accordance with the dates 
of their commissions as commissioned officers in such grade. The order 
of precedence of appointees whose dates <<NOTE: Determination.>>  of 
commission are the same shall be determined by the Secretary.

    ``(e) Inter-Service Transfers.--For inter-service transfers (as 
described in Department of Defense Directive 1300.4 (dated December 27, 
2006)) the Secretary shall--
            ``(1) <<NOTE: Coordination.>>  coordinate with the Secretary 
        of Defense and the Secretary of the Department in which the 
        Coast Guard is operating to promote and streamline inter-service 
        transfers;
            ``(2) <<NOTE: Determination.>>  give preference to such 
        inter-service transfers for recruitment purposes as determined 
        appropriate by the Secretary; and
            ``(3) reappoint such inter-service transfers to the 
        equivalent grade in the commissioned officer corps of the 
        Administration.''.

    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of contents in section 1 of the 
Act entitled ``An Act to reauthorize the Hydrographic Services 
Improvement Act of 1998, and for other purposes'' (Public Law 107-
372) <<NOTE: 116 Stat. 3078.>>  is amended by striking the item relating 
to section 221 and inserting the following:

``Sec. 221. Original appointments and reappointments.''.

[[Page 134 STAT. 1171]]

SEC. 302. PERSONNEL BOARDS.

    Section 222 (33 U.S.C. 3022) is amended to read as follows:
``SEC. 222. PERSONNEL BOARDS.

    ``(a) <<NOTE: Time period. Determination.>>  Convening.--Not less 
frequently than once each year and at such other times as the Secretary 
determines necessary, the Secretary shall convene a personnel board.

    ``(b) Membership.--
            ``(1) In general.--A board convened under subsection (a) 
        shall consist of five or more officers who are serving in or 
        above the permanent grade of the officers under consideration by 
        the board.
            ``(2) Retired officers.--Officers on the retired list may be 
        recalled to serve on such personnel boards as the Secretary 
        considers necessary.
            ``(3) No membership on two successive boards.--No officer 
        may be a member of two successive personnel boards convened to 
        consider officers of the same grade for promotion or separation.

    ``(c) <<NOTE: Recommenda- tions.>>  Duties.--Each personnel board 
shall--
            ``(1) recommend to the Secretary such changes as may be 
        necessary to correct any erroneous position on the lineal list 
        that was caused by administrative error; and
            ``(2) make selections and recommendations to the Secretary 
        and the President for the appointment, promotion, involuntary 
        separation, continuation, and involuntary retirement of officers 
        in the commissioned officer corps of the Administration as 
        prescribed in this title.

    ``(d) <<NOTE: Recommenda- tions.>>  Action on Recommendations Not 
Acceptable.--If any recommendation by a board convened under subsection 
(a) is not accepted by the Secretary or the President, the board shall 
make such further recommendations as the Secretary or the President 
considers appropriate.

    ``(e) Authority for Officers to Opt Out of Promotion 
Consideration.--
            ``(1) In general.--The Director of the National Oceanic and 
        Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps may 
        provide that an officer, upon the officer's request and with the 
        approval of the Director, be excluded from consideration for 
        promotion by a personnel board convened under this section.
            ``(2) <<NOTE: Determinations.>>  Approval.--The Director 
        shall approve a request made by an officer under paragraph (1) 
        only if--
                    ``(A) the basis for the request is to allow the 
                officer to complete a broadening assignment, advanced 
                education, another assignment of significant value to 
                the Administration, a career progression requirement 
                delayed by the assignment or education, or a qualifying 
                personal or professional circumstance, as determined by 
                the Director;
                    ``(B) the Director determines the exclusion from 
                consideration is in the best interest of the 
                Administration; and
                    ``(C) the officer has not previously failed 
                selection for promotion to the grade for which the 
                officer requests the exclusion from consideration.''.
SEC. 303. POSITIONS OF IMPORTANCE AND RESPONSIBILITY.

    Section 228 (33 U.S.C. 3028) is amended--

[[Page 134 STAT. 1172]]

            (1) <<NOTE: President.>>  in subsection (c)--
                    (A) in the first sentence, by striking ``The 
                Secretary shall designate one position under this 
                section'' and inserting ``The President shall designate 
                one position''; and
                    (B) in the second sentence, by striking ``That 
                position shall be filled by'' and inserting ``The 
                President shall fill that position by appointing, by and 
                with the advice and consent of the Senate,'';
            (2) in subsection (d)(2), by inserting ``or immediately 
        beginning a period of terminal leave'' after ``for which a 
        higher grade is designated'';
            (3) by amending subsection (e) to read as follows:

    ``(e) Limit on Number of Officers Appointed.--The total number of 
officers serving on active duty at any one time in the grade of rear 
admiral (lower half) or above may not exceed five, with only one serving 
in the grade of vice admiral.''; and
            (4) in subsection (f), by inserting ``or in a period of 
        annual leave used at the end of the appointment'' after 
        ``serving in that grade''.
SEC. 304. TEMPORARY APPOINTMENTS.

    (a) In General.--Section 229 (33 U.S.C. 3029) is amended to read as 
follows:
``SEC. 229. TEMPORARY APPOINTMENTS.

    ``(a) Appointments by President.--Temporary appointments in the 
grade of ensign, lieutenant junior grade, or lieutenant may be made by 
the President.
    ``(b) Termination.--A temporary appointment to a position under 
subsection (a) shall terminate upon approval of a permanent appointment 
for such position made by the President.
    ``(c) Order of Precedence.--Appointees under subsection (a) shall 
take precedence in the grade to which appointed in accordance with the 
dates of their appointments as officers in such grade. The order of 
precedence of appointees who are appointed on 
the <<NOTE: Determination.>>  same date shall be determined by the 
Secretary.

    ``(d) Any One Grade.--When determined by the Secretary to be in the 
best interest of the commissioned officer corps of the Administration, 
officers in any permanent grade may be temporarily promoted one grade by 
the President. Any such temporary promotion terminates upon the transfer 
of the officer to a new assignment.''.
    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of contents in section 1 of the 
Act entitled ``An Act to reauthorize the Hydrographic Services 
Improvement Act of 1998, and for other purposes'' (Public Law 107-
372) <<NOTE: 116 Stat. 3078.>>  is amended by striking the item relating 
to section 229 and inserting the following:

``Sec. 229. Temporary appointments.''.

SEC. 305. OFFICER CANDIDATES.

    (a) In General.--Subtitle B (33 U.S.C. 3021 et seq.) is amended by 
adding at the end the following:
``SEC. 234. <<NOTE: 33 USC 3034.>>  OFFICER CANDIDATES.

    ``(a) Determination of Number.--The Secretary shall determine the 
number of appointments of officer candidates.
    ``(b) <<NOTE: Regulations.>>  Appointment.--Appointment of officer 
candidates shall be made under regulations, which the Secretary shall 
prescribe,

[[Page 134 STAT. 1173]]

including regulations with respect to determining age limits, methods of 
selection of officer candidates, term of service as an officer candidate 
before graduation from the basic officer training program of the 
Administration, and all other matters affecting such appointment.

    ``(c) Dismissal.--The Secretary may dismiss from the basic officer 
training program of the Administration any officer candidate who, during 
the officer candidate's term as an officer candidate, the Secretary 
considers unsatisfactory in either academics or conduct, or not adapted 
for a career in the commissioned officer corps of the Administration. 
Officer candidates shall be subject to rules governing discipline 
prescribed by the Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration Commissioned Officer Corps.
    ``(d) Agreement.--
            ``(1) In general.--Each officer candidate shall sign an 
        agreement with the Secretary in accordance with section 
        216(a)(2) regarding the officer candidate's term of service in 
        the commissioned officer corps of the Administration.
            ``(2) Elements.--An agreement signed by an officer candidate 
        under paragraph (1) shall provide that the officer candidate 
        agrees to the following:
                    ``(A) That the officer candidate will complete the 
                course of instruction at the basic officer training 
                program of the Administration.
                    ``(B) That upon graduation from such program, the 
                officer candidate--
                          ``(i) will accept an appointment, if tendered, 
                      as an officer; and
                          ``(ii) <<NOTE: Time period.>>  will serve on 
                      active duty for at least four years immediately 
                      after such appointment.

    ``(e) Regulations.--The Secretary shall prescribe regulations to 
carry out this section. Such regulations shall include--
            ``(1) <<NOTE: Standards.>>  standards for determining what 
        constitutes a breach of an agreement signed under subsection 
        (d)(1); and
            ``(2) <<NOTE: Procedures.>>  procedures for determining 
        whether such a breach has occurred.

    ``(f) Repayment.--An officer candidate or former officer candidate 
who does not fulfill the terms of the obligation to serve as specified 
under subsection (d) shall be subject to the repayment provisions of 
section 216(b).''.
    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of contents in section 1 of the 
Act entitled ``An Act to reauthorize the Hydrographic Services 
Improvement Act of 1998, and for other purposes'' (Public Law 107-
372) <<NOTE: 116 Stat. 3078.>>  is amended by inserting after the item 
relating to section 233 the following:

``Sec. 234. Officer candidates.''.

    (c) Officer Candidate Defined.--Section 212(b) (33 U.S.C. 3002(b)) 
is amended--
            (1) by redesignating paragraphs (4) through (6) as 
        paragraphs (5) through (7), respectively; and
            (2) by inserting after paragraph (3) the following:
            ``(4) Officer candidate.--The term `officer candidate' means 
        an individual who is enrolled in the basic officer training 
        program of the Administration and is under consideration for 
        appointment as an officer under section 221(a)(2)(A).''.

[[Page 134 STAT. 1174]]

    (d) Pay for Officer Candidates.--Section 203 of title 37, United 
States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
    ``(f)(1) An officer candidate enrolled in the basic officer training 
program of the commissioned officer corps of the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration is entitled, while participating in such 
program, to monthly officer candidate pay at monthly rates equal to the 
basic pay of an enlisted member in the pay grade E-5 with less than two 
years of service.
    ``(2) An individual who graduates from such program shall receive 
credit for the time spent participating in such program as if such time 
were time served while on active duty as a commissioned officer. If the 
individual does not graduate from such program, such time shall not be 
considered creditable for active duty or pay.''.
SEC. 306. PROCUREMENT OF PERSONNEL.

    (a) In General.--Subtitle B (33 U.S.C. 3021 et seq.), as amended by 
section 305(a), is further amended by adding at the end the following:
``SEC. 235. <<NOTE: 33 USC 3035.>>  PROCUREMENT OF PERSONNEL.

    ``The <<NOTE: Determination.>>  Secretary may take such measures as 
the Secretary determines necessary in order to obtain recruits for the 
commissioned officer corps of the Administration, including 
advertising.''.

    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of contents in section 1 of the 
Act entitled ``An Act to reauthorize the Hydrographic Services 
Improvement Act of 1998, and for other purposes'' (Public Law 107-372), 
as amended by section 305(b), is further amended by inserting after the 
item relating to section 234 the following:

``Sec. 235. Procurement of personnel.''.

SEC. 307. CAREER INTERMISSION PROGRAM.

    (a) In General.--Subtitle B (33 U.S.C. 3021 et seq.), as amended by 
section 306(a), is further amended by adding at the end the following:
``SEC. 236. <<NOTE: 33 USC 3036.>>  CAREER FLEXIBILITY TO ENHANCE 
                        RETENTION OF OFFICERS.

    ``(a) Programs Authorized.--The Secretary may carry out a program 
under which officers may be inactivated from active duty in order to 
meet personal or professional needs and returned to active duty at the 
end of such period of inactivation from active duty.
    ``(b) Period of Inactivation From Active Duty; Effect of 
Inactivation.--
            ``(1) In general.--The period of inactivation from active 
        duty under a program under this section of an officer 
        participating in the program shall be such period as the 
        Secretary shall specify in the agreement of the officer under 
        subsection (c), except that such period may not exceed three 
        years.
            ``(2) Exclusion from retirement.--Any period of 
        participation of an officer in a program under this section 
        shall not count toward eligibility for retirement or computation 
        of retired pay under subtitle C.

    ``(c) Agreement.--Each officer who participates in a program under 
this section shall enter into a written agreement with the Secretary 
under which that officer shall agree as follows:

[[Page 134 STAT. 1175]]

            ``(1) <<NOTE: Determination.>>  To undergo during the period 
        of the inactivation of the officer from active duty under the 
        program such inactive duty training as the Director of the 
        National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned 
        Officer Corps shall require in order to ensure that the officer 
        retains proficiency, at a level determined by the Director to be 
        sufficient, in the technical skills, professional 
        qualifications, and physical readiness of the officer during the 
        inactivation of the officer from active duty.
            ``(2) <<NOTE: Time period.>>  Following completion of the 
        period of the inactivation of the officer from active duty under 
        the program, to serve two months on active duty for each month 
        of the period of the inactivation of the officer from active 
        duty under the program.

    ``(d) Conditions of Release.--The Secretary shall--
            ``(1) <<NOTE: Regulations. Guidelines.>>  prescribe 
        regulations specifying the guidelines regarding the conditions 
        of release that must be considered and addressed in the 
        agreement required by subsection (c); and
            ``(2) <<NOTE: Procedures. Standards.>>  at a minimum, 
        prescribe the procedures and standards to be used to instruct an 
        officer on the obligations to be assumed by the officer under 
        paragraph (1) of such subsection while the officer is released 
        from active duty.

    ``(e) <<NOTE: Regulations.>>  Order to Active Duty.--Under 
regulations prescribed by the Secretary, an officer participating in a 
program under this section may, in the discretion of the Secretary, be 
required to terminate participation in the program and be ordered to 
active duty.

    ``(f) Pay and Allowances.--
            ``(1) Basic pay.--During each month of participation in a 
        program under this section, an officer who participates in the 
        program shall be paid basic pay in an amount equal to two-
        thirtieths of the amount of monthly basic pay to which the 
        officer would otherwise be entitled under section 204 of title 
        37, United States Code, as a member of the uniformed services on 
        active duty in the grade and years of service of the officer 
        when the officer commences participation in the program.
            ``(2) Special or incentive pay or bonus.--
                    ``(A) Prohibition.--An officer who participates in a 
                program under this section shall not, while 
                participating in the program, be paid any special or 
                incentive pay or bonus to which the officer is otherwise 
                entitled under an agreement under chapter 5 of title 37, 
                United States Code, that is in force when the officer 
                commences participation in the program.
                    ``(B) Not treated as failure to perform services.--
                The inactivation from active duty of an officer 
                participating in a program under this section shall not 
                be treated as a failure of the officer to perform any 
                period of service required of the officer in connection 
                with an agreement for a special or incentive pay or 
                bonus under chapter 5 of title 37, United States Code, 
                that is in force when the officer commences 
                participation in the program.
            ``(3) Return to active duty.--
                    ``(A) Special or incentive pay or bonus.--Subject to 
                subparagraph (B), upon the return of an officer to 
                active

[[Page 134 STAT. 1176]]

                duty after completion by the officer of participation in 
                a program under this section--
                          ``(i) any agreement entered into by the 
                      officer under chapter 5 of title 37, United States 
                      Code, for the payment of a special or incentive 
                      pay or bonus that was in force when the officer 
                      commenced participation in the program shall be 
                      revived, with the term of such agreement after 
                      revival being the period of the agreement 
                      remaining to run when the officer commenced 
                      participation in the program; and
                          ``(ii) any special or incentive pay or bonus 
                      shall be payable to the officer in accordance with 
                      the terms of the agreement concerned for the term 
                      specified in clause (i).
                    ``(B) Limitation.--
                          ``(i) In general.--Subparagraph (A) shall not 
                      apply to any special or incentive pay or bonus 
                      otherwise covered by that subparagraph with 
                      respect to an officer if, at the time of the 
                      return of the officer to active duty as described 
                      in that subparagraph--
                                    ``(I) such pay or bonus is no longer 
                                authorized by law; or
                                    ``(II) the officer does not satisfy 
                                eligibility criteria for such pay or 
                                bonus as in effect at the time of the 
                                return of the officer to active duty.
                          ``(ii) Pay or bonus ceases being authorized.--
                      Subparagraph (A) shall cease to apply to any 
                      special or incentive pay or bonus otherwise 
                      covered by that subparagraph with respect to an 
                      officer if, during the term of the revived 
                      agreement of the officer under subparagraph 
                      (A)(i), such pay or bonus ceases being authorized 
                      by law.
                    ``(C) Repayment.--An officer who is ineligible for 
                payment of a special or incentive pay or bonus otherwise 
                covered by this paragraph by reason of subparagraph 
                (B)(i)(II) shall be subject to the requirements for 
                repayment of such pay or bonus in accordance with the 
                terms of the applicable agreement of the officer under 
                chapter 5 of title 37, United States Code.
                    ``(D) Required service is additional.--Any service 
                required of an officer under an agreement covered by 
                this paragraph after the officer returns to active duty 
                as described in subparagraph (A) shall be in addition to 
                any service required of the officer under an agreement 
                under subsection (c).
            ``(4) Travel and transportation allowance.--
                    ``(A) In general.--Subject to subparagraph (B), an 
                officer who participates in a program under this section 
                is entitled, while participating in the program, to the 
                travel and transportation allowances authorized by 
                section 474 of title 37, United States Code, for--
                          ``(i) travel performed from the residence of 
                      the officer, at the time of release from active 
                      duty to participate in the program, to the 
                      location in the United States designated by the 
                      officer as the officer's residence during the 
                      period of participation in the program; and

[[Page 134 STAT. 1177]]

                          ``(ii) travel performed to the residence of 
                      the officer upon return to active duty at the end 
                      of the participation of the officer in the 
                      program.
                    ``(B) Single residence.--An allowance is payable 
                under this paragraph only with respect to travel of an 
                officer to and from a single residence.
            ``(5) <<NOTE: Time period.>>  Leave balance.--An officer who 
        participates in a program under this section is entitled to 
        carry forward the leave balance existing as of the day on which 
        the officer begins participation and accumulated in accordance 
        with section 701 of title 10, United States Code, but not to 
        exceed 60 days.

    ``(g) Promotion.--
            ``(1) In general.--An officer participating in a program 
        under this section shall not, while participating in the 
        program, be eligible for consideration for promotion under 
        subtitle B.
            ``(2) Return to service.--Upon the return of an officer to 
        active duty after completion by the officer of participation in 
        a program under this section--
                    ``(A) <<NOTE: Regulations.>>  the Secretary may 
                adjust the date of rank of the officer in such manner as 
                the Secretary shall prescribe in regulations for 
                purposes of this section; and
                    ``(B) the officer shall be eligible for 
                consideration for promotion when officers of the same 
                competitive category, grade, and seniority are eligible 
                for consideration for promotion.

    ``(h) <<NOTE: Time period.>>  Continued Entitlements.--An officer 
participating in a program under this section shall, while participating 
in the program, be treated as a member of the uniformed services on 
active duty for a period of more than 30 days for purposes of--
            ``(1) the entitlement of the officer and of the dependents 
        of the officer to medical and dental care under the provisions 
        of chapter 55 of title 10, United States Code; and
            ``(2) retirement or separation for physical disability under 
        the provisions of subtitle C.''.

    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of contents in section 1 of the 
Act entitled ``An Act to reauthorize the Hydrographic Services 
Improvement Act of 1998, and for other purposes'' (Public Law 107-372), 
as amended by section 306(b), is further amended by inserting after the 
item relating to section 235 the following:

``Sec. 236. Career flexibility to enhance retention of officers.''.

             TITLE IV--SEPARATION AND RETIREMENT OF OFFICERS

SEC. 401. INVOLUNTARY RETIREMENT OR SEPARATION.

    Section 241 (33 U.S.C. 3041) is amended by adding at the end the 
following:
    ``(d) Deferment of Retirement or Separation for Medical Reasons.--
            ``(1) <<NOTE: Determination.>>  In general.--If the 
        Secretary determines that the evaluation of the medical 
        condition of an officer requires hospitalization or medical 
        observation that cannot be completed with confidence in a manner 
        consistent with the officer's well-being before the date on 
        which the officer would otherwise

[[Page 134 STAT. 1178]]

        be required to retire or be separated under this section, the 
        Secretary may defer the retirement or separation of the officer.
            ``(2) Consent required.--A deferment may only be made with 
        the written consent of the officer involved. If the officer does 
        not provide written consent to the deferment, the officer shall 
        be retired or separated as scheduled.
            ``(3) <<NOTE: Time period.>>  Limitation.--A deferment of 
        retirement or separation under this subsection may not extend 
        for more than 30 days after completion of the evaluation 
        requiring hospitalization or medical observation.''.
SEC. 402. SEPARATION PAY.

    Section 242 (33 U.S.C. 3042) is amended by adding at the end the 
following:
    ``(d) Exception.--An officer discharged for twice failing selection 
for promotion to the next higher grade is not entitled to separation pay 
under this section if the officer--
            ``(1) expresses a desire not to be selected for promotion; 
        or
            ``(2) requests removal from the list of selectees.''.

 TITLE V--OTHER NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION MATTERS

SEC. 501. <<NOTE: 33 USC 892a note.>>  CHARTING AND SURVEY 
                        SERVICES.

    (a) <<NOTE: Deadline. Contracts.>>  In General.--Not later than 270 
days after the development of the strategy required by section 1002(b) 
of the Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018 (33 U.S.C. 
892a note), the Secretary of Commerce shall enter into not fewer than 2 
multi-year contracts with 1 or more private entities for the performance 
of charting and survey services by vessels.

    (b) Charting and Surveys in the Arctic.--In soliciting and engaging 
the services of vessels under subsection (a), the Secretary shall 
particularly emphasize the need for charting and surveys in the Arctic.
SEC. 502. <<NOTE: 33 USC 851 note prec.>>  CO-LOCATION AGREEMENTS.

    (a) <<NOTE: Time periods.>>  In General.--During fiscal years 2021 
through 2030, and subject to the availability of appropriations, the 
Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration may 
execute noncompetitive co-location agreements for real property and 
incidental goods and services with entities described in subsection (b) 
for periods of not more than 20 years, if each such agreement is 
supported by a price reasonableness analysis.

    (b) Entities Described.--An entity described in this subsection is--
            (1) the government of any State, territory, possession, or 
        locality of the United States;
            (2) any Tribal organization (as defined in section 4 of the 
        Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 
        U.S.C. 5304));
            (3) any subdivision of--
                    (A) a government described in paragraph (1); or
                    (B) an organization described in paragraph (2); or

[[Page 134 STAT. 1179]]

            (4) any organization that is--
                    (A) organized under the laws of the United States or 
                any jurisdiction within the United States; and
                    (B) described in section 501(c) of the Internal 
                Revenue Code of 1986 and exempt from tax under section 
                501(a) of such Code.

    (c) Collaboration Agreements.--Upon the execution of an agreement 
authorized by subsection (a) with an entity, the Administrator may enter 
into agreements with the entity to collaborate or engage in projects or 
programs on matters of mutual interest for periods not to exceed the 
term of the agreement. <<NOTE: Determination.>> The cost of such 
agreements shall be apportioned equitably, as determined by the 
Administrator.

    (d) Savings Clause.--Nothing in this section shall be construed--
            (1) to affect the authority of the Administrator of General 
        Services; or
            (2) to grant the Administrator of the National Oceanic and 
        Atmospheric Administration any additional authority to enter 
        into a lease without approval of the General Services 
        Administration.
SEC. 503. SATELLITE AND DATA MANAGEMENT.

    Section 301 of the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act 
of 2017 (15 U.S.C. 8531) is amended--
            (1) in subsection (c)(1), by striking subparagraph (D) and 
        inserting the following:
                    ``(D) improve--
                          ``(i) weather and climate forecasting and 
                      predictions; and
                          ``(ii) the understanding, management, and 
                      exploration of the ocean.''; and
            (2) in subsection (d)--
                    (A) in paragraph (1)--
                          (i) by striking ``data and satellite systems'' 
                      and inserting ``data, satellite, and other 
                      observing systems''; and
                          (ii) by striking ``to carry out'' and all that 
                      follows and inserting the following: ``to carry 
                      out--
                    ``(A) basic, applied, and advanced research projects 
                and ocean exploration missions to meet the objectives 
                described in subparagraphs (A) through (D) of subsection 
                (c)(1); or
                    ``(B) <<NOTE: Determination.>>  any other type of 
                project to meet other mission objectives, as determined 
                by the Under Secretary.'';
                    (B) in paragraph (2)(B)(i), by striking 
                ``satellites'' and all that follows and inserting 
                ``systems, including satellites, instrumentation, ground 
                stations, data, and data processing;''; and
                    (C) in paragraph (3), by striking ``2023'' and 
                inserting ``2030''.
SEC. 504. IMPROVEMENTS RELATING TO SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND ASSAULT 
                        PREVENTION AT THE NATIONAL OCEANIC AND 
                        ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION.

    (a) Reporting.--Subtitle C of title XXXV of the National Defense 
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (33 U.S.C. 894 et seq.) is 
amended--

[[Page 134 STAT. 1180]]

            (1) in section 3541(b)(3)(B) (33 U.S.C. 894(b)(3)(B)), by 
        striking ``can be confidentially reported'' and inserting ``can 
        be reported on a restricted or unrestricted basis''; and
            (2) in section 3542(b)(5)(B) (33 U.S.C. 894a(b)(5)(B)), by 
        striking ``can be confidentially reported'' and inserting ``can 
        be reported on a restricted or unrestricted basis''.

    (b) <<NOTE: 33 USC 894e, 894f.>>  Investigative Requirement.--Such 
subtitle is amended--
            (1) by redesignating sections 3546 and 3547 as sections 3548 
        and 3549, respectively; and
            (2) by inserting after section 3545 the following:
``SEC. 3546. <<NOTE: 33 USC 894d-1.>>  INVESTIGATION REQUIREMENT.

    ``(a) Requirement to Investigate.--
            ``(1) In general.--The Secretary of Commerce, acting through 
        the Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere, shall ensure that 
        each allegation of sexual harassment reported under section 3541 
        and each allegation of sexual assault reported under section 
        3542 is investigated thoroughly and promptly.
            ``(2) Sense of congress on commencement of 
        investigation. <<NOTE: Time period.>> --It is the sense of 
        Congress that the Secretary should ensure that an investigation 
        of alleged sexual harassment reported under section 3541 or 
        sexual assault reported under section 3542 commences not later 
        than 48 hours after the time at which the allegation was 
        reported.

    ``(b) <<NOTE: Time period.>>  Notification of Delay.--In any case in 
which the time between the reporting of alleged sexual harassment or 
sexual assault under section 3541 or 3542, respectively, and 
commencement of an investigation of the allegation exceeds 48 hours, the 
Secretary shall notify the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Natural Resources of 
the House of Representatives of the delay.
``SEC. 3547. <<NOTE: 33 USC 894d-2.>>  CRIMINAL REFERRAL.

    ``If the Secretary of Commerce finds, pursuant to an investigation 
under section 3546, evidence that a crime may have been committed, the 
Secretary shall refer the matter to the appropriate law enforcement 
authorities, including the appropriate United States Attorney.''.
    (c) Clerical Amendment.--The table of contents in section 2(b) of 
such Act is amended by striking the items relating to sections 3546 and 
3547 and inserting the following new items:

[[Page 134 STAT. 1181]]

``Sec. 3546. Investigation requirement.
``Sec. 3547. Criminal referral.
``Sec. 3548. Annual report on sexual assaults in the National Oceanic 
           and Atmospheric Administration.
``Sec. 3549. Sexual assault defined.''.

    Approved December 23, 2020.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 2981:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

SENATE REPORTS: No. 116-273 (Comm. on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 166 (2020):
            Nov. 16, considered and passed Senate.
            Dec. 3, 4, considered and passed House.
DAILY COMPILATION OF PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS (2020):
            Dec. 23, Presidential statement.

                                  <all>

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