United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Jun 06, 2023

§ 204.
Commissioned Corps and Ready Reserve Corps
In general

There shall be in the Service a commissioned Regular Corps and, for service in time of a public health or national emergency, a Ready Reserve Corps.


All commissioned officers shall be citizens of the United States and shall be appointed without regard to the civil-service laws and compensated without regard to the Classification Act of 1923, as amended.


Commissioned officers of the Ready Reserve Corps shall be appointed by the President and commissioned officers of the Regular Corps shall be appointed by the President.

Active duty

Commissioned officers of the Ready Reserve Corps shall at all times be subject to call to active duty by the Surgeon General, including active duty for the purpose of training.

Warrant officers

Warrant officers may be appointed to the Service for the purpose of providing support to the health and delivery systems maintained by the Service and any warrant officer appointed to the Service shall be considered for purposes of this chapter and title 37 to be a commissioned officer within the Commissioned Corps of the Service.

Assimilating Reserve Corps officers into the Regular Corps

Effective on March 23, 2010, all individuals classified as officers in the Reserve Corps under this section (as such section existed on the day before March 23, 2010) and serving on active duty shall be deemed to be commissioned officers of the Regular Corps.

Purpose and use of Ready Reserve Corps

The purpose of the Ready Reserve Corps is to fulfill the need to have additional Commissioned Corps personnel available on short notice (similar to the uniformed service’s reserve program) to assist regular Commissioned Corps personnel to meet both routine public health and emergency response missions during public health or national emergencies.

The Ready Reserve Corps shall, consistent with paragraph (1)—
participate in routine training to meet the general and specific needs of the Commissioned Corps;
be available and ready for involuntary calls to active duty during national emergencies and public health crises, similar to the uniformed service reserve personnel;
be available for backfilling critical positions left vacant during deployment of active duty Commissioned Corps members during such emergencies, as well as for deployment to respond to public health emergencies, both foreign and domestic; and
be available for service assignment in isolated, hardship, and medically underserved communities (as defined in section 295p of this title) to improve access to health services, consistent with subparagraph (C).
Statutory references to reserve

A reference in any Federal statute, except in the case of subsection (b), to the “Reserve Corps” of the Public Health Service or to the “reserve” of the Public Health Service shall be deemed to be a reference to the Ready Reserve Corps.


For the purpose of carrying out the duties and responsibilities of the Commissioned Corps under this section, there are authorized to be appropriated $5,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2010 through 2014 for recruitment and training and $12,500,000 for each of fiscal years 2010 through 2014 for the Ready Reserve Corps.

(July 1, 1944, ch. 373, title II, § 203, 58 Stat. 683; Feb. 28, 1948, ch. 83, § 2, 62 Stat. 39; Oct. 28, 1949, ch. 782, title XI, § 1106(a), 63 Stat. 972; Pub. L. 96–76, title III, § 302(a), Sept. 29, 1979, 93 Stat. 584; Pub. L. 111–148, title V, § 5210, Mar. 23, 2010, 124 Stat. 614; Pub. L. 112–166, § 2(ff)(1), Aug. 10, 2012, 126 Stat. 1290; Pub. L. 116–136, div. A, title III, § 3214(a), Mar. 27, 2020, 134 Stat. 372.)
cite as: 42 USC 204