H.R. 2406 would modify personnel policies for the commissioned officer corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The bill would authorize NOAA to pay some expenses related to higher education for people serving in the commissioned officer corps or people who commit to serving in the corps after completing a college degree. Using information about the number of officer candidates recruited each year, CBO expects that around 30 current and former students would receive such assistance over the 2020-2024 period. Using information from the Department of Education on the costs of postsecondary education that would be eligible for assistance under the bill, current subsistence allowances provided by other uniformed services, and accounting for anticipated inflation, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 2406 would cost $1 million over the 2020-2024 period. Such spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.
H.R. 2406 also would establish service requirements for people enlisting in NOAA’s commissioned officer corps. Under the bill, any officer who fails to meet those requirements would be obligated to repay NOAA an amount equal to the costs incurred to train that officer and any financial assistance for education expenses that the officer received. Using information from NOAA on the cost of such training, CBO estimates that receipts to NOAA from officers who fail to meet their service obligations would be insignificant over the 2020-2029 period (such payments would be recorded as offsetting receipts in the budget, or as reductions in direct spending).