(a) Requirement for Program.— The Secretary of Defense shall carry out a program to provide financial assistance for education in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology skills and disciplines that, as determined by the Secretary, are critical to the national security functions of the Department of Defense and are needed in the Department of Defense workforce.
(b) Financial Assistance.—
(1)Under the program under this section, the Secretary of Defense may award a scholarship or fellowship in accordance with this section to a person who—
(A)is a citizen of the United States;
(B)is pursuing an associates degree, undergraduate degree, or advanced degree in a critical skill or discipline described in subsection (a) at an accredited institution of higher education; and
(C)enters into a service agreement with the Secretary of Defense as described in subsection (c).
(2)The amount of the financial assistance provided under a scholarship or fellowship awarded to a person under this subsection shall be the amount determined by the Secretary of Defense as being necessary to pay all educational expenses incurred by that person, including tuition, fees, cost of books, laboratory expenses, equipment expenses, and expenses of room and board.
(3)Financial assistance provided under a scholarship or fellowship awarded under this section may be paid directly to the recipient of such scholarship or fellowship or to an administering entity for disbursement of the funds.
(c) Service Agreement for Recipients of Financial Assistance.—
(1)To receive financial assistance under this section—
(A)in the case of an employee of the Department of Defense, the employee shall enter into a written agreement to continue in the employment of the department for the period of obligated service determined under paragraph (2); and
(B)in the case of a person not an employee of the Department of Defense, the person shall enter into a written agreement to accept and continue employment in the Department of Defense for the period of obligated service determined under paragraph (2).
(2)For the purposes of this subsection, the period of obligated service for a recipient of financial assistance under this section shall be the period determined by the Secretary of Defense as being appropriate to obtain adequate service in exchange for such financial assistance. The period of service required of a recipient may not be less than the total period of pursuit of a degree that is covered by such financial assistance. The period of obligated service is in addition to any other period for which the recipient is obligated to serve in the civil service of the United States.
(3)An agreement entered into under this subsection by a person pursuing an academic degree shall include any terms and conditions that the Secretary of Defense determines necessary to protect the interests of the United States or otherwise appropriate for carrying out this section.
(d) Employment of Program Participants.— The Secretary of Defense—
(1)may, without regard to any provision of title 5 governing appointment of employees to competitive service positions within the Department of Defense, appoint to a position in the Department of Defense in the excepted service an individual who has successfully completed an academic program for which a scholarship or fellowship under this section was awarded and who, under the terms of the agreement for such scholarship or fellowship, at the time of such appointment, owes a service commitment to the Department; and
(2)may, upon satisfactory completion of 2 years of substantially continuous service by an incumbent who was appointed to an excepted service position under the authority of paragraph (1), convert the appointment of such individual, without competition, to a career or career conditional appointment.
(e) Refund for Period of Unserved Obligated Service.—
(A)A participant in the program under this section who is not an employee of the Department of Defense and who voluntarily fails to complete the educational program for which financial assistance has been provided under this section, or fails to maintain satisfactory academic progress as determined in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense, shall refund to the United States an appropriate amount, as determined by the Secretary.
(B)A participant in the program under this section who is an employee of the Department of Defense and who—
(i)voluntarily fails to complete the educational program for which financial assistance has been provided, or fails to maintain satisfactory academic progress as determined in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary; or
(ii)before completion of the period of obligated service required of such participant—
(I)voluntarily terminates such participant’s employment with the Department; or
(II)is removed from such participant’s employment with the Department on the basis of misconduct,
shall refund the United States an appropriate amount, as determined by the Secretary.
(2)An obligation to reimburse the United States imposed under paragraph (1) is for all purposes a debt owed to the United States.
(3)The Secretary of Defense may waive, in whole or in part, a refund required under paragraph (1) if the Secretary determines that recovery would be against equity and good conscience or would be contrary to the best interests of the United States.
(4)A discharge in bankruptcy under title 11 that is entered less than five years after the termination of an agreement under this section does not discharge the person signing such agreement from a debt arising under such agreement or under this subsection.
(f) Relationship to Other Programs.— The Secretary of Defense shall coordinate the provision of financial assistance under the authority of this section with the provision of financial assistance under the other authorities provided in this chapter in order to maximize the benefits derived by the Department of Defense from the exercise of all such authorities.
(g) Institution of Higher Education Defined.— In this section, the term “institution of higher education” has the meaning given such term in section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001).
2009—Subsec. (c)(2). Pub. L. 111–84, § 1102(b), substituted “The” for “Except as provided in subsection (d), the” in second sentence.
Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 111–84, § 1102(a), amended subsec. (d) generally. Prior to amendment, subsec. (d) provided that, under certain circumstances, the Secretary of Defense could appoint or retain a SMART program participant as an interim employee and separate such participant from employment if no appropriate permanent position was available at the end of the interim period and that the period of interim service would count towards the participant’s obligated service requirements.
Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 111–84, § 1102(c), struck out “The program under this section is in addition to the authorities provided in chapter
111 of this title.” before “The Secretary” and substituted “the other authorities provided in this chapter” for “the authorities provided in such chapter”.
Subsecs. (g), (h). Pub. L. 111–84, § 1102(d)(1), redesignatedsubsec. (h) as (g) and struck out former subsec. (g). Prior to amendment, text read as follows: “Not later than February 1, 2007, the Secretary of Defense shall submit to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives, the Committee on Governmental Affairs of the Senate, and the Committee on Government Reform of the House of Representatives a plan for expanding and improving the national defense science and engineering workforce educational assistance program carried out under this section as appropriate to improve recruitment and retention to meet the requirements of the Department of Defense for its science and engineering workforce on a short-term basis and on a long-term basis.”
2008—Subsec. (e)(4). Pub. L. 110–417, § 1061(a)(5)(A), substituted “title 11” for “title 11, United States Code,”.
Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 110–417, § 1061(a)(5)(B), substituted “this title” for “title 10, United States Code”.
Effect on Current Participants in SMART Pilot Program
Pub. L. 109–163, div. A, title XI, § 1104(f),Jan. 6, 2006, 119 Stat. 3450, provided that: “Participation in the Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Defense Scholarship Pilot Program under section 1105 ofPublic Law 108–375 [see Codification note above] by an individual who has entered into an agreement under that pilot program before the date of the enactment of this Act [Jan. 6, 2006] shall be governed by the terms of such agreement without regard to the amendments made by this section [enacting this section, amending section
3304 of Title
5, Government Organization and Employees, and amending and repealing provisions set out as a note under section
2192 of this title].”
The table below lists the classification updates, since Jan. 3, 2012, for this section. Updates to a broader range of sections may be found at the update page for containing chapter, title, etc.
The most recent Classification Table update that we have noticed was Tuesday, August 13, 2013
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