Promotions of officers of the Regular Corps to any grade up to and including the director grade shall be either permanent promotions based on length of service, other permanent promotions to fill vacancies, or temporary promotions. Permanent promotions shall be made by the President, and temporary promotions shall be made by the President. Each permanent promotion shall be to the next higher grade, and shall be made only after examination given in accordance with regulations of the President.
The President may by regulation provide that in a specified professional category permanent promotions to the senior grade, or to both the full grade and the senior grade, shall be made only if there are vacancies in such grade. A grade in any category with respect to which such regulations have been issued is referred to in this section as a “restricted grade”.
Examinations to determine qualification for permanent promotions may be either noncompetitive or competitive, as the Surgeon General shall in each case determine; except that examinations for promotions to the assistant or senior assistant grade shall in all cases be noncompetitive. The officers to be examined shall be selected by the Surgeon General from the professional category, and in the order of seniority in the grade, from which promotion is to be recommended. In the case of a competitive examination the Surgeon General shall determine in advance of the examination the number (which may be one or more) of officers who, after passing the examination, will be recommended to the President for promotion; but if the examination is one for promotions based on length of service, or is one for promotions to fill vacancies other than vacancies in the director grade or in a restricted grade, such number shall not be less than 80 per centum of the number of officers to be examined.
Officers in a professional category of the Regular Corps, found pursuant to subsection (c) to be qualified, may be given permanent promotions to fill any or all vacancies in such category in the senior assistant grade, the full grade, the senior grade, or the director grade; but no officer who has not had one year of service with permanent or temporary rank in the next lower grade shall be promoted to any restricted grade or to the director grade.
If an officer who has completed the years of service required for promotion to a grade under paragraph (2) of subsection (d) fails to receive such promotion, he shall (unless he has already been twice examined for promotion to such grade) be once reexamined for promotion to such grade. If he is thereupon promoted (otherwise than under subsection (e)), the effective date of such promotion shall be one year later than it would have been but for such failure. Upon the effective date of any permanent promotion of such officer to such grade, he shall be considered as having had only the length of service required for such promotion which he previously failed to receive.
At the end of his first three years of service, the record of each officer of the Regular Corps originally appointed to the senior assistant grade or above, shall be reviewed in accordance with regulations of the President and, if found not qualified for further service, he shall be separated from the Service and paid six months’ pay and allowances.
Any commissioned officer of the Regular Corps in any grade in any professional category may be recommended to the President for temporary promotion to fill a vacancy in any higher grade in such category, up to and including the director grade. In time of war, or of national emergency proclaimed by the President, any commissioned officer of the Regular Corps in any grade in any professional category may be recommended to the President for promotion to any higher grade in such category, up to and including the director grade, whether or not a vacancy exists in such grade. The selection of officers to be recommended for temporary promotions shall be made in accordance with regulations of the President. Promotion of an officer recommended pursuant to this subsection may be made without regard to length of service, without examination, and without vacating his permanent appointment, and shall carry with it the pay and allowances of the grade to which promoted. Such promotions may be terminated at any time, as may be directed by the President.
Whenever the number of officers of the Regular Corps on active duty, plus the number of officers of the Reserve Corps who have been on active duty for thirty days or more, exceeds the authorized strength of the Regular Corps, the Secretary shall determine the requirements of the Service in each grade in each category, based upon the total number of officers so serving on active duty and the tasks being performed by the Service; and the Surgeon General shall thereupon assign each officer of the Reserve Corps on active duty to a professional category. If the Secretary finds that the number of officers fixed under section 210b(c) of this title for any grade and category (or the number of officers, including officers of the Reserve Corps, on active duty in such grade in such category, if such number is greater than the number fixed under section 210b(c) of this title) is insufficient to meet such requirements of the Service, officers of either the Regular Corps or the Reserve Corps may be recommended for temporary promotion to such grade in such category. Any such promotion may be terminated at any time, as may be directed by the President.
Any officer of the Regular Corps, or any officer of the Reserve Corps on active duty, who is promoted to a higher grade shall, unless he expressly declines such promotion, be deemed for all purposes to have accepted such promotion; and shall not be required to renew his oath of office, or to execute a new affidavit as required by section 3332 of title 5.