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«U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Program Support Center Human Resources Service Division of Commissioned Personnel 5600 Fishers Lane, ...»

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7. Outside Activity Forms

Material submitted to DCP for inclusion in the OPF should comply with the following guidelines:

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CCPM Citation:

INSTRUCTION 6, Subchapter CC25.2, CCPM, "Professional Growth and Development" INSTRUCTION 5, Subchapter CC23.5, CCPM, "Detail of PHS Commissioned Officers to States and Nonprofit Institutions" Officers also receive information and assistance from the Professional Advisory Committees for each category and the Chief Professional Officers for each category and their offices.

The individual officer is the one most knowledgeable and concerned about his/her professional development, and is in the best position to assess and utilize opportunities for advancement. Most transfers and reassignments are initiated by the officer. Officers, as well as all personnel within an OPDIV, are routinely provided information on vacancies. Officers can apply for these positions as do civil service employees as long as the vacancy is a health-related position. Officers also are made aware of vacancies through informal networking systems, and by being involved in various professional activities.

To help officers identify vacancies that have been pre-approved as being appropriate for commissioned officers, DCP operates the Electronic Bulletin Board (EEB). The EBB can be accessed by use of a computer and modem. Instructions for accessing the EBB are provided each month in the Commissioned Corps Bulletin. The vacancies that appear on the EBB are listed in subfiles by category

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or discipline, with one subfile containing vacancies that are open to more than one discipline. A brief description of the vacancy is provided in the EBB, highlighting the requirements of the position along with general information.

All officers are encouraged to access the EBB, not only to locate a new position, but to become familiar with the types of positions available to PHS officers to assist with his/her career plans.

An officer can also seek assistance with a career move from the commissioned corps personnel representatives within his/her OPDIV. This assistance is most useful when the officer is seeking a reassignment within the OPDIV. In addition, the officer can seek assistance from DCP if the officer is seeking a reassignment to another OPDIV where the normal vacancy announcement and informal network sources of information are not available. An officer may also seek assistance from DCP when there is a problem or conflict with OPDIV management, and the officer needs impartial third party assistance. The officer should contact his/her staffing officer at (301) 594-3360.


Career tracks exist in areas of Clinical/Clinical Management, Epidemiology/Public Health Practice, Program Management, Regulatory Affairs, Research, and International Health. These career tracks will include assignments of increasing responsibility and professional growth over a 20-30 year career.

The career development program emphasizes flexibility, mobility, and training as prerequisites to the ability of the PHS to respond to the rapidly changing health requirements of the American people.

Career development is enhanced by progressive reassignment and the identification of new opportunities.

Officers are given the opportunity to compete for assignments as a basis for professional growth and career development. Generally, officers can anticipate from three to five geographic and/or professional rotations during the course of a career.


The PHS Commissioned Corps provides the opportunity for assignments with OPDIVs or programs.

These include:

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In addition, officers can be detailed to Federal executive departments in order to cooperate in, or conduct, work related to the PHS, and to other Federal or non-Federal entities and on statutory or regulatory requirement that the PHS provide health related services.

Finally, officers can be detailed to States or the Trust Territories for the purpose of assisting in work related to the function of the PHS; to any committee of Congress; and to nonprofit educational, research or other institutions engaged in activities related to public health. See Section on Details.

All reassignments are processed by DCP based upon the concurrence of the OPDIVs involved.

Normally, reassignments will be processed if the officer has been in his/her current assignment for at least 2 years, the assignment is career enhancing and the transfer will benefit the PHS. Officers are normally provided at least 30 days after orders are issued before reporting to a new duty station in a different geographic area. Officers may not take any official action regarding a pending transfer until orders are issued by DCP.

Reassignments can be initiated by the officer's program to better meet program needs without the consent of the officer. Involuntary transfers are based primarily upon a priority program need, filling critical vacancies, or to provide an officer an opportunity to enhance his/her professional development in a different management environment.


The Vacancy Announcement and Tracking System (VAATS) is a data base that contains vacancies that have been approved by DCP as being appropriate for commissioned officers. These vacancies are voluntarily submitted by OPDIVs to the DCP VAATS Project Officer for entry into the system. DCP encourages OPDIVs to submit all vacancies appropriate for commissioned officers.

VAATS is used by the PHS officer who is seeking career opportunities and by the OPDIV that is seeking to fill a vacancy with a PHS officer who is both qualified and interested in the position.

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Officers use VAATS as a tool to actively find a new assignment. Reviewing the various types of vacancies allows an officer to identify what types of assignments are available to PHS officers, what qualifications are required for particular positions, which OPDIVs offer these assignments of interest, where in the United States/world PHS officers may be assigned, who an officer can call to find out more information about a particular program or job, and so forth.

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OPDIVs use VAATS to advertise vacancies on the EBB. OPDIVs that submit a vacancy for entry into VAATS can also request a list of officer candidates for the submitted vacancy. This request is filled by screening the computer-based personnel files of all active-duty officers to identify officers who have indicated they would be qualified and interested in such a position primarily by way of the APPLES Survey. This "best match" list of candidates is provided to the requesting OPDIV with an Officer Information Survey (OIS) report for each officer candidate. If interested in a potential candidate, the OPDIV will contact an officer directly to discuss the job, to ask questions, or to set up an interview.


DCP maintains an Electronic Bulletin Board (EBB) that may be used by individual officers to assist in planning their careers and in locating positions. The priority of the EBB is to provide updated information to officers on vacancies that are listed in VAATS, and to provide other information to assist in career planning. Secondary priority is to provide information on current DCP issues.

Job vacancies from the VAATS are listed on the EBB for each of the eleven career categories (Medical, Engineer, etc.). A separate bulletin lists multidisciplinary vacancies that do not require a specific category. A contact person and phone number is listed for each vacancy. The vacancy lists on the EBB are updated on a regular basis. In addition, the EBB lists positions that have not been entered into the VAATS but are, none the less, appropriate for commissioned officers.

To access the EBB, one needs a computer terminal and modem. The telephone number for the system is (301) 594-2398. The line parameters required for the user's modem/terminal are: 300-14400 baud;

8 bits; 1 stop bit; no parity.

Users accessing the EBB for the first time must answer all questions. This includes entering a password which is any combination of alpha numeric characters that the user chooses. Once the password is entered and questions are answered, the first time user is granted full access to the system. If a user forgets his/her password, he/she may leave a message for the System Operator (SysOp). The SysOp will then delete the user from the database. The user can then log on as a first time user.

Officers who have the required equipment (terminal/modem) to access the EBB are encouraged to share that access and information with officers who do not have direct access. This may include providing hard copy listings of vacancies and other information or allowing the officer(s) to use the equipment so that they can register as users. Officers who do not have ready access to the required equipment are encouraged to make contact with others in their area to determine if the equipment is available. If access is still unavailable, officers should contact their program officials/Commissioned Corps Liaisons to request assistance with access to the system.


The Assignment Preferences, Proficiency in Languages, Education, and Skills (APPLES) Survey is a data resource administered by ODB, DCP, to assist officers in matching individual career preferences/needs with OPDIV personnel needs, and allows officers to fully identify career interests.

The survey is mailed periodically to all active-duty officers to maintain current and accurate data. The survey data text translation prints on the OIS.


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The Officer Information Summary (OIS) is a report that is designed to summarize, in a standard format, some of the information collected in various data bases available to DCP. These data bases include APPLES Survey, assignment histories, awards, billets, COERs, etc.

The OIS cover sheet alerts authorized officials that the information contained in the OIS is covered by the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, and is for official use only. The OIS is divided into several sections which includes: key information from the DCP OPF, including important dates and information on the current assignment; shows information on future assignment preferences, rotational changes, timing and restrictions, along with education, specialty training and professional licensure; shows approved Uniformed Services (PHS and DoD) decorations and awards; lists foreign languages with their proficiency levels and officer-supplied information on special skills; shows the overall performance scores; and the officer's assignment history while serving as a PHS officer.


1. Commissioned officers may be detailed to various components of local, State, national, and international health, education, and other governmental and nongovernmental agencies and organizations. Chief recipients include agencies as diverse as the Trust Territories of the Pacific, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, World Health Organization, and Departments of State and Defense. These organizations and agencies benefit from the special public health, medical, and managerial skills of the seasoned cadre of commissioned corps health professionals. It is through details that each of the OPDIVs can provide assistance to and collaborate with their counterparts in the public and private sectors worldwide.

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CCPM Citations:

Subchapter CC24, CCPM, “Travel and Transportation” CCPM Pamphlet No. 51, “Information on Temporary Duty Travel” CCPM Pamphlet No. 11, “Information on Shipment of Household Goods”

Joint Federal Travel Regulations (JFTR):

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