Eligibility and Standards for Peace Corps Volunteer Service, 45620-45627 [2015-18789]

Download as PDF 45620 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 147 / Friday, July 31, 2015 / Proposed Rules Rehabilitation Act of 1973. For accessibility accommodations please send an email to accessibility@ferc.gov or call toll free 1–866–208–3372 (voice) or 202–502 -8659 (TTY); or send a fax to 202–208–2106 with the required accommodations. For more information about this technical conference, please contact Sarah McKinley, 202–502–8368, sarah.mckinley@ferc.gov. Dated: July 23, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary. rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Appendix: Questions To Address —How should segments be defined for purposes of disaggregation? —Are there scenarios in which pipelines should be required to file disaggregated information and scenarios in which they should not? List specific scenarios. —What would be the additional cost to report disaggregated information on the Form 6 page 700? —What are the potential benefits of requiring disaggregated information? —Do pipelines currently track their revenues and operating expenses by segment? —If pipelines are required to provide cost information by segments, should they also be required to provide volumes and revenues by segments? —What allocation methods do pipelines use to determine the share of overhead and shared costs associated with each segment? Would this have to change if the information is broken down by segment, and if so, how? —What, if any, are the drawbacks of the current process of providing workpapers to parties once a proceeding has been initiated? —In addition to shippers, which ‘‘interested persons’’ should be entitled to request workpapers? —How frequently should shippers and other interested persons be entitled to access workpapers? —Do workpapers need to be provided in electronic form to be useful? Should the Commission standardize the manner in which workpapers are presented? —What process and protections should be required in connection with making workpapers available on request? —What additional costs are associated with making workpapers available upon request as compared to the current process of making them available once a trial-type hearing has been initiated? [FR Doc. 2015–18837 Filed 7–30–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:28 Jul 30, 2015 Jkt 235001 Request for Comments PEACE CORPS 22 CFR Part 305 RIN 0420–AA26 Eligibility and Standards for Peace Corps Volunteer Service Peace Corps. Proposed rule. AGENCY: ACTION: This proposed regulation would restate and update the requirements for eligibility for Peace Corps Volunteer service, and the factors considered in the assessment and selection of eligible applicants for training and service. The requirements and factors for eligibility and selection were last published in 1984. A revision of the regulation is necessary to conform to changes in Federal laws and regulations, particularly with respect to those prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability, and to reflect policy changes made by the Peace Corps. DATES: Comments due on or before August 31, 2015. ADDRESSES: Address all comments to Anthony F. Marra, Associate General Counsel, Peace Corps, 1111 20th Street NW., Washington, DC 20526. Comments may also be sent electronically to the following email address: pcfr@ peacecorps.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Colin Jones, Office of the General Counsel, Policy and Program Analyst, 1111 20th Street NW., Washington, DC 20526, and 202–692–2164. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under the Peace Corps Act (22 U.S.C. 2501 et seq.), the Peace Corps is authorized to enroll qualified US citizens and nationals as Volunteers to serve abroad, under conditions of hardship if necessary, (i) to help the people of interested countries meet their need for trained personnel, particularly in meeting the basic needs of those living in the poorest areas of such countries, (ii) to help promote a better understanding of the American people on the part of the people served, and (iii) to help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of the American people. The Peace Corps is authorized to establish the terms and conditions of enrollment of Volunteers, as well as the terms and conditions of service. The proposed rule would revise and update rules concerning eligibility and selection standards for Peace Corps Volunteer service, which were last published in the Federal Register over 30 years ago (49 FR 38939, October 2, 1984), and entered into effect November 1, 1984, and currently appear at 22 CFR part 305. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 The Peace Corps invites public comment on all aspects of this proposed rule and will take those comments into account before publishing a final rule. The proposed rule would make the following changes: (1) Introduction. The current introductory section (22 CFR 305.1) would be revised to provide new definitions for the three stages (Applicant, Trainee, and Volunteer) that an individual who is interested in service as a Volunteer passes through. It would also provide a definition of the term ‘‘enrollment’’, which is used in connection with an individual’s service as a Volunteer. The section would include a general statement explaining the process the Peace Corps follows in the selection of Volunteers, as well as to provide notice to applicants regarding the importance of submitting complete and accurate information in the application process. The section would eliminate the recitation of the various anti-discrimination statutes that the Peace Corps is obligated to follow and replace it with a clear statement that the Peace Corps does not discriminate on various grounds in the selection of Volunteers. The section advises that applicants may be disqualified, and Volunteers and Trainees may be separated, if the Peace Corps determines they provided materially false, misleading, inaccurate or incomplete information during the Peace Corps application process. (2) Eligibility. The eligibility section (22 CFR 305.2) would be simplified to cover only the existing citizenship and age criteria for Volunteer applicants. Other eligibility factors in the current § 305.2 would be moved to succeeding sections, where they would be updated and expanded. (3) Selection Standards. A revised § 305.3 would incorporate the selection factors that currently appear in § 305.4. The revision would restate the current attributes that an applicant must meet for Volunteer service, with a little more detail. It would also revise the description of the various personal attributes that are taken into account when evaluating applicants. The revised § 305.3 would explain that the Peace Corps assesses each applicant’s personal, professional, educational, and legal qualifications in order to select those applicants most likely to be successful in a Peace Corps assignment, serving under conditions of hardship if necessary, to achieve the goals of the Peace Corps. Meeting the several qualifications would not in and of itself entitle any individual to serve in the E:\FR\FM\31JYP1.SGM 31JYP1 rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 147 / Friday, July 31, 2015 / Proposed Rules Peace Corps, because the revision would state that the Peace Corps endeavors to select the best qualified individuals from among all eligible applicants. (4) Medical Status. The revised part 305 would create a new § 305.4 that replaces the provision on the medical qualifications of applicants that currently appears in § 305.2. The revised section implements, in relation to applications for Volunteer service, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. It states that an applicant must have the physical and mental capacity required to meet the essential eligibility requirements for a Volunteer and sets out those essential eligibility requirements, which include the capability to (i) live and work independently in an isolated location overseas at the same socio-economic level and in similar conditions as members of the community to which the applicant is assigned; (ii) perform the job to which the applicant is assigned; and (iii) complete a specified tour of service without undue disruption due to health problems. It also requires that, in order for an applicant to be medically qualified for Volunteer service, the Peace Corps must have the capability to provide necessary or appropriate health care for the applicant. It includes a requirement that the Peace Corps consider reasonable accommodations in determining whether an applicant has the physical and mental capacity required to meet the essential eligibility requirements for a Volunteer and whether the Peace Corps has the capability to provide necessary or appropriate health care for the applicant. A new provision provides that an applicant must not pose a direct threat, which is defined as a significant risk to the health and safety of others that cannot be eliminated by reasonable accommodation, removal of architectural, communication or transportation barriers or the provision of auxiliary aids or services. The proposed revisions include a requirement that an applicant’s medical eligibility be based on an individualized assessment of the factors applicable to reasonable medical accommodations. An applicant determined not to be medically qualified for Volunteer service would have a right to obtain a further review of the determination by a physician and, ultimately, by a review panel. The review panel would provide an applicant, who has been medically disqualified, with an opportunity to have a further review of that decision. The review panel is currently composed of at least five people; at least one is a physician and four other health care VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:28 Jul 30, 2015 Jkt 235001 professional on the staff of the Office of Medical Services. In any case involving review of issues of mental health, at least one professional staff person from the Counseling and Outreach Unit also participates as a voting member of the review panel. The decision of the review panel constitutes a final agency action and is not subject to further appeal. (5) Legal Status. A new § 305.5 would change the eligibility qualifications for an applicant who is on parole or probation, currently covered in § 305.2(d), and reframe the eligibility standard in terms the existence of an arrest or conviction record. The revision provides the Peace Corps with greater flexibility to consider the nature of the offense, how long ago the offense occurred, whether the applicant was acquitted of the offense, the terms of any applicable parole or probation, and other relevant facts or indications of rehabilitation. Specific standards would be established for drug and alcohol related offenses. An applicant rejected because of an arrest or conviction would have a right to have a review of the rejection by a more senior Peace Corps official outside of the office that made the original eligibility determination. It would also eliminate the requirement that an applicant not have any court established financial or other obligation that cannot be satisfied or postponed during a Peace Corps service period. (6) Intelligence Background. The Peace Corps has a longstanding policy to exclude from Volunteer service individuals who have engaged in intelligence activity or related work or who have been employed by or connected with an intelligence agency, either for a specific period of time or permanently (depending on the agency). This policy is founded on the premise that it is crucial to the Peace Corps in carrying out its mission that there be a complete and total separation of the Peace Corps from the intelligence activities of the United States Government or any foreign government, both in reality and appearance. The current regulation contains a onesentence statement in § 305.2(e) regarding the eligibility of applicants having a background with an intelligence agency or intelligence activities. It refers applicants to provisions of the Peace Corps Manual for more details. The new § 305.6 is intended to provide greater transparency for applicants regarding this policy. The policy covers both employment (defined broadly) by an intelligence agency and engagement in intelligence activities. It applies to an employee of PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 45621 an intelligence agency even if the employee was not engaged in intelligence activities for the intelligence agency. An applicant who was employed by an intelligence agency (other than the CIA) or engaged in intelligence activities is barred from Peace Corps service for a minimum of 10 years. An applicant who was employed by the CIA is barred from Peace Corps service permanently. The policy also applies to applicants whose background discloses a relationship to an intelligence agency or intelligence activity, but who was not employed by an intelligence agency or engaged in intelligence activities. Such a relationship might be one based on familial, personal or financial connections to an intelligence agency or intelligence activities. In these cases, the period of ineligibility will be determined by the General Counsel based on a number of stated factors. Serious doubts about an applicant’s connection with intelligence agencies or activities are to be resolved in favor of exclusion. An applicant rejected based on an intelligence background criteria has a right to appeal the rejection to the Peace Corps Director. (7) Special Circumstances. A new § 305.7 addresses special circumstances involving some applicants, which are now covered in § 305.2(f), (g) and (h). The current § 305.2(f) places restrictions on Peace Corps Volunteer service for applicants who are married and who wish to serve without their spouse. These restrictions have been removed as they are no longer relevant to eligibility for Volunteer service. In addition, a new Section 305.7(a) expressly provides that two applicants who are married or are in a same sex or opposite sex domestic partnership or committed relationship may apply to serve together. This codifies in regulation the Peace Corps policy on placement of couples, including its recent policy to accept same-sex and opposite-sex couple applicants on an equal basis whether married, or unmarried and in a committed relationship/domestic partnership. The current § 305.2(g) places restrictions on the ability of an applicant who has dependent children under the age of 18 to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer. These restrictions have been removed because they are not relevant to the ability of an individual to serve as a Volunteer. However, a new provision has been added that generally prohibits dependents and other family members from accompanying a Volunteer during service. This provision permits the Peace Corps to make exceptions from time to time either on E:\FR\FM\31JYP1.SGM 31JYP1 45622 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 147 / Friday, July 31, 2015 / Proposed Rules a case-by-case basis or for particular categories of Volunteers to the extent permitted by Federal law. The current policy on military service obligations of applicants contained in § 305.2(h) would continue in § 305.7(c), but the written statement from a commanding officer would no longer be required. (8) Background Investigation. Section 22 of the Peace Corps Act requires that applicants be investigated to ensure that their assignment ‘‘is consistent with the national interest.’’ The Peace Corps currently satisfies this statutory requirement under § 305.3, which requires a National Agency Check (NAC) and background investigation for all applicants. A NAC is a clearance conducted by the Federal Investigations Services of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and is the minimum clearance required for all civilian Federal employees. Peace Corps has required that Volunteer applicants be cleared through a NAC investigation for many years, in large part because it was initially the only feasible way to comply with Section 22 of the Peace Corps Act. However, there are now other commercial, non-governmental investigative entities, approved by the Government Services Administration, which can provide equivalent clearance services for Volunteer applicants. The proposed revision of part 305 includes a new § 305.8, replacing the current § 305.3. It retains the requirement that all applicants accepted for training have an appropriate background investigation completed before they can be enrolled as Volunteers. However, it does not specify that the background investigation be OPM’s Federal Investigations Services background investigation for Federal employment positions. This change would give Peace Corps flexibility to use other contractors to conduct background investigations, as well OPM’s Federal Investigative Services. Statement of Effects rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Executive Order 12866 The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has reviewed the proposed regulatory action under Executive Order 12866 and has determined that it is a significant regulatory action within the meaning of the Executive Order. Consequently, the Peace Corps is providing an explanation of the need for the regulatory action and an assessment of the potential costs and benefits of the regulatory action. (1) Need for Regulatory Action. Under Section 5(a) of the Peace Corps Act (22 VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:28 Jul 30, 2015 Jkt 235001 U.S.C. 2504(a)), the Peace Corps is entitled to enroll qualified citizens and nationals into Peace Corps service and is delegated authority to establish the terms and conditions of enrollment. The Peace Corps last published its terms and conditions of enrollment in 1984 and those rules are outdated and need to reflect current laws and policies that have been implemented over the past 30 years. In addition, the structure of the current regulation needs to be revised to simplify the description of the information required in order to apply to the Peace Corps, as well as the explanation of the Peace Corps selection process as described in the Supplementary Information section. (2) Potential Costs and Benefits. It is difficult to precisely quantify the costs and benefits of the proposed regulation that is designed to reflect current law and regulations and to make it easier for American citizens to apply for service as a Peace Corps Volunteer. However, the Peace Corps has concluded that the current regulatory structure, and the accompanying application form, is seen as a daunting, confusing and timeconsuming process, which has discouraged many Americans who might otherwise be interested in and well-qualified for Volunteer service. The proposed regulation will improve the possibility of the most suitable candidates being selected as a Volunteer, decrease the barriers to service and broaden the rights of applicants. This will be a substantial benefit to all Americans who want to serve as Volunteers, as well as being a benefit to the Peace Corps which is interested in creating a large, diverse pool of qualified, suitable candidates to serve abroad as Volunteers. The Peace Corps estimates that agency staff will spend less time reviewing each individual application, because the application itself will be shorter. For 2015, the Peace Corps anticipates that use of the new application will result in a savings of $23.16 per application, compared to the former application. With 22,000 expected applications for the year, the new application is expected to provide a savings of $509,520 resulting from the reduction in staff time spent reviewing applications. However, the agency expects that the total number of completed applications will increase, and that the agency will not realize immediate cost savings from these changes. The current regulation lists nine factors as relevant to the determination of eligibility. These factors include citizenship, age, medical status, legal status, intelligence background, marital status, dependents, military service, and PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 failure to disclose requested information. This listing combines factors that are basic, clear-cut requirements for Peace Corps service, such as the citizenship requirement (under the Peace Corps Act only citizens and nationals can be Volunteers), along with factors that are more relevant to whether an applicant is suitable for Volunteer service or has the requisite qualifications to serve as a Volunteer, which involve more judgmental and situational issues. As a result, the Peace Corps has found that many potential applicants, after reviewing the nine requirements, make self-judgments that they are not eligible to apply for Volunteer service. In addition, the application form that had been in use until June 30, 2014 was over 61 Web pages long and took approximately eight hours to complete. This was an added deterrence to many potential applicants. Approximately 75 percent of the annual 40,000 individuals who started the application never finished it due to its length and density. The Peace Corps has recently introduced a new application, which is 9 Web pages rather than the former 61 pages. It is estimated that each applicant will save approximately 7 hours with the shorter application form. The shorter application will clearly benefit applicants, because it will result in a reduced paperwork burden on applicants. The Peace Corps estimates that the shorter application form will result in a savings to the public of approximately $5,840,000. This is based on: (i) An assumed hourly wage equivalent of $37.94 derived from the median wage earnings, including overhead and benefits, for persons age 25 or over who have attained a bachelor’s degree; (ii) the reduction of 7 hours spent on the application; and (iii) 22,000 applications in 2015. The shorter application should also increase the pool of individuals who complete an application from the current 10,000 per year to over 20,000 per year. Although the Peace Corps is able to simplify the application form without regard to a regulatory change, the new regulation is needed to accurately reflect the current laws and policies that relate to the Volunteer selection process. The proposed regulatory action addresses deficiencies in the current regulation that have deterred potential applicants and reduced the applicant pool. The proposed regulation specifies only two baseline eligibility requirements for applying to the Peace Corps. An applicant must be a citizen or national of the United States and at least 18 years of age. The proposed regulation clearly E:\FR\FM\31JYP1.SGM 31JYP1 rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 147 / Friday, July 31, 2015 / Proposed Rules enumerates the suitability and qualification standards that are used by the Peace Corps in determining who should be invited to enroll as a Volunteer. It explains that an applicant must demonstrate suitability for Peace Corps service generally and for the particular assignment for which the applicant is being considered. It describes the medical qualifications that are applied, taking into account Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The proposed regulation gives the Peace Corps greater flexibility in accepting applicants with arrest or conviction records. It provides a more complete description of how the Peace Corps considers applicants who have worked for intelligence agencies or engaged in intelligence activities. The current regulation merely says that an applicant with an intelligence background may be disqualified, without an explanation of the criteria for disqualification in the regulation. As a result, applicants may initiate and complete the lengthy application process only to be informed that they are not eligible for Volunteer service because of having worked for intelligence agencies or having engaged in intelligence activities. Other applicants may be deterred from applying because they think that any connection to an intelligence background disqualifies an applicant. By explaining the intelligence background criteria front-end, applicants will be more informed about whether they meet Peace Corps selection standards and whether it is worth their time to initiate the application process. The proposed regulation also reflects the new policy of the Peace Corps to accept same sex and opposite sex couple applicants on an equal basis whether married or unmarried in a committed relationship. It removes some of the restrictions on applicants who have dependent children under the age of 18. Finally, the proposed regulation incorporates appeal rights when an applicant has been rejected on grounds relating to medical status, an arrest or conviction record, or for having a background in intelligence activities. Any applicant in an expanded list of protected categories who thinks that he or she had been discriminated against is given the option for review and consideration by the Office of Civil Rights and Diversity at the Peace Corps. These proposed changes to the Volunteer application process will provide an easier, clearer, faster and more equitable and consistent process for potential applicants, and result in a greater number of well-qualified VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:28 Jul 30, 2015 Jkt 235001 applicants available for Peace Corps Volunteer service. Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (5 U.S.C. 605(b)) The Director of the Peace Corps certifies that this regulatory action will not have a significant adverse impact on a substantial number of small entities. The regulation only applies to individuals who are interested in service as a Volunteer and has no application to small entities. Unfunded Mandates Act of 1995 (Sec. 202, Pub. L. 104–4) This regulatory action does not contain a Federal mandate that will result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in aggregate, or by the private sector of $100 or more in any one year. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C., Chapter 35) This regulatory action does not contain any paperwork or recordkeeping requirements and does not require clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act. The Peace Corps Volunteer application form for Volunteer service referenced in the regulation has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (Control Number 0420–0005). Federalism (Executive Order 13132) This regulatory action does not have Federalism implications, as set forth in Executive Order 13132. It will not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Executive Order 12291 This document is not a major rule as described in Executive Order 12291. List of Subjects in 22 CFR Part 305 Aged, Citizenship and naturalization, Civil rights, Discrimination, Equal employment opportunity, Foreign aid, Handicapped, Health, Intelligence, Nondiscrimination, Political affiliation, Volunteers. For the reasons set out in the preamble, the Peace Corps proposes to revise 22 CFR part 305 as follows: PART 305—ELIGIBILITY AND STANDARDS FOR PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER SERVICE Sec. 305.1 305.2 305.3 PO 00000 Purpose and general guidelines. Eligibility. Selection standards. Frm 00008 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 45623 305.4 Medical status eligibility standard. 305.5 Legal status eligibility standards. 305.6 Applicants with an intelligence background. 305.7 Special circumstances. 305.8 Background investigation. Authority: Sec. 4(b), 5(a) and 22 of the Peace Corps Act as amended, 22 U.S.C. 2503(b), 2504(a) and 2521; E.O. 12137, May 16, 1979; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; E.O. 13160. § 305.1 Purpose and general guidelines. This part states the requirements for eligibility for Peace Corps Volunteer service and the factors considered in the assessment and selection of eligible applicants for Peace Corps Volunteer service. (a) Definitions. For purposes of this part: (1) Applicant means an applicant for enrollment as a Volunteer, who has completed and submitted the Peace Corps Volunteer application form. (2) Trainee means an applicant for enrollment as a Volunteer during any period of training occurring prior to such enrollment. (3) Volunteer means an individual who has taken the prescribed oath and enrolled for service in the Peace Corps. (4) Enrollment means the act by which an individual becomes a Volunteer upon successful completion of training and taking the prescribed oath of office pursuant to Section 5 of the Peace Corps Act, 22 U.S.C. 2504. (5) Dependent means an individual for whom an applicant or Volunteer has a legal or familial obligation to provide financial support. (6) Family member means any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the applicant or Volunteer is the equivalent of a family relationship. (b) Selection. Invitations to serve in the Peace Corps are the result of a highly competitive application process. Many more individuals apply for Peace Corps Volunteer service than can be accepted. Because the Peace Corps cannot accept all eligible and qualified Applicants who wish to serve, it evaluates Applicants to select the best qualified among eligible Applicants. The Peace Corps determines Applicants’ eligibility, and assesses their relative skills, qualifications, and personal attributes, such as motivation, aptitude, fitness for service, emotional maturity, adaptability, productive competence, and ability to serve effectively as a Volunteer in a foreign country and culture. (c) Authority. Under Section 5(a) of the Peace Corps Act, 22 U.S.C. 2504(a), the President may enroll in the Peace Corps for service abroad qualified E:\FR\FM\31JYP1.SGM 31JYP1 45624 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 147 / Friday, July 31, 2015 / Proposed Rules citizens and nationals of the United States. The terms and conditions of the enrollment of Volunteers are exclusively those set forth in the Peace Corps Act and those consistent therewith which the President may prescribe. The President has delegated his authority under Section 5(a) of the Peace Corps Act to the Director of the Peace Corps pursuant to Executive Order 12137 (May 16, 1979), as amended. (d) Non-discrimination. The Peace Corps does not discriminate against any person on account of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age (40 and over), disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, parental status, political affiliation, union membership, genetic information, or history of participation in the EEO process, any grievance procedure or any authorized complaint procedure. Anyone who feels he or she has been discriminated against should contact the Office of Civil Rights and Diversity, 202.692.2139, ocrd@peacecorps.gov, Peace Corps, 1111 20th Street NW., Washington, DC 20526. (e) Failure to disclose requested information. In order for the Peace Corps to be able to make appropriate selection and placement decisions, it is critical that Applicants provide complete and accurate information throughout the application process, including information provided for a mandatory background investigation. The Peace Corps may disqualify an Applicant or separate a Volunteer or Trainee from Peace Corps service at any time if the Peace Corps determines that the Applicant, Volunteer or Trainee provided materially false, misleading, inaccurate or incomplete information during the Peace Corps application process. rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS § 305.2 Eligibility. In order to be eligible for enrollment as a Volunteer, Applicants must meet mandatory citizenship and age requirements. (a) Citizenship. The Applicant must be a citizen or national of the United States or have made arrangements to be naturalized prior to taking the oath prescribed for enrollment as a Volunteer. Such arrangements must be satisfactory to: (1) The General Counsel; and (2) The Office of Volunteer Recruitment and Selection (VRS) in the case of the standard Volunteer program, or Peace Corps Response (PCR) in case of programs managed by PCR. (b) Age. The Applicant must be at least 18 years old at the time of enrollment as a Volunteer. VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:28 Jul 30, 2015 Jkt 235001 § 305.3 Selection standards. (a) General. To qualify for selection for overseas service as a Volunteer, an Applicant must demonstrate that he or she is suitable, possessing the requisite personal and professional attributes required for Peace Corps service generally, and for the particular Volunteer assignment for which he or she is considered. The Peace Corps assesses each Applicant’s personal, professional, educational, and legal qualifications in order to select those Applicants most likely to be successful in a Peace Corps assignment, serving under conditions of hardship if necessary to achieve the goals of the Peace Corps. Meeting these qualifications does not in and of itself entitle any individual to serve in the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps endeavors to select the best qualified individuals from among all eligible Applicants. (b) Personal attributes. Applicants must adequately demonstrate the following personal attributes to Peace Corps: (1) Motivation. A sincere desire to carry out the goals of Peace Corps service, and a commitment to serve a full term as a Volunteer. (2) Productive competence. The intelligence and professional experience or educational background to meet the needs of the individual’s assignment. (3) Emotional maturity and adaptability. The maturity, flexibility, cultural sensitivity, and self-sufficiency to adapt successfully to life in another culture, and to interact and communicate with other people regardless of cultural, social, and economic differences. (4) Skills. In addition to any educational, professional or other qualifications and prerequisites that an individual must possess in order to be selected for a given assignment, a Trainee must demonstrate competence in the following areas by the end of preservice training: (i) Language. The ability to communicate effectively in the appropriate language or languages of the country of service with the fluency required to meet the needs of the overseas assignment. (ii) Technical competence. Proficiency in the technical skills needed to carry out the Trainee’s assignment as a Volunteer. (iii) Knowledge. Adequate knowledge of the culture and history of the country of assignment to ensure a successful adjustment to, and acceptance by, the host country society, as well as an appropriate understanding of the history and government of the United States PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 which qualifies the individual to represent the United States abroad. (c) Failure to meet standards. Failure to meet initial selection standards, failure to attain any of the selection standards by the completion of training, or failure to maintain these standards during service, may be grounds for deselection and disqualification from Peace Corps service. § 305.4 Medical status eligibility standard. (a) Requirements. Under the Peace Corps Act (22 U.S.C. 2504(e)), the Peace Corps is responsible for ensuring that Peace Corps Volunteers receive all necessary or appropriate health care during their service. To ensure that the Peace Corps will be capable of doing so, Applicants must be medically qualified for Peace Corps Volunteer service. An Applicant who is otherwise qualified must meet the following requirements: (1) The Applicant, with or without reasonable accommodation, removal of architectural, communication or transportation barriers, or the provision of auxiliary aids or services, must have the physical and mental capacity required to meet the essential eligibility requirements for a Volunteer. In this context, the essential eligibility requirements for a Volunteer include, without limitation, the capability to: (i) Live and work independently in an isolated location overseas at the same socio-economic level and in similar conditions as members of the community to which the Applicant is assigned; (ii) Perform the job to which the Applicant is assigned; and (iii) Complete a specified tour of service without undue disruption due to health problems. (2) The Peace Corps must be capable of providing the Applicant with such health care as the Peace Corps deems to be necessary or appropriate. (3) The Applicant must not pose a direct threat (as defined in paragraph (c) of this section). (b) Individualized assessment. In determining whether an Applicant is medically qualified, an individualized assessment is required regarding each of the requirements set forth in paragraph (a) of this section. (c) Direct threat. (1) A direct threat is a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a reasonable accommodation, removal of architectural, communication or transportation barriers, or the provision of auxiliary aids or services. (2) In determining whether an Applicant poses a direct threat, the Peace Corps will make an E:\FR\FM\31JYP1.SGM 31JYP1 rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 147 / Friday, July 31, 2015 / Proposed Rules individualized assessment based on reasonable judgment that relies on current medical knowledge or on the best available objective evidence to ascertain: (i) The nature, duration and severity of the risk; (ii) The probability that the potential injury will actually occur; and (iii) Whether reasonable accommodations, removal of architectural, communication or transportation barriers, or the provision of auxiliary aids or services will mitigate the risk. (d) Reasonable accommodation. (1) The term accommodation means modifications to the Peace Corps’ rules, policies or practices. (2) An accommodation is not reasonable if: (i) It would modify the essential eligibility requirements for a Volunteer; (ii) It would modify, among other things, the Applicant’s Volunteer assignment or the Peace Corps’ medical program in a way that would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the service, program, or activity; or (iii) It would impose an undue financial and administrative burden on the operations of the Peace Corps, including its medical program. (3) In determining whether an accommodation would impose an undue financial and administrative burden on the operations of the Peace Corps, the Peace Corps may take into account, among other things: (i) The size and composition of the Peace Corps staff at the post of assignment; (ii) The adequacy of local medical facilities and the availability of other medical facilities; (iii) The nature and cost of the accommodation compared to the overall number of Volunteers and the overall size of the Peace Corps budget; and (iv) The capacities of the host country agency and of the host community to which the Applicant would be assigned. (e) Medical status eligibility review. (1) An Applicant who is determined by medical screening staff not to be medically qualified for Peace Corps Volunteer service may request review of that decision by submitting any relevant information to the Office of Medical Services (OMS). The information submitted by the Applicant will be reviewed by a physician, and, unless the physician determines that the Applicant is medically qualified, by a Pre-Service Review Board (PSRB) composed of medical personnel in OMS and advised by the General Counsel. Procedures for such review are subject to approval by the General Counsel. VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:28 Jul 30, 2015 Jkt 235001 (2) The PSRB will include as voting members at least one physician and four other medical professionals in OMS. In any case involving review of issues involving mental health, at least one mental health professional from the Counseling and Outreach Unit will also participate as a voting member. (3) The decision of the PSRB will be reviewed by the General Counsel for legal sufficiency. Subject to that review, it will constitute the final agency action. § 305.5 Legal status eligibility standards. (a) General Requirements. The existence of an arrest or conviction record may, but will not automatically, exclude an Applicant from consideration for Peace Corps service. The Peace Corps will consider the nature of the offense, how long ago the offense occurred, whether the Applicant was acquitted of the offense, the terms of any applicable parole or probation, and other relevant facts or indications of rehabilitation. (b) Drug and alcohol related offenses. (1) An Applicant with any drugrelated conviction, with a conviction for public intoxication, driving under the influence (DUI), or driving while intoxicated (DWI), with a conviction for reckless driving after having been initially charged with DUI or DWI, or with a similar alcohol-related conviction, is not eligible to have his or her application for Peace Corps service considered until 12 months has passed from the date of the incident. (2) An Applicant who, at any time on or prior to the day of departure for Peace Corps service, is arrested for any drug offense or for public intoxication, DUI, DWI or any similar alcohol-related offense will have any pending application or invitation for Peace Corps service withdrawn. If the charges are dismissed, an Applicant whose application or invitation for Peace Corps service was terminated may immediately reapply. If the applicant is convicted of the offense, he or she may reapply after 12 months from the date of the incident. (c) Review process. An Applicant who is rejected for a Volunteer position because of an arrest or conviction may request a review of that decision by submitting any relevant information to the Associate Director of VRS. The Associate Director will review the information submitted and consult with the General Counsel. The decision of the Associate Director will be the final agency decision. The Associate Director may delegate authority to conduct such a review to another senior member of VRS, but not to the supervisor of the PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 45625 office making the original eligibility determination. (d) Subsequent application. An Applicant rejected for service due to failure to meet the legal status eligibility standard may reapply at a later date, but not sooner than 12 months after the final agency decision. § 305.6 Applicants with an intelligence background. (a) General. It has been the longstanding policy of the Peace Corps to exclude from Volunteer service any individuals who have engaged in intelligence activity or related work or who have been employed by or connected with an intelligence agency, either for a specific period of time or permanently (depending on the agency). This policy is founded on the premise that it is crucial to the Peace Corps in carrying out its mission that there be a complete and total separation of Peace Corps from the intelligence activities of the United States Government or any foreign government, both in reality and appearance. Any semblance of a connection between the Peace Corps and the intelligence community would seriously compromise the ability of the Peace Corps to develop and maintain the trust and confidence of the people of the host countries. To ensure that there is not the slightest basis for the appearance of any connection between the Peace Corps and the intelligence community, this policy contains certain temporary and permanent bars to Peace Corps service. Serious doubts about an Applicant’s connection with intelligence activities are to be resolved in favor of exclusion. (b) Definitions. For purposes of this section: (1) Intelligence activity includes any activities or specialized training involving or related to the clandestine collection of information, or the analysis or dissemination of such information, intended for use by the United States Government or any foreign government in formulating or implementing political or military policy in regard to other countries. The term intelligence activity includes any involvement in covert actions designed to influence events in foreign countries. The fact that the name of an employer or the description of a person’s work uses or does not use the term ‘‘intelligence’’ does not, in and of itself, mean that the person has or has not engaged in intelligence activity or related work. (2) Intelligence agency includes: (i) Any agency, division of an agency, or instrumentality of the United States Government that is a member of the E:\FR\FM\31JYP1.SGM 31JYP1 rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 45626 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 147 / Friday, July 31, 2015 / Proposed Rules United States Intelligence Community; and (ii) Any other agency, division of an agency, or instrumentality of the United States Government or any foreign government, a substantial part of whose mission has been determined by the General Counsel to include intelligence activities. (3) Employment, employee, or employed refer to the existence of a relationship of employer and employee, whether full-time or part-time, permanent or temporary, whether or not the individual is engaged in intelligence activity for an employer, without regard to the length of time the relationship existed or is proposed to exist, and includes individuals performing duties as volunteers, fellows, interns, consultants, personal services contractors, contractors (non-personal services contractors), and employees of contractors who were assigned to work for an intelligence agency or to engage in intelligence activities. Employees of contractors who were or are not themselves assigned to work for an Intelligence Agency or to engage in intelligence activities are not considered to have been or to be employed by an intelligence agency. (c) Employment by an intelligence agency or engagement in intelligence activities. (1) An Applicant currently or formerly employed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is permanently ineligible for Peace Corps Volunteer service. (2) An Applicant who has been employed by an intelligence agency other than the CIA is ineligible for a minimum of 10 years from the last day of employment by such intelligence agency. This bar on an Applicant who is or was employed by an intelligence agency applies whether or not the Applicant was engaged in intelligence activity for the intelligence agency. (3) An Applicant who has been engaged in intelligence activities is ineligible for service as a Volunteer for a period of 10 years from the last date on which the Applicant engaged in intelligence activities. (4) An Applicant may be ineligible for service for a period in excess of 10 years if the General Counsel determines that the Applicant’s background or work history with regard to intelligence activities warrants such action. (d) Relationship to intelligence agency or activity. (1) An Applicant whose background discloses a relationship to an intelligence agency or intelligence activity may be ineligible to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer. The term VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:28 Jul 30, 2015 Jkt 235001 relationship means any association with an intelligence agency or with an intelligence activity, if such association could be the basis for an inference or the appearance that an Applicant was engaged in an intelligence activity. The association could include, but not be limited to, one based upon a familial, personal or financial connection to an intelligence agency or with an intelligence activity. (2) Determinations of the eligibility or periods of ineligibility of such Applicants will be made by the General Counsel on a case by case basis using the criteria set forth below. Examples of the type of relationships among others that could lead to ineligibility are Applicants whose spouses, domestic partners, or parents are or were involved in actual intelligence activities, or members of the immediate family of prominent highly placed officials in an intelligence agency who might be the target of harassment or violence overseas as the result of family connections. Employment by an organization that has been funded by an intelligence agency may also lead to ineligibility. (3) In determining whether an Applicant’s relationship to an intelligence agency or intelligence activity makes the Applicant ineligible for service, or in determining the duration of any ineligibility, the General Counsel will consider the following factors as appropriate: (i) Nature of the relationship; (ii) The intelligence agency with which the Applicant has the relationship; (iii) Duration of the relationship; (iv) Length of time that has elapsed since the last connection to the intelligence agency; (v) Where the intelligence activity or work was performed; (vi) Nature of the connection with intelligence activity or work; (vii) Whether or not the intelligence activity or work involved contact with foreign nationals; (viii) Whether the connection was known or unknown to the Applicant at the time it occurred; (ix) Training received, if any; (x) Regularity of the contact with foreign nationals, and nature of duties, if any; (xi) Public knowledge of the activity or connection; (xii) Any other information which bears on the relationship of the Applicant to an intelligence agency or intelligence activity. (e) Determination. VRS is responsible for the initial screening of Peace Corps Volunteer applications for compliance PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 with the provisions of this policy. In cases where that office is unable to make a decision regarding the eligibility of an Applicant under this policy, the individual’s application will be referred to the General Counsel, who will make the determination on eligibility. (f) Appeal. VRS will inform all Applicants promptly and in writing of any decision to disqualify them based on an intelligence background and the reasons for that decision. Applicants have 15 days from the date of receipt of the letter from VRS to appeal the decision to the Director of the Peace Corps. The decision of the Director of the Peace Corps will be the final agency decision. (g) Post Peace Corps employment by United States intelligence agencies. Pursuant to agreements between the Peace Corps and certain intelligence agencies, those intelligence agencies will not employ former Volunteers for a specified period after the end of their Peace Corps service and will not use former Volunteers for certain purposes or in certain positions. Information regarding such agreements may be obtained from the Office of the General Counsel. § 305.7 Special circumstances. (a) Couples. Two Applicants who are married to one another or two unmarried Applicants who are in a same-sex or opposite-sex domestic partnership or other committed relationship are eligible to apply for service as a couple. In the case of an unmarried couple, each member of the couple must provide a signed affidavit, in a form acceptable to the Peace Corps, attesting to their domestic partnership status or committed relationship (as the case may be) and their request to be considered for assignment as a couple. In all cases, both members of the couple must apply and qualify for assignment at the same location. (b) Serving with dependents and other family members. In general, dependents and other family members may not accompany a Volunteer during service. However, the Peace Corps may from time to time make exceptions either on a case-by-case basis or for particular categories of Volunteers to the extent permitted by Federal law. (c) Military service. The Peace Corps welcomes applications from veterans, reservists, and active duty military personnel who are interested in Peace Corps service after completion of their military service. After receiving an invitation for Peace Corps service, Applicants with reserve obligations are reminded to comply with all requirements to notify their reserve E:\FR\FM\31JYP1.SGM 31JYP1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 147 / Friday, July 31, 2015 / Proposed Rules component that they will be unavailable for drills and annual training because of their Peace Corps service. Such Applicants are urged to obtain written confirmation from their reserve component that they have complied with these requirements. § 305.8 Background investigation. Section 22 of the Peace Corps Act requires that each Applicant be investigated to ensure that enrollment of the Applicant as a Volunteer is consistent with the national interest. The Peace Corps therefore obtains an appropriate background investigation for all Applicants who are invited to serve in the Peace Corps. Information revealed by the background investigation may be grounds for disqualification from Peace Corps service. Under the Peace Corps Act, if a background investigation regarding an Applicant develops any data reflecting that the Applicant is of questionable loyalty or is a questionable security risk, the Peace Corps must refer the matter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a full field investigation. The results of that full field investigation will be furnished to the Peace Corps for information and appropriate action. Dated: July 24, 2015. Alan C. Price, Associate Director, Management. [FR Doc. 2015–18789 Filed 7–30–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6051–01–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Comments and related material must be received by August 15, 2015. Requests for public meetings must be received by the Coast Guard by August 7, 2015. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by docket number using any one of the following methods: (1) Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. (2) Fax: 202–493–2251. (3) Mail or Delivery: Docket Management Facility (M–30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590–0001. Deliveries accepted between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. The telephone number is 202– 366–9329. See the ‘‘Public Participation and Request for Comments’’ portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below for further instructions on submitting comments. To avoid duplication, please use only one of these three methods. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions on this rule, call or email Lieutenant Christopher McElvaine, Marine Safety Unit Savannah Prevention Department, Coast Guard; telephone (912) 652–4353 ext.221, email Christopher.D.McElvaine@uscg.mil. If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Cheryl Collins, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone (202) 366–9826. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: DATES: Coast Guard Table of Acronyms 33 CFR Part 165 DHS Department of Homeland Security FR Federal Register NPRM Notice of proposed rulemaking [Docket Number USCG–2015–0604] RIN 1625–AA00 Safety Zone; Intermedix IRONMAN 70.3 Event, Savannah River; Augusta, GA Coast Guard, DHS. Notice of proposed rulemaking. AGENCY: ACTION: The Coast Guard proposes to establish a temporary safety zone on the waters of the Savannah River during the Intermedix IRONMAN 70.3 event on September 27, 2015. This regulation is necessary to protect the lives of the participants on the navigable waters of the Savannah River due to hazards associated with 3,600 IRONMAN athletes swimming in the Savannah River. Entry into this zone is prohibited unless specifically authorized by the Captain of the Port (COTP) Savannah or a designated representative. rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:28 Jul 30, 2015 Jkt 235001 A. Public Participation and Request for Comments We encourage you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting comments and related materials. All comments received will be posted without change to http:// www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you have provided. 1. Submitting Comments If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this rulemaking, indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation. You may submit your comments and material online at http:// www.regulations.gov, or by fax, mail, or PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 45627 hand delivery, but please use only one of these means. If you submit a comment online, it will be considered received by the Coast Guard when you successfully transmit the comment. If you fax, hand deliver, or mail your comment, it will be considered as having been received by the Coast Guard when it is received at the Docket Management Facility. We recommend that you include your name and a mailing address, an email address, or a telephone number in the body of your document so that we can contact you if we have questions regarding your submission. To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type the docket number USCG–2015–0604 in the ‘‘SEARCH’’ box and click ‘‘SEARCH.’’ Click on ‘‘Submit a Comment’’ on the line associated with this rulemaking. If you submit your comments by mail or hand delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 81⁄2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic filing. If you submit comments by mail and would like to know that they reached the Facility, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope. We will consider all comments and material received during the comment period and may change the rule based on your comments. 2. Viewing Comments and Documents To view comments, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type the docket number USCG–2015–0604 in the ‘‘SEARCH’’ box and click ‘‘SEARCH.’’ Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rulemaking. You may also visit the Docket Management Facility in Room W12–140 on the ground floor of the Department of Transportation West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. 3. Privacy Act Anyone can search the electronic form of comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review a Privacy Act notice regarding our public dockets in the January 17, 2008, issue of the Federal Register (73 FR 3316). 4. Public Meeting We do not now plan to hold a public meeting. But you may submit a request E:\FR\FM\31JYP1.SGM 31JYP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 147 (Friday, July 31, 2015)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 45620-45627]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-18789]


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PEACE CORPS

22 CFR Part 305

RIN 0420-AA26


Eligibility and Standards for Peace Corps Volunteer Service

AGENCY: Peace Corps.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: This proposed regulation would restate and update the 
requirements for eligibility for Peace Corps Volunteer service, and the 
factors considered in the assessment and selection of eligible 
applicants for training and service. The requirements and factors for 
eligibility and selection were last published in 1984. A revision of 
the regulation is necessary to conform to changes in Federal laws and 
regulations, particularly with respect to those prohibiting 
discrimination on the basis of disability, and to reflect policy 
changes made by the Peace Corps.

DATES: Comments due on or before August 31, 2015.

ADDRESSES: Address all comments to Anthony F. Marra, Associate General 
Counsel, Peace Corps, 1111 20th Street NW., Washington, DC 20526. 
Comments may also be sent electronically to the following email 
address: pcfr@peacecorps.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Colin Jones, Office of the General 
Counsel, Policy and Program Analyst, 1111 20th Street NW., Washington, 
DC 20526, and 202-692-2164.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under the Peace Corps Act (22 U.S.C. 2501 et 
seq.), the Peace Corps is authorized to enroll qualified US citizens 
and nationals as Volunteers to serve abroad, under conditions of 
hardship if necessary, (i) to help the people of interested countries 
meet their need for trained personnel, particularly in meeting the 
basic needs of those living in the poorest areas of such countries, 
(ii) to help promote a better understanding of the American people on 
the part of the people served, and (iii) to help promote a better 
understanding of other peoples on the part of the American people. The 
Peace Corps is authorized to establish the terms and conditions of 
enrollment of Volunteers, as well as the terms and conditions of 
service. The proposed rule would revise and update rules concerning 
eligibility and selection standards for Peace Corps Volunteer service, 
which were last published in the Federal Register over 30 years ago (49 
FR 38939, October 2, 1984), and entered into effect November 1, 1984, 
and currently appear at 22 CFR part 305.

Request for Comments

    The Peace Corps invites public comment on all aspects of this 
proposed rule and will take those comments into account before 
publishing a final rule.
    The proposed rule would make the following changes:
    (1) Introduction. The current introductory section (22 CFR 305.1) 
would be revised to provide new definitions for the three stages 
(Applicant, Trainee, and Volunteer) that an individual who is 
interested in service as a Volunteer passes through. It would also 
provide a definition of the term ``enrollment'', which is used in 
connection with an individual's service as a Volunteer. The section 
would include a general statement explaining the process the Peace 
Corps follows in the selection of Volunteers, as well as to provide 
notice to applicants regarding the importance of submitting complete 
and accurate information in the application process. The section would 
eliminate the recitation of the various anti-discrimination statutes 
that the Peace Corps is obligated to follow and replace it with a clear 
statement that the Peace Corps does not discriminate on various grounds 
in the selection of Volunteers. The section advises that applicants may 
be disqualified, and Volunteers and Trainees may be separated, if the 
Peace Corps determines they provided materially false, misleading, 
inaccurate or incomplete information during the Peace Corps application 
process.
    (2) Eligibility. The eligibility section (22 CFR 305.2) would be 
simplified to cover only the existing citizenship and age criteria for 
Volunteer applicants. Other eligibility factors in the current Sec.  
305.2 would be moved to succeeding sections, where they would be 
updated and expanded.
    (3) Selection Standards. A revised Sec.  305.3 would incorporate 
the selection factors that currently appear in Sec.  305.4. The 
revision would restate the current attributes that an applicant must 
meet for Volunteer service, with a little more detail. It would also 
revise the description of the various personal attributes that are 
taken into account when evaluating applicants. The revised Sec.  305.3 
would explain that the Peace Corps assesses each applicant's personal, 
professional, educational, and legal qualifications in order to select 
those applicants most likely to be successful in a Peace Corps 
assignment, serving under conditions of hardship if necessary, to 
achieve the goals of the Peace Corps. Meeting the several 
qualifications would not in and of itself entitle any individual to 
serve in the

[[Page 45621]]

Peace Corps, because the revision would state that the Peace Corps 
endeavors to select the best qualified individuals from among all 
eligible applicants.
    (4) Medical Status. The revised part 305 would create a new Sec.  
305.4 that replaces the provision on the medical qualifications of 
applicants that currently appears in Sec.  305.2. The revised section 
implements, in relation to applications for Volunteer service, Section 
504 of the Rehabilitation Act. It states that an applicant must have 
the physical and mental capacity required to meet the essential 
eligibility requirements for a Volunteer and sets out those essential 
eligibility requirements, which include the capability to (i) live and 
work independently in an isolated location overseas at the same socio-
economic level and in similar conditions as members of the community to 
which the applicant is assigned; (ii) perform the job to which the 
applicant is assigned; and (iii) complete a specified tour of service 
without undue disruption due to health problems.
    It also requires that, in order for an applicant to be medically 
qualified for Volunteer service, the Peace Corps must have the 
capability to provide necessary or appropriate health care for the 
applicant. It includes a requirement that the Peace Corps consider 
reasonable accommodations in determining whether an applicant has the 
physical and mental capacity required to meet the essential eligibility 
requirements for a Volunteer and whether the Peace Corps has the 
capability to provide necessary or appropriate health care for the 
applicant.
    A new provision provides that an applicant must not pose a direct 
threat, which is defined as a significant risk to the health and safety 
of others that cannot be eliminated by reasonable accommodation, 
removal of architectural, communication or transportation barriers or 
the provision of auxiliary aids or services.
    The proposed revisions include a requirement that an applicant's 
medical eligibility be based on an individualized assessment of the 
factors applicable to reasonable medical accommodations. An applicant 
determined not to be medically qualified for Volunteer service would 
have a right to obtain a further review of the determination by a 
physician and, ultimately, by a review panel. The review panel would 
provide an applicant, who has been medically disqualified, with an 
opportunity to have a further review of that decision. The review panel 
is currently composed of at least five people; at least one is a 
physician and four other health care professional on the staff of the 
Office of Medical Services. In any case involving review of issues of 
mental health, at least one professional staff person from the 
Counseling and Outreach Unit also participates as a voting member of 
the review panel. The decision of the review panel constitutes a final 
agency action and is not subject to further appeal.
    (5) Legal Status. A new Sec.  305.5 would change the eligibility 
qualifications for an applicant who is on parole or probation, 
currently covered in Sec.  305.2(d), and reframe the eligibility 
standard in terms the existence of an arrest or conviction record. The 
revision provides the Peace Corps with greater flexibility to consider 
the nature of the offense, how long ago the offense occurred, whether 
the applicant was acquitted of the offense, the terms of any applicable 
parole or probation, and other relevant facts or indications of 
rehabilitation. Specific standards would be established for drug and 
alcohol related offenses. An applicant rejected because of an arrest or 
conviction would have a right to have a review of the rejection by a 
more senior Peace Corps official outside of the office that made the 
original eligibility determination. It would also eliminate the 
requirement that an applicant not have any court established financial 
or other obligation that cannot be satisfied or postponed during a 
Peace Corps service period.
    (6) Intelligence Background. The Peace Corps has a longstanding 
policy to exclude from Volunteer service individuals who have engaged 
in intelligence activity or related work or who have been employed by 
or connected with an intelligence agency, either for a specific period 
of time or permanently (depending on the agency). This policy is 
founded on the premise that it is crucial to the Peace Corps in 
carrying out its mission that there be a complete and total separation 
of the Peace Corps from the intelligence activities of the United 
States Government or any foreign government, both in reality and 
appearance.
    The current regulation contains a one-sentence statement in Sec.  
305.2(e) regarding the eligibility of applicants having a background 
with an intelligence agency or intelligence activities. It refers 
applicants to provisions of the Peace Corps Manual for more details. 
The new Sec.  305.6 is intended to provide greater transparency for 
applicants regarding this policy.
    The policy covers both employment (defined broadly) by an 
intelligence agency and engagement in intelligence activities. It 
applies to an employee of an intelligence agency even if the employee 
was not engaged in intelligence activities for the intelligence agency. 
An applicant who was employed by an intelligence agency (other than the 
CIA) or engaged in intelligence activities is barred from Peace Corps 
service for a minimum of 10 years. An applicant who was employed by the 
CIA is barred from Peace Corps service permanently.
    The policy also applies to applicants whose background discloses a 
relationship to an intelligence agency or intelligence activity, but 
who was not employed by an intelligence agency or engaged in 
intelligence activities. Such a relationship might be one based on 
familial, personal or financial connections to an intelligence agency 
or intelligence activities. In these cases, the period of ineligibility 
will be determined by the General Counsel based on a number of stated 
factors.
    Serious doubts about an applicant's connection with intelligence 
agencies or activities are to be resolved in favor of exclusion. An 
applicant rejected based on an intelligence background criteria has a 
right to appeal the rejection to the Peace Corps Director.
    (7) Special Circumstances. A new Sec.  305.7 addresses special 
circumstances involving some applicants, which are now covered in Sec.  
305.2(f), (g) and (h).
    The current Sec.  305.2(f) places restrictions on Peace Corps 
Volunteer service for applicants who are married and who wish to serve 
without their spouse. These restrictions have been removed as they are 
no longer relevant to eligibility for Volunteer service. In addition, a 
new Section 305.7(a) expressly provides that two applicants who are 
married or are in a same sex or opposite sex domestic partnership or 
committed relationship may apply to serve together. This codifies in 
regulation the Peace Corps policy on placement of couples, including 
its recent policy to accept same-sex and opposite-sex couple applicants 
on an equal basis whether married, or unmarried and in a committed 
relationship/domestic partnership.
    The current Sec.  305.2(g) places restrictions on the ability of an 
applicant who has dependent children under the age of 18 to serve as a 
Peace Corps Volunteer. These restrictions have been removed because 
they are not relevant to the ability of an individual to serve as a 
Volunteer. However, a new provision has been added that generally 
prohibits dependents and other family members from accompanying a 
Volunteer during service. This provision permits the Peace Corps to 
make exceptions from time to time either on

[[Page 45622]]

a case-by-case basis or for particular categories of Volunteers to the 
extent permitted by Federal law.
    The current policy on military service obligations of applicants 
contained in Sec.  305.2(h) would continue in Sec.  305.7(c), but the 
written statement from a commanding officer would no longer be 
required.
    (8) Background Investigation. Section 22 of the Peace Corps Act 
requires that applicants be investigated to ensure that their 
assignment ``is consistent with the national interest.'' The Peace 
Corps currently satisfies this statutory requirement under Sec.  305.3, 
which requires a National Agency Check (NAC) and background 
investigation for all applicants. A NAC is a clearance conducted by the 
Federal Investigations Services of the U.S. Office of Personnel 
Management (OPM) and is the minimum clearance required for all civilian 
Federal employees.
    Peace Corps has required that Volunteer applicants be cleared 
through a NAC investigation for many years, in large part because it 
was initially the only feasible way to comply with Section 22 of the 
Peace Corps Act. However, there are now other commercial, non-
governmental investigative entities, approved by the Government 
Services Administration, which can provide equivalent clearance 
services for Volunteer applicants.
    The proposed revision of part 305 includes a new Sec.  305.8, 
replacing the current Sec.  305.3. It retains the requirement that all 
applicants accepted for training have an appropriate background 
investigation completed before they can be enrolled as Volunteers. 
However, it does not specify that the background investigation be OPM's 
Federal Investigations Services background investigation for Federal 
employment positions. This change would give Peace Corps flexibility to 
use other contractors to conduct background investigations, as well 
OPM's Federal Investigative Services.

Statement of Effects

Executive Order 12866

    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has reviewed the proposed 
regulatory action under Executive Order 12866 and has determined that 
it is a significant regulatory action within the meaning of the 
Executive Order. Consequently, the Peace Corps is providing an 
explanation of the need for the regulatory action and an assessment of 
the potential costs and benefits of the regulatory action.
    (1) Need for Regulatory Action. Under Section 5(a) of the Peace 
Corps Act (22 U.S.C. 2504(a)), the Peace Corps is entitled to enroll 
qualified citizens and nationals into Peace Corps service and is 
delegated authority to establish the terms and conditions of 
enrollment. The Peace Corps last published its terms and conditions of 
enrollment in 1984 and those rules are outdated and need to reflect 
current laws and policies that have been implemented over the past 30 
years. In addition, the structure of the current regulation needs to be 
revised to simplify the description of the information required in 
order to apply to the Peace Corps, as well as the explanation of the 
Peace Corps selection process as described in the Supplementary 
Information section.
    (2) Potential Costs and Benefits. It is difficult to precisely 
quantify the costs and benefits of the proposed regulation that is 
designed to reflect current law and regulations and to make it easier 
for American citizens to apply for service as a Peace Corps Volunteer. 
However, the Peace Corps has concluded that the current regulatory 
structure, and the accompanying application form, is seen as a 
daunting, confusing and time-consuming process, which has discouraged 
many Americans who might otherwise be interested in and well-qualified 
for Volunteer service. The proposed regulation will improve the 
possibility of the most suitable candidates being selected as a 
Volunteer, decrease the barriers to service and broaden the rights of 
applicants. This will be a substantial benefit to all Americans who 
want to serve as Volunteers, as well as being a benefit to the Peace 
Corps which is interested in creating a large, diverse pool of 
qualified, suitable candidates to serve abroad as Volunteers. The Peace 
Corps estimates that agency staff will spend less time reviewing each 
individual application, because the application itself will be shorter. 
For 2015, the Peace Corps anticipates that use of the new application 
will result in a savings of $23.16 per application, compared to the 
former application. With 22,000 expected applications for the year, the 
new application is expected to provide a savings of $509,520 resulting 
from the reduction in staff time spent reviewing applications. However, 
the agency expects that the total number of completed applications will 
increase, and that the agency will not realize immediate cost savings 
from these changes.
    The current regulation lists nine factors as relevant to the 
determination of eligibility. These factors include citizenship, age, 
medical status, legal status, intelligence background, marital status, 
dependents, military service, and failure to disclose requested 
information. This listing combines factors that are basic, clear-cut 
requirements for Peace Corps service, such as the citizenship 
requirement (under the Peace Corps Act only citizens and nationals can 
be Volunteers), along with factors that are more relevant to whether an 
applicant is suitable for Volunteer service or has the requisite 
qualifications to serve as a Volunteer, which involve more judgmental 
and situational issues. As a result, the Peace Corps has found that 
many potential applicants, after reviewing the nine requirements, make 
self-judgments that they are not eligible to apply for Volunteer 
service. In addition, the application form that had been in use until 
June 30, 2014 was over 61 Web pages long and took approximately eight 
hours to complete. This was an added deterrence to many potential 
applicants. Approximately 75 percent of the annual 40,000 individuals 
who started the application never finished it due to its length and 
density. The Peace Corps has recently introduced a new application, 
which is 9 Web pages rather than the former 61 pages. It is estimated 
that each applicant will save approximately 7 hours with the shorter 
application form. The shorter application will clearly benefit 
applicants, because it will result in a reduced paperwork burden on 
applicants. The Peace Corps estimates that the shorter application form 
will result in a savings to the public of approximately $5,840,000. 
This is based on: (i) An assumed hourly wage equivalent of $37.94 
derived from the median wage earnings, including overhead and benefits, 
for persons age 25 or over who have attained a bachelor's degree; (ii) 
the reduction of 7 hours spent on the application; and (iii) 22,000 
applications in 2015.
    The shorter application should also increase the pool of 
individuals who complete an application from the current 10,000 per 
year to over 20,000 per year. Although the Peace Corps is able to 
simplify the application form without regard to a regulatory change, 
the new regulation is needed to accurately reflect the current laws and 
policies that relate to the Volunteer selection process. The proposed 
regulatory action addresses deficiencies in the current regulation that 
have deterred potential applicants and reduced the applicant pool. The 
proposed regulation specifies only two baseline eligibility 
requirements for applying to the Peace Corps. An applicant must be a 
citizen or national of the United States and at least 18 years of age. 
The proposed regulation clearly

[[Page 45623]]

enumerates the suitability and qualification standards that are used by 
the Peace Corps in determining who should be invited to enroll as a 
Volunteer. It explains that an applicant must demonstrate suitability 
for Peace Corps service generally and for the particular assignment for 
which the applicant is being considered. It describes the medical 
qualifications that are applied, taking into account Section 504 of the 
Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
    The proposed regulation gives the Peace Corps greater flexibility 
in accepting applicants with arrest or conviction records. It provides 
a more complete description of how the Peace Corps considers applicants 
who have worked for intelligence agencies or engaged in intelligence 
activities. The current regulation merely says that an applicant with 
an intelligence background may be disqualified, without an explanation 
of the criteria for disqualification in the regulation. As a result, 
applicants may initiate and complete the lengthy application process 
only to be informed that they are not eligible for Volunteer service 
because of having worked for intelligence agencies or having engaged in 
intelligence activities. Other applicants may be deterred from applying 
because they think that any connection to an intelligence background 
disqualifies an applicant. By explaining the intelligence background 
criteria front-end, applicants will be more informed about whether they 
meet Peace Corps selection standards and whether it is worth their time 
to initiate the application process.
    The proposed regulation also reflects the new policy of the Peace 
Corps to accept same sex and opposite sex couple applicants on an equal 
basis whether married or unmarried in a committed relationship. It 
removes some of the restrictions on applicants who have dependent 
children under the age of 18. Finally, the proposed regulation 
incorporates appeal rights when an applicant has been rejected on 
grounds relating to medical status, an arrest or conviction record, or 
for having a background in intelligence activities. Any applicant in an 
expanded list of protected categories who thinks that he or she had 
been discriminated against is given the option for review and 
consideration by the Office of Civil Rights and Diversity at the Peace 
Corps. These proposed changes to the Volunteer application process will 
provide an easier, clearer, faster and more equitable and consistent 
process for potential applicants, and result in a greater number of 
well-qualified applicants available for Peace Corps Volunteer service.

Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (5 U.S.C. 605(b))

    The Director of the Peace Corps certifies that this regulatory 
action will not have a significant adverse impact on a substantial 
number of small entities. The regulation only applies to individuals 
who are interested in service as a Volunteer and has no application to 
small entities.

Unfunded Mandates Act of 1995 (Sec. 202, Pub. L. 104-4)

    This regulatory action does not contain a Federal mandate that will 
result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in 
aggregate, or by the private sector of $100 or more in any one year.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C., Chapter 35)

    This regulatory action does not contain any paperwork or 
recordkeeping requirements and does not require clearance under the 
Paperwork Reduction Act. The Peace Corps Volunteer application form for 
Volunteer service referenced in the regulation has been approved by the 
Office of Management and Budget (Control Number 0420-0005).

Federalism (Executive Order 13132)

    This regulatory action does not have Federalism implications, as 
set forth in Executive Order 13132. It will not have substantial direct 
effects on the States, on the relationship between the national 
government and the States, or on the distribution of power and 
responsibilities among the various levels of government.

Executive Order 12291

    This document is not a major rule as described in Executive Order 
12291.

List of Subjects in 22 CFR Part 305

    Aged, Citizenship and naturalization, Civil rights, Discrimination, 
Equal employment opportunity, Foreign aid, Handicapped, Health, 
Intelligence, Nondiscrimination, Political affiliation, Volunteers.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, the Peace Corps proposes 
to revise 22 CFR part 305 as follows:

PART 305--ELIGIBILITY AND STANDARDS FOR PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER 
SERVICE

Sec.
305.1 Purpose and general guidelines.
305.2 Eligibility.
305.3 Selection standards.
305.4 Medical status eligibility standard.
305.5 Legal status eligibility standards.
305.6 Applicants with an intelligence background.
305.7 Special circumstances.
305.8 Background investigation.

    Authority:  Sec. 4(b), 5(a) and 22 of the Peace Corps Act as 
amended, 22 U.S.C. 2503(b), 2504(a) and 2521; E.O. 12137, May 16, 
1979; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; E.O. 13160.


Sec.  305.1  Purpose and general guidelines.

    This part states the requirements for eligibility for Peace Corps 
Volunteer service and the factors considered in the assessment and 
selection of eligible applicants for Peace Corps Volunteer service.
    (a) Definitions. For purposes of this part:
    (1) Applicant means an applicant for enrollment as a Volunteer, who 
has completed and submitted the Peace Corps Volunteer application form.
    (2) Trainee means an applicant for enrollment as a Volunteer during 
any period of training occurring prior to such enrollment.
    (3) Volunteer means an individual who has taken the prescribed oath 
and enrolled for service in the Peace Corps.
    (4) Enrollment means the act by which an individual becomes a 
Volunteer upon successful completion of training and taking the 
prescribed oath of office pursuant to Section 5 of the Peace Corps Act, 
22 U.S.C. 2504.
    (5) Dependent means an individual for whom an applicant or 
Volunteer has a legal or familial obligation to provide financial 
support.
    (6) Family member means any individual related by blood or affinity 
whose close association with the applicant or Volunteer is the 
equivalent of a family relationship.
    (b) Selection. Invitations to serve in the Peace Corps are the 
result of a highly competitive application process. Many more 
individuals apply for Peace Corps Volunteer service than can be 
accepted. Because the Peace Corps cannot accept all eligible and 
qualified Applicants who wish to serve, it evaluates Applicants to 
select the best qualified among eligible Applicants. The Peace Corps 
determines Applicants' eligibility, and assesses their relative skills, 
qualifications, and personal attributes, such as motivation, aptitude, 
fitness for service, emotional maturity, adaptability, productive 
competence, and ability to serve effectively as a Volunteer in a 
foreign country and culture.
    (c) Authority. Under Section 5(a) of the Peace Corps Act, 22 U.S.C. 
2504(a), the President may enroll in the Peace Corps for service abroad 
qualified

[[Page 45624]]

citizens and nationals of the United States. The terms and conditions 
of the enrollment of Volunteers are exclusively those set forth in the 
Peace Corps Act and those consistent therewith which the President may 
prescribe. The President has delegated his authority under Section 5(a) 
of the Peace Corps Act to the Director of the Peace Corps pursuant to 
Executive Order 12137 (May 16, 1979), as amended.
    (d) Non-discrimination. The Peace Corps does not discriminate 
against any person on account of race, color, religion, sex, national 
origin, age (40 and over), disability, sexual orientation, gender 
identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, parental 
status, political affiliation, union membership, genetic information, 
or history of participation in the EEO process, any grievance procedure 
or any authorized complaint procedure. Anyone who feels he or she has 
been discriminated against should contact the Office of Civil Rights 
and Diversity, 202.692.2139, ocrd@peacecorps.gov, Peace Corps, 1111 
20th Street NW., Washington, DC 20526.
    (e) Failure to disclose requested information. In order for the 
Peace Corps to be able to make appropriate selection and placement 
decisions, it is critical that Applicants provide complete and accurate 
information throughout the application process, including information 
provided for a mandatory background investigation. The Peace Corps may 
disqualify an Applicant or separate a Volunteer or Trainee from Peace 
Corps service at any time if the Peace Corps determines that the 
Applicant, Volunteer or Trainee provided materially false, misleading, 
inaccurate or incomplete information during the Peace Corps application 
process.


Sec.  305.2  Eligibility.

    In order to be eligible for enrollment as a Volunteer, Applicants 
must meet mandatory citizenship and age requirements.
    (a) Citizenship. The Applicant must be a citizen or national of the 
United States or have made arrangements to be naturalized prior to 
taking the oath prescribed for enrollment as a Volunteer. Such 
arrangements must be satisfactory to:
    (1) The General Counsel; and
    (2) The Office of Volunteer Recruitment and Selection (VRS) in the 
case of the standard Volunteer program, or Peace Corps Response (PCR) 
in case of programs managed by PCR.
    (b) Age. The Applicant must be at least 18 years old at the time of 
enrollment as a Volunteer.


Sec.  305.3  Selection standards.

    (a) General. To qualify for selection for overseas service as a 
Volunteer, an Applicant must demonstrate that he or she is suitable, 
possessing the requisite personal and professional attributes required 
for Peace Corps service generally, and for the particular Volunteer 
assignment for which he or she is considered. The Peace Corps assesses 
each Applicant's personal, professional, educational, and legal 
qualifications in order to select those Applicants most likely to be 
successful in a Peace Corps assignment, serving under conditions of 
hardship if necessary to achieve the goals of the Peace Corps. Meeting 
these qualifications does not in and of itself entitle any individual 
to serve in the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps endeavors to select the 
best qualified individuals from among all eligible Applicants.
    (b) Personal attributes. Applicants must adequately demonstrate the 
following personal attributes to Peace Corps:
    (1) Motivation. A sincere desire to carry out the goals of Peace 
Corps service, and a commitment to serve a full term as a Volunteer.
    (2) Productive competence. The intelligence and professional 
experience or educational background to meet the needs of the 
individual's assignment.
    (3) Emotional maturity and adaptability. The maturity, flexibility, 
cultural sensitivity, and self-sufficiency to adapt successfully to 
life in another culture, and to interact and communicate with other 
people regardless of cultural, social, and economic differences.
    (4) Skills. In addition to any educational, professional or other 
qualifications and prerequisites that an individual must possess in 
order to be selected for a given assignment, a Trainee must demonstrate 
competence in the following areas by the end of pre-service training:
    (i) Language. The ability to communicate effectively in the 
appropriate language or languages of the country of service with the 
fluency required to meet the needs of the overseas assignment.
    (ii) Technical competence. Proficiency in the technical skills 
needed to carry out the Trainee's assignment as a Volunteer.
    (iii) Knowledge. Adequate knowledge of the culture and history of 
the country of assignment to ensure a successful adjustment to, and 
acceptance by, the host country society, as well as an appropriate 
understanding of the history and government of the United States which 
qualifies the individual to represent the United States abroad.
    (c) Failure to meet standards. Failure to meet initial selection 
standards, failure to attain any of the selection standards by the 
completion of training, or failure to maintain these standards during 
service, may be grounds for de-selection and disqualification from 
Peace Corps service.


Sec.  305.4  Medical status eligibility standard.

    (a) Requirements. Under the Peace Corps Act (22 U.S.C. 2504(e)), 
the Peace Corps is responsible for ensuring that Peace Corps Volunteers 
receive all necessary or appropriate health care during their service. 
To ensure that the Peace Corps will be capable of doing so, Applicants 
must be medically qualified for Peace Corps Volunteer service. An 
Applicant who is otherwise qualified must meet the following 
requirements:
    (1) The Applicant, with or without reasonable accommodation, 
removal of architectural, communication or transportation barriers, or 
the provision of auxiliary aids or services, must have the physical and 
mental capacity required to meet the essential eligibility requirements 
for a Volunteer. In this context, the essential eligibility 
requirements for a Volunteer include, without limitation, the 
capability to:
    (i) Live and work independently in an isolated location overseas at 
the same socio-economic level and in similar conditions as members of 
the community to which the Applicant is assigned;
    (ii) Perform the job to which the Applicant is assigned; and
    (iii) Complete a specified tour of service without undue disruption 
due to health problems.
    (2) The Peace Corps must be capable of providing the Applicant with 
such health care as the Peace Corps deems to be necessary or 
appropriate.
    (3) The Applicant must not pose a direct threat (as defined in 
paragraph (c) of this section).
    (b) Individualized assessment. In determining whether an Applicant 
is medically qualified, an individualized assessment is required 
regarding each of the requirements set forth in paragraph (a) of this 
section.
    (c) Direct threat.
    (1) A direct threat is a significant risk to the health or safety 
of others that cannot be eliminated by a reasonable accommodation, 
removal of architectural, communication or transportation barriers, or 
the provision of auxiliary aids or services.
    (2) In determining whether an Applicant poses a direct threat, the 
Peace Corps will make an

[[Page 45625]]

individualized assessment based on reasonable judgment that relies on 
current medical knowledge or on the best available objective evidence 
to ascertain:
    (i) The nature, duration and severity of the risk;
    (ii) The probability that the potential injury will actually occur; 
and
    (iii) Whether reasonable accommodations, removal of architectural, 
communication or transportation barriers, or the provision of auxiliary 
aids or services will mitigate the risk.
    (d) Reasonable accommodation.
    (1) The term accommodation means modifications to the Peace Corps' 
rules, policies or practices.
    (2) An accommodation is not reasonable if:
    (i) It would modify the essential eligibility requirements for a 
Volunteer;
    (ii) It would modify, among other things, the Applicant's Volunteer 
assignment or the Peace Corps' medical program in a way that would 
result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the service, 
program, or activity; or
    (iii) It would impose an undue financial and administrative burden 
on the operations of the Peace Corps, including its medical program.
    (3) In determining whether an accommodation would impose an undue 
financial and administrative burden on the operations of the Peace 
Corps, the Peace Corps may take into account, among other things:
    (i) The size and composition of the Peace Corps staff at the post 
of assignment;
    (ii) The adequacy of local medical facilities and the availability 
of other medical facilities;
    (iii) The nature and cost of the accommodation compared to the 
overall number of Volunteers and the overall size of the Peace Corps 
budget; and
    (iv) The capacities of the host country agency and of the host 
community to which the Applicant would be assigned.
    (e) Medical status eligibility review.
    (1) An Applicant who is determined by medical screening staff not 
to be medically qualified for Peace Corps Volunteer service may request 
review of that decision by submitting any relevant information to the 
Office of Medical Services (OMS). The information submitted by the 
Applicant will be reviewed by a physician, and, unless the physician 
determines that the Applicant is medically qualified, by a Pre-Service 
Review Board (PSRB) composed of medical personnel in OMS and advised by 
the General Counsel. Procedures for such review are subject to approval 
by the General Counsel.
    (2) The PSRB will include as voting members at least one physician 
and four other medical professionals in OMS. In any case involving 
review of issues involving mental health, at least one mental health 
professional from the Counseling and Outreach Unit will also 
participate as a voting member.
    (3) The decision of the PSRB will be reviewed by the General 
Counsel for legal sufficiency. Subject to that review, it will 
constitute the final agency action.


Sec.  305.5  Legal status eligibility standards.

    (a) General Requirements. The existence of an arrest or conviction 
record may, but will not automatically, exclude an Applicant from 
consideration for Peace Corps service. The Peace Corps will consider 
the nature of the offense, how long ago the offense occurred, whether 
the Applicant was acquitted of the offense, the terms of any applicable 
parole or probation, and other relevant facts or indications of 
rehabilitation.
    (b) Drug and alcohol related offenses.
    (1) An Applicant with any drug-related conviction, with a 
conviction for public intoxication, driving under the influence (DUI), 
or driving while intoxicated (DWI), with a conviction for reckless 
driving after having been initially charged with DUI or DWI, or with a 
similar alcohol-related conviction, is not eligible to have his or her 
application for Peace Corps service considered until 12 months has 
passed from the date of the incident.
    (2) An Applicant who, at any time on or prior to the day of 
departure for Peace Corps service, is arrested for any drug offense or 
for public intoxication, DUI, DWI or any similar alcohol-related 
offense will have any pending application or invitation for Peace Corps 
service withdrawn. If the charges are dismissed, an Applicant whose 
application or invitation for Peace Corps service was terminated may 
immediately reapply. If the applicant is convicted of the offense, he 
or she may reapply after 12 months from the date of the incident.
    (c) Review process. An Applicant who is rejected for a Volunteer 
position because of an arrest or conviction may request a review of 
that decision by submitting any relevant information to the Associate 
Director of VRS. The Associate Director will review the information 
submitted and consult with the General Counsel. The decision of the 
Associate Director will be the final agency decision. The Associate 
Director may delegate authority to conduct such a review to another 
senior member of VRS, but not to the supervisor of the office making 
the original eligibility determination.
    (d) Subsequent application. An Applicant rejected for service due 
to failure to meet the legal status eligibility standard may reapply at 
a later date, but not sooner than 12 months after the final agency 
decision.


Sec.  305.6  Applicants with an intelligence background.

    (a) General. It has been the longstanding policy of the Peace Corps 
to exclude from Volunteer service any individuals who have engaged in 
intelligence activity or related work or who have been employed by or 
connected with an intelligence agency, either for a specific period of 
time or permanently (depending on the agency). This policy is founded 
on the premise that it is crucial to the Peace Corps in carrying out 
its mission that there be a complete and total separation of Peace 
Corps from the intelligence activities of the United States Government 
or any foreign government, both in reality and appearance. Any 
semblance of a connection between the Peace Corps and the intelligence 
community would seriously compromise the ability of the Peace Corps to 
develop and maintain the trust and confidence of the people of the host 
countries. To ensure that there is not the slightest basis for the 
appearance of any connection between the Peace Corps and the 
intelligence community, this policy contains certain temporary and 
permanent bars to Peace Corps service. Serious doubts about an 
Applicant's connection with intelligence activities are to be resolved 
in favor of exclusion.
    (b) Definitions. For purposes of this section:
    (1) Intelligence activity includes any activities or specialized 
training involving or related to the clandestine collection of 
information, or the analysis or dissemination of such information, 
intended for use by the United States Government or any foreign 
government in formulating or implementing political or military policy 
in regard to other countries. The term intelligence activity includes 
any involvement in covert actions designed to influence events in 
foreign countries. The fact that the name of an employer or the 
description of a person's work uses or does not use the term 
``intelligence'' does not, in and of itself, mean that the person has 
or has not engaged in intelligence activity or related work.
    (2) Intelligence agency includes:
    (i) Any agency, division of an agency, or instrumentality of the 
United States Government that is a member of the

[[Page 45626]]

United States Intelligence Community; and
    (ii) Any other agency, division of an agency, or instrumentality of 
the United States Government or any foreign government, a substantial 
part of whose mission has been determined by the General Counsel to 
include intelligence activities.
    (3) Employment, employee, or employed refer to the existence of a 
relationship of employer and employee, whether full-time or part-time, 
permanent or temporary, whether or not the individual is engaged in 
intelligence activity for an employer, without regard to the length of 
time the relationship existed or is proposed to exist, and includes 
individuals performing duties as volunteers, fellows, interns, 
consultants, personal services contractors, contractors (non-personal 
services contractors), and employees of contractors who were assigned 
to work for an intelligence agency or to engage in intelligence 
activities. Employees of contractors who were or are not themselves 
assigned to work for an Intelligence Agency or to engage in 
intelligence activities are not considered to have been or to be 
employed by an intelligence agency.
    (c) Employment by an intelligence agency or engagement in 
intelligence activities.
    (1) An Applicant currently or formerly employed by the Central 
Intelligence Agency (CIA) is permanently ineligible for Peace Corps 
Volunteer service.
    (2) An Applicant who has been employed by an intelligence agency 
other than the CIA is ineligible for a minimum of 10 years from the 
last day of employment by such intelligence agency. This bar on an 
Applicant who is or was employed by an intelligence agency applies 
whether or not the Applicant was engaged in intelligence activity for 
the intelligence agency.
    (3) An Applicant who has been engaged in intelligence activities is 
ineligible for service as a Volunteer for a period of 10 years from the 
last date on which the Applicant engaged in intelligence activities.
    (4) An Applicant may be ineligible for service for a period in 
excess of 10 years if the General Counsel determines that the 
Applicant's background or work history with regard to intelligence 
activities warrants such action.
    (d) Relationship to intelligence agency or activity.
    (1) An Applicant whose background discloses a relationship to an 
intelligence agency or intelligence activity may be ineligible to serve 
as a Peace Corps Volunteer. The term relationship means any association 
with an intelligence agency or with an intelligence activity, if such 
association could be the basis for an inference or the appearance that 
an Applicant was engaged in an intelligence activity. The association 
could include, but not be limited to, one based upon a familial, 
personal or financial connection to an intelligence agency or with an 
intelligence activity.
    (2) Determinations of the eligibility or periods of ineligibility 
of such Applicants will be made by the General Counsel on a case by 
case basis using the criteria set forth below. Examples of the type of 
relationships among others that could lead to ineligibility are 
Applicants whose spouses, domestic partners, or parents are or were 
involved in actual intelligence activities, or members of the immediate 
family of prominent highly placed officials in an intelligence agency 
who might be the target of harassment or violence overseas as the 
result of family connections. Employment by an organization that has 
been funded by an intelligence agency may also lead to ineligibility.
    (3) In determining whether an Applicant's relationship to an 
intelligence agency or intelligence activity makes the Applicant 
ineligible for service, or in determining the duration of any 
ineligibility, the General Counsel will consider the following factors 
as appropriate:
    (i) Nature of the relationship;
    (ii) The intelligence agency with which the Applicant has the 
relationship;
    (iii) Duration of the relationship;
    (iv) Length of time that has elapsed since the last connection to 
the intelligence agency;
    (v) Where the intelligence activity or work was performed;
    (vi) Nature of the connection with intelligence activity or work;
    (vii) Whether or not the intelligence activity or work involved 
contact with foreign nationals;
    (viii) Whether the connection was known or unknown to the Applicant 
at the time it occurred;
    (ix) Training received, if any;
    (x) Regularity of the contact with foreign nationals, and nature of 
duties, if any;
    (xi) Public knowledge of the activity or connection;
    (xii) Any other information which bears on the relationship of the 
Applicant to an intelligence agency or intelligence activity.
    (e) Determination. VRS is responsible for the initial screening of 
Peace Corps Volunteer applications for compliance with the provisions 
of this policy. In cases where that office is unable to make a decision 
regarding the eligibility of an Applicant under this policy, the 
individual's application will be referred to the General Counsel, who 
will make the determination on eligibility.
    (f) Appeal. VRS will inform all Applicants promptly and in writing 
of any decision to disqualify them based on an intelligence background 
and the reasons for that decision. Applicants have 15 days from the 
date of receipt of the letter from VRS to appeal the decision to the 
Director of the Peace Corps. The decision of the Director of the Peace 
Corps will be the final agency decision.
    (g) Post Peace Corps employment by United States intelligence 
agencies. Pursuant to agreements between the Peace Corps and certain 
intelligence agencies, those intelligence agencies will not employ 
former Volunteers for a specified period after the end of their Peace 
Corps service and will not use former Volunteers for certain purposes 
or in certain positions. Information regarding such agreements may be 
obtained from the Office of the General Counsel.


Sec.  305.7  Special circumstances.

    (a) Couples. Two Applicants who are married to one another or two 
unmarried Applicants who are in a same-sex or opposite-sex domestic 
partnership or other committed relationship are eligible to apply for 
service as a couple. In the case of an unmarried couple, each member of 
the couple must provide a signed affidavit, in a form acceptable to the 
Peace Corps, attesting to their domestic partnership status or 
committed relationship (as the case may be) and their request to be 
considered for assignment as a couple. In all cases, both members of 
the couple must apply and qualify for assignment at the same location.
    (b) Serving with dependents and other family members. In general, 
dependents and other family members may not accompany a Volunteer 
during service. However, the Peace Corps may from time to time make 
exceptions either on a case-by-case basis or for particular categories 
of Volunteers to the extent permitted by Federal law.
    (c) Military service. The Peace Corps welcomes applications from 
veterans, reservists, and active duty military personnel who are 
interested in Peace Corps service after completion of their military 
service. After receiving an invitation for Peace Corps service, 
Applicants with reserve obligations are reminded to comply with all 
requirements to notify their reserve

[[Page 45627]]

component that they will be unavailable for drills and annual training 
because of their Peace Corps service. Such Applicants are urged to 
obtain written confirmation from their reserve component that they have 
complied with these requirements.


Sec.  305.8  Background investigation.

    Section 22 of the Peace Corps Act requires that each Applicant be 
investigated to ensure that enrollment of the Applicant as a Volunteer 
is consistent with the national interest. The Peace Corps therefore 
obtains an appropriate background investigation for all Applicants who 
are invited to serve in the Peace Corps. Information revealed by the 
background investigation may be grounds for disqualification from Peace 
Corps service. Under the Peace Corps Act, if a background investigation 
regarding an Applicant develops any data reflecting that the Applicant 
is of questionable loyalty or is a questionable security risk, the 
Peace Corps must refer the matter to the Federal Bureau of 
Investigation for a full field investigation. The results of that full 
field investigation will be furnished to the Peace Corps for 
information and appropriate action.

    Dated: July 24, 2015.
Alan C. Price,
Associate Director, Management.
[FR Doc. 2015-18789 Filed 7-30-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6051-01-P