[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 129 (Thursday, July 5, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 39627-39629]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-16420]


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DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Office of the Secretary

32 CFR Part 239

[DOD-2009-OS-0090; RIN 0790-AI83]


Homeowners Assistance Program--Application Processing

AGENCY: Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and 
Logistics, Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense 
(Installations and Environment), DoD.

ACTION: Direct final rule.

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SUMMARY: This direct final rule makes non-substantive changes to the 
Expanded Homeowners Assistance Program (HAP) rule. The Expanded HAP, 
authorized in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for 2009 
(``the Act''), provided much needed assistance to military and civilian 
employees, and spouses of military members who died in the line of 
duty. However, the Expanded HAP eligibility criteria established in the 
Act, including those criteria that were subsequently changed through 
administrative rulemaking procedures, did not establish a deadline for 
when applications must be submitted to DoD. These changes inform 
applicants of application deadlines and the current field office 
address for submitting applications. These changes do not impact the 
eligibility criteria or other policies and procedures prescribed in the 
rule.

DATES: This direct final rule is effective September 4, 2012 unless 
Agency receives significant adverse comments by midnight Eastern 
Standard Time on August 6, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Phyllis Newton, 703-571-9060.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Due to funding limitations, in the Expanded 
HAP Final Rule, the Permanent Change of Station (PCS) eligibility 
criterion date for when PCS orders needed to be issued was changed from 
September 30, 2012, to September 30, 2010, but the Final Rule retained 
the September 30, 2012, date for when the house must be sold. In 
accordance with the Act, the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) 2005 
eligibility criterion will terminate on September 30, 2012, a full year 
after implementation of the BRAC 2005 round. It is appropriate to 
establish application deadlines for Expanded HAP benefits for the PCS 
and BRAC 2005 categories. To that end, this rule will amend 32 CFR part 
239 by adding two paragraphs to Section 239.9(a) to establish the 
application deadlines. This change does not eliminate anyone's 
eligibility; rather it simply requires filing of applications in a 
timely manner. Submission of the applications by the specified 
deadlines is sufficient even if further documentation is required.
    Additionally, the amendment will revise the HAP Field Office 
address for the submission of HAP applications. The three former field 
offices were consolidated into one field office in Savannah, Georgia.
    The prompt implementation of the Direct Final Rule is of critical 
importance. Due to the current economic climate, continuing the 
Expanded HAP provisions for PCS and BRAC 2005 categories is no longer 
viable. This Direct Final Rule makes nonsubstantive changes to the 
Expanded HAP rule. These changes inform applicants of application 
deadlines and the current field office address for submitting 
applications. These changes do not impact the eligibility criteria or 
other policies and procedures prescribed in the rule.
    Additionally, the Department of Defense has determined that these

[[Page 39628]]

changes to the final rule are exempt from public comment as the 
application deadline is the same as the program termination deadline 
for the Expanded HAP that was previously established and codified in 
the final rule and the change of address for the field office is an 
administrative change.

Direct Final Rule and Significant Adverse Comments

    DoD has determined this rulemaking meets the criteria for a direct 
final rule because it involves nonsubstantive changes dealing with 
DoD's management of its Expanded HAP. DoD expects no opposition to the 
changes and no significant adverse comments. However, if DoD receives a 
significant adverse comment, the Department will withdraw this direct 
final rule by publishing a notice in the Federal Register. A 
significant adverse comment is one that explains: (1) Why the direct 
final rule is inappropriate; or (2) why the direct final rule will be 
ineffective or unacceptable without a change. A significant adverse 
comment is not a comment that addresses the order of application 
processing, the ten percent home value loss, and the date of home 
purchase. In determining whether a comment necessitates withdrawal of 
this direct final rule, DoD will consider whether it warrants a 
substantive response in a notice and comment process.

Executive Summary

I. Purpose of the Regulatory Action

    a. The Expanded Homeowners Assistance Program (HAP), authorized in 
the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (``the Act''), 
provided much needed assistance to military and civilian employees, and 
spouses of military members who died in the line of duty. However, the 
Expanded HAP eligibility criteria established in the Act, including 
those criteria that were subsequently changed through administrative 
rulemaking procedures, did not establish a deadline for when 
applications must be submitted to DoD. Based on reductions in the 
Defense budget in Fiscal Year 2012 and beyond, continuing the Expanded 
HAP provisions for Permanent Change of Station (PCS) and Base 
Realignment and Closure (BRAC) 2005 categories is no longer viable. In 
the Expanded HAP Final Rule, the PCS eligibility criterion date was 
changed from September 30, 2012, to September 30, 2010, due to funding 
limitations. However, the Department continues to receive more than 100 
eligible applications per month for the PCS category. Per the Act, the 
BRAC 2005 eligibility criterion will terminate on September 30, 2012, a 
full year after the statutory completion of the BRAC 2005 round. It is 
now time to establish application deadlines for Expanded HAP benefits 
for the PCS and BRAC 2005 categories. To that end, this rule will amend 
32 CFR part 239 by adding two paragraphs to Section 239.9(a) to 
establish the application deadlines.
    b. 42 United States Code, Section 3374, as amended.

II. Summary of the Major Provisions of the Regulatory Action in 
Question

    The HAP Rule, Section 239.9(a) will be amended to add application 
deadlines for the submission of PCS and BRAC 2005 benefits. This change 
does not eliminate anyone's eligibility; rather it simply requires 
filing of applications in a timely manner. Submission of the 
applications by the specified deadlines is sufficient even if further 
documentation is required. Additionally, the amendment will revise the 
HAP Field Office address for the submission of HAP applications. The 
three former field offices were consolidated into one field office in 
Savannah, Georgia.

III. Costs and Benefits

    There is no cost to the public. The Department of Defense 
administrative costs for implementation of the authorities under this 
rule are eight (8) percent of the funds appropriated to execute the 
Expanded HAP. Workload will be accomplished with additional staffing 
and be integrated into normal business.

Regulatory Procedures

Executive Order 12866, ``Regulatory Planning and Review'' and Executive 
Order 13563, ``Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review''

    It has been determined that this rule is a significant regulatory 
action.
    This rule does not:
    (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, 
or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the 
economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public 
health or safety, or State, local or tribal governments or communities; 
(2) Create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an 
action taken or planned by another agency; or
    (3) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal 
mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in 
these Executive Orders.
    This rule does:
    Materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user 
fees, or loan programs, or the rights and obligations of recipients 
thereof.
    OMB has reviewed this rule.

Sec. 202, Pub. L. 104-4, ``Unfunded Mandates Reform Act''

    It has been certified that 32 CFR part 239 does not contain a 
Federal mandate that may result in expenditure by State, local and 
tribal governments, in aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 
million or more in any one year.

Public Law 96-354, ``Regulatory Flexibility Act'' (5 U.S.C. 601)

    It has been certified that 32 CFR part 239 is not subject to the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601) because it would not, if 
promulgated, have a significant economic impact on a substantial number 
of small entities.

Public Law 96-511, ``Paperwork Reduction Act'' (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35)

    It has been certified that this rule does impose additional 
reporting or recordkeeping requirements under the Paperwork Reduction 
Act of 1995. The HAP Application is approved under OMB Control Number 
0704-0463.

Executive Order 13132, ``Federalism''

    It has been certified that 32 CFR part 239 does not have federalism 
implications, as set forth in Executive Order 13132. This rule does not 
have substantial direct effects on:
    (1) The States;
    (2) The relationship between the National Government and the 
States; or
    (3) The distribution of power and responsibilities among the 
various levels of Government.

List of Subjects in 32 CFR Part 239

    Government employees; Grant programs--housing and community 
development; Housing; Military personnel.

    Accordingly, 32 CFR part 239 is amended as follows:

PART 239--[AMENDED]

0
1. The authority citation for part 239 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 42 U.S.C. 3374, as amended.


0
2. Section 239.9 is amended by adding paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) to read 
as follows:


Sec.  239.9.  Application processing procedures.

    (a) * * *
    (1) Applications for benefits by members of the Armed Forces due to 
eligibility pursuant to Sec.  239.6(a)(4) of

[[Page 39629]]

this part because of permanent reassignment must be submitted directly 
to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers field office identified in Sec.  
239.15 of this part by U.S. Mail or commercial delivery service, and 
must be postmarked or deposited with the commercial delivery service no 
later than September 30, 2012. Applications postmarked or deposited 
after September 30, 2012, will not be accepted.
    (2) Applications of eligible personnel for benefits due to 
eligibility pursuant to Sec.  239.6(a)(3) of this part because of BRAC 
2005 must be submitted directly to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
field office identified in Sec.  239.15 of this part by U.S. Mail or 
commercial delivery service, and must be postmarked or deposited with 
the commercial delivery service no later than September 30, 2012. 
Applications postmarked or deposited after September 30, 2012, will not 
be accepted.
* * * * *

0
3. Section 239.15 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  239.15.  List of HAP Field Offices.

HAP FIELD OFFICE

    U.S. Army Engineer District, Savannah, Corps of Engineers, Attn: 
CESAS-RE-HM, 100 West Oglethorpe Avenue, Savannah, Georgia 31401-3604, 
1-800-861-8144, Internet Address: http://www.sas.usace.army.mil.

HAP CENTRAL OFFICE

    Homeowners Assistance Program, HQ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Real 
Estate Directorate, Military Division, 441 G Street NW., Washington, DC 
20314-1000.

    Dated: June 29, 2012.
Patricia L. Toppings,
OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
[FR Doc. 2012-16420 Filed 7-3-12; 8:45 am]
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