The US Public Health Service's Commissioned Corps (PHSCC) is supposed to alleviate shortages of medical personnel in military emergencies by providing a pool of professionals ready for immediate utilization. PHSCC members, when called to service before the Persian Gulf War, won congressional postponement of their deployment. The PHSCC is a bureaucracy that survives because of an uninformed public. It has never established performance standards by which its utility might be judged. The General Accounting Office reports that replacing the PHSCC with civilians would save $130 million/yr.