Within the framework of the three-dimensional linearized theory of stability of deformable bodies (TLTSDB), the near-surface buckling instability of a system consisting of a half-plane (substrate), a viscoelastic bond layer, and an elastic covering layer is suggested. The equations of the TLTSDB are obtained from the three-dimensional geometrically nonlinear equations of viscoelasticity theory by using the boundary-form perturbation technique. By employing the Laplace transform, a method for solving the problem is developed. It is supposed that the covering layer has an insignificant initial imperfection. The stability of the system is considered lost if the imperfection starts to increase and grows indefinitely. Numerical results for the critical compressive force and the critical time are presented.