Featured Military Health Policy Research

Innovative Programs to Address Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury

Sad soldier

Over the past several years, the DoD has implemented numerous programs, interventions, and other services to address the psychological health of servicemembers, including programs for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, few of the initiatives have been evaluated. RAND created a comprehensive catalog of existing efforts and a taxonomy to characterize them, as well as developed an analytic framework and set of measures to monitor and evaluate program effectiveness. RAND is also evaluating some of the most promising programs.

Defining and Measuring Family Readiness: The Deployment Life Study

Military mom placing cap on son's head

The success of military operations depends not only on the preparation of servicemembers but also on the preparation of their families, a concept referred to as “family readiness.” Recent military budgets allocate unprecedented levels of funding for a wide range of programs designed to support the health and well being of service members' families, yet family readiness remains an abstract concept. To address this issue, RAND is collecting longitudinal data from approximately 5,000 Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine families across the deployment cycle. Study results will help military policymakers design programs targeting the families most likely to need support and tailor those programs toward interventions most likely to address real needs.

Invisible Wounds of War: Estimating the Psychological Toll of Deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan

Military couple talking

In addition to physical injuries, troops are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with an array of mental and emotional scars, some of which do not manifest themselves until well after the service member has returned home. This major study collected and analyzed information about the needs of, and services for, returning military personnel with posttraumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and other mental and emotional injuries associated with deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan.

Understanding Gulf War Illnesses

Soldiers wearing gas masks during fire

Shortly after the 1991 Persian Gulf War ended, veterans of that conflict began reporting a variety of physical and psychological symptoms. RAND conducted extensive searches of available literature and assembled baseline scientific and medical information about possible causes, including wartime stress, chemical and biological warfare agents, oil well fires, and pesticides.