Calls of Duty
America Weighs Its Obligations to Veterans and Their Families
AP IMAGES/THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT, BILL TIERNAN
Members of the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army listen to President Barack Obama at the Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton, Virginia, on October 19, 2011. With First Lady Michelle Obama at his side, he praised companies that have promised to hire 25,000 veterans or military spouses within two years, calling it a sign of patriotism and business savvy.
First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden are leading the Joining Forces initiative to offer support and opportunities to U.S. military servicemembers and their families. In his State of the Union message in January, President Barack Obama proposed a Veterans Jobs Corps that would help communities hire veterans as cops and firefighters. What follows are some of the ways in which RAND research can help to ensure that the newest generation of veterans receives the health care, employment and education opportunities, and other benefits that it has earned.
By Rajeev Ramchand, RAND behavioral scientist
Between 2001 and 2009, the suicide rate among active-duty U.S. personnel nearly doubled, rising from 10 to 18 per 100,000 and underscoring the need to identify those at risk and improve their access to high-quality suicide-prevention programs.
By Katherine E. Watkins, RAND senior natural scientist
Mental health services delivered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depression, and substance use disorders are usually as good as or better than those delivered by private health plans.
By Robin M. Weinick, associate director of RAND Health
In addition to clinical care and chaplaincy services, the U.S. Department of Defense sponsors 211 programs to help U.S. servicemembers and their families deal with PTSD, major depression, and traumatic brain injury.
By Terry L. Schell, RAND senior behavioral scientist, and Terri Tanielian, director of the RAND Center for Military Health Policy Research
Most veterans do not use the VA as their primary source of health care. Many have private, employer-sponsored health insurance, and veterans may find private providers to be more conveniently located or preferable for some other reason.
By Paul Heaton, director of research at the RAND Institute for Civil Justice
Both major U.S. political parties have supported tax credits for businesses that hire unemployed veterans, culminating in the November 2011 passage of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act.
By Jennifer L. Steele, RAND education policy researcher
Delayed and erroneous payments plagued the early implementation of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, formally known as the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008.
By Anita Chandra and Laura L. Miller, RAND behavioral/social scientists, and Amy Richardson, RAND policy researcher
Surveys of military spouses have shown that their lives change dramatically during moves and deployments.