Cover: "If Everyone Is Responsible, Then No One Is"

"If Everyone Is Responsible, Then No One Is"

Proceedings from a Roundtable on Factors That Affect Veterans' Transitions from Military to Civilian Life

Published Dec 6, 2023

by Kayla M. Williams, Heather Marie Salazar, Carrie M. Farmer, Rajeev Ramchand

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How smoothly a service member transitions to becoming a veteran can have significant implications for their life trajectory. The RAND Epstein Family Veterans Policy Research Institute hosted the second of four veterans policy roundtables with a variety of subject-matter experts to discuss issues and propose solutions for a variety of topics across the service member and veteran life span. The discussion focused on the period spanning one year prior to one year after leaving military service.

The following four themes emerged: responsibility for transitions (participants discussed which agencies or individuals are responsible for a service member's transition, what it means to be "responsible," and the role of the individual, the family, and the country at large), transition pathways (participants agreed that each service member's transition will look different, depending on why they are leaving the military, their years of service and rank, and other factors), support mechanisms (participants explored the importance of transition support that meets a veteran's unique needs and outreach to ensure that veterans are aware of these services and how to access them), and effectiveness of transition support (the question of who is responsible for veterans' transition success makes it challenging to identify metrics for how well the transition process serves veterans' needs).

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Funding for this publication was made possible by a generous gift from Daniel J. Epstein through the Epstein Family Foundation, which established the RAND Epstein Family Veterans Policy Research Institute within RAND Education and Labor. Funding for the conference and proceedings was made possible by additional support from the Heinz Endowments.

This report is part of the RAND conference proceeding series. RAND conference proceedings present a collection of papers delivered at a conference or a summary of the conference.

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