Cover: "This Is a Solvable Problem"

"This Is a Solvable Problem"

Proceedings from a Roundtable on Providing Support to Veterans in the Transition from Military Service to Civilian Life

Published Apr 30, 2024

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

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Although all branches invest substantial effort to train new service members and acculturate them to military life, the process of preparing service members to reenter civilian life is much less rigorous. Ongoing research could help clarify the changing needs of diverse service members and veterans as they transition and whether initiatives designed to support military-to-civilian transitions are effective. The RAND Epstein Family Veterans Policy Research Institute hosted a roundtable on November 2, 2023, to discuss how the transition from military to civilian life, in the period from one to five years after leaving military service, affects veterans.

The discussion focused on the following main themes: the definition of a successful transition to civilian life (participants discussed factors that indicate a successful transition and how these might differ among veterans), the effects of transition on spouses and families (participants addressed the importance of providing support and services to the spouses and families of veterans in the years following separation), the need for a transition support system (participants discussed the need for a centralized system that links and provides reviews on current transition support programs), and necessary policy changes to support transitioning veterans (the group identified necessary steps in relation to policy changes and the role of the federal government in transition support following separation).

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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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