Cover: Methods and Actions for Improving Performance of the Department of Defense Disability Evaluation System

Methods and Actions for Improving Performance of the Department of Defense Disability Evaluation System

Published May 8, 2002

by Cheryl Y. Marcum, Robert M. Emmerichs, Jennifer Sloan McCombs, Harry J. Thie


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The Disability Evaluation System (DES) is a management tool used by the Department of Defense to determine the disposition of a service member who has a medical condition that calls into question the member's ability to perform his or her duties. The DES exists to evaluate service members with such medical conditions, remove those unable to fulfill their duties, and determine a disability rating for those who are removed. This book focuses on four major research tasks related to improving system performance: developing a basis for assessing DES outcomes, identifying issues of variability in DES policy application, conducting a DES training analysis and presenting recommended changes, and developing a method for continuously monitoring DES performance. As part of their findings, the authors constructed a set of desired system outcomes and from that framework suggest comprehensive training and information management interventions to improve overall system performance. The authors also identify groups of primary DES participants and outline the specific bodies of knowledge and skills the participants require to execute disability policy consistently throughout the military departments.

The research described in this report was performed under the auspices of RAND's National Security Research Division.

This report is part of the RAND monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of RAND from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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