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Use of the Guard and Reserve has steadily increased since the first Gulf War in the early 1990s, and this trend is likely to continue as the Global War on Terror persists. Previous research on how deployments affect military families has focused almost exclusively on the Active Component; however, demographic differences between active component and reserve component families suggest that the latter may face different issues during deployment and consequently require different types of support. Castaneda et al. interviewed military family experts and guard and reserve service members and spouses about topics including family readiness for deployment, the problems and positives associated with deployment, family coping, resources used by these families for deployment support, and service member military career intentions. The authors analyzed data from over 600 interviews to provide a better understanding of the major issues faced by guard and reserve families, how they vary among families who differ demographically, and how they may relate to military career intentions. Castaneda et al. conclude with suggestions on how the Department of Defense can better support guard and reserve families, noting that such efforts can both promote general family well-being and increase service member readiness and retention.

The research described in this report was prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted in the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the OSD, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

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