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Exposure to trauma and the multiple ways that such exposure manifests are a concern within the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC). Moreover, the IC has only a limited understanding of the symptoms of various types of trauma and the strict parameters that should surround discussions about trauma and mental health within the IC.

The need for the IC to support its employees who are exposed to trauma within their workplace — whether deployed or at headquarters — is not simply an ethical obligation to provide for employees' well-being: Failure to meet this need could negatively affect the quality of work and the retention of qualified personnel within the IC. The IC would benefit from a concerted effort to consider these issues by learning more about the community's needs, identifying best practices, and initiating programs to meet the workforce's needs.

This research was sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and conducted within the Forces and Resources Policy Center of the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD).

This commentary is part of the RAND expert insight series. RAND Expert Insights present perspectives on timely policy issues. All RAND Expert Insights undergo peer review to ensure high standards for quality and objectivity.

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