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As a result of extended military engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan during the past decade, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has implemented numerous programs to support servicemembers and family members who experience difficulty handling stress, face mental health challenges, or are affected by a traumatic brain injury (TBI). As these efforts have proliferated, it has become more challenging to monitor these programs and to avoid duplication. To support DoD in this area, RAND compiled a comprehensive catalog of DoD-funded programs that address psychological health and TBI. In creating the catalog of programs, RAND recognized the need to consistently describe and compare multiple programs according to a set of core program characteristics, driven largely by the lack of a single, clear, widely-accepted operational definition of what constitutes a program. To do this, RAND developed the RAND Program Classification Tool (R-PCT) to allow users to describe and compare programs, particularly those related to psychological health and TBI, along eight key dimensions. The tool consists of a set of questions and responses for consistently describing various aspects of programs, along with detailed guidance regarding how to select the appropriate responses. The purpose of this report is to describe the R-PCT, to help potential users understand how it was developed, and to explain how the tool can be used.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Development of the RAND Program Classification Tool

  • Chapter Three

    User's Guide for Applying the RAND Program Classification Tool

  • Chapter Four

    Potential Uses of the RAND Program Classification Tool

  • Chapter Five

    Conclusions and Next Steps

  • Appendix A

    Sources Used in RAND Program Classification Tool Development

  • Appendix B

    Definitions of a "Program"

  • Appendix C

    Inter-Rater Reliability Statistics for the Application of the RAND Program Classification Tool

  • Appendix D

    Training External Raters to Use the RAND Program Classification Tool

  • Appendix E

    Glossary

This research was sponsored by the the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury. It was conducted in the Forces and Resources Policy Center, a RAND National Defense Research Institute (NDRI) program. NDRI is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the OSD, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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