Military to Civilian Readiness: The Past, Present, and Future of the Transition Process

March 2020
Topics: Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health and Benefits Modernization

Transitioning from active military duty back into civilian life is a common and expected part of the lives of those who serve in the military. Yet returning to civilian life often creates unique challenges. Research shows that comprehensive support for service members and veterans during the transition back into civilian life is critical for veteran short- and long-term well-being and success. Too often transitioning service members and veterans face difficulties learning about and accessing the robust benefits and services they have earned.

This research paper, authored by MITRE, outlines the current state of the transition process for members of the military and discusses support options available through the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The transition process is defined as the time frame 365 days pre-separation to 365 days post-separation. This length of time is defined as the critical time frame to facilitate a seamless shift to civilian life.

Drawing from interviews and focus groups with veterans, as well as scholarly research about the transition process, the paper describes existing gaps in the transition process and changes currently in progress to remedy key gaps. Finally, the paper describes a research agenda that may help address knowledge gaps and support future improvements to ensure a holistic approach to service member transition. 

View the Paper on the Veterans Benefits Administration website

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