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Support for the 21st-Century Reserve Force

Support for the 21st-Century Reserve Force: Insights to Facilitate Successful Reintegration for Citizen Warriors and Their Families

Laura Werber
Agnes Gereben Schaefer
Karen Chan Osilla
Elizabeth Wilke
Anny Wong
Joshua Breslau
Karin E. Kitchens
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    Support for the 21st-Century Reserve Force
    Book Description:

    This RAND study aimed to facilitate the successful reintegration of guard and reserve personnel after deployment. Data collected from families and resource providers offer insights on how well these personnel and their families fare after deployment, the challenges they face during that time frame, the strategies and resources they use to navigate the reintegration phase, and how to ensure that reintegration proceeds as smoothly as possible.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8199-5
    Subjects: Management & Organizational Behavior, Technology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xiii-xviii)

    Although many studies have examined the impact of deployment on military families, few have assessed the challenges that guard and reserve families experience during reintegration. This report aims to fill that gap. The goals of our research were to better understand how these families are doing,¹ the challenges they confront, the strategies and resources they use to navigate the reintegration phase of deployment, and what could be done to ensure that readjustment following deployment proceeds as smoothly as possible.

    In our study, we regarded reintegration success as a multifaceted concept. Accordingly, we focused on three different areas that we believe...

  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxix-xxx)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxxi-xxxii)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-20)

    Since 2001, the Reserve Component has been utilized at unprecedented levels to fill key operational capabilities in overseas contingencies, especially in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.¹ More than 800,000 reserve component members have been activated since September 11, 2001. As a result of these increased demands, the Reserve Component has shifted from its traditional role as a strategic reserve (used only in times of war to augment active forces) to an operational reserve in which reserve forces participate routinely in on going military missions. Consequently, many members of the Reserve Component who once served as “weekend warriors,” training one...

  10. CHAPTER TWO What Do Guard and Reserve Families Look Like?
    (pp. 21-32)

    In this chapter, we describe the families represented in our web survey and interviews, including the personal characteristics of the service members and spouses who participated in our study and their families’ attributes and deployment experiences. In doing so, we set the context for the findings presented in subsequent chapters and provide a basis for comparison to the broader Reserve Component. Although we cannot generalize from our web survey and family interviews about the full Reserve Component, it is still helpful to consider how those who participated in our study compare to the reserve component population.

    Before delving into a...

  11. CHAPTER THREE What Factors Relate to Successful Reintegration?
    (pp. 33-54)

    In this chapter, we consider what reintegration “success” means from the perspective of guard and reserve families themselves. First, we share self-reported assessments of how well reintegration has gone for service members, spouses, and children, comparing our participants with respondents to other surveys. Next, we identify family characteristics related to a favorable readjustment experience, such as family readiness for deployment, adequate communication, and comfortable family finances. We then turn our attention to families’ own explanations for why reintegration has gone well or very well and close the chapter with a discussion of the potential implications of a successful reintegration experience,...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR What Are the Main Challenges Guard and Reserve Families Face After Deployment?
    (pp. 55-80)

    As we discussed in Chapter Three, the majority of study participants reported that readjustment was going well or very well. Yet, other families in our study were less satisfied with their postdeployment experiences, and comparable data from a larger study (DMDC’s 2012 Survey of Reserve Component Spouses) were not quite as positive. Understanding the challenges faced by those who feel that reintegration has not gone well can help identify opportunities for improved reintegration support. Insights about the problems that more successful families confronted—and potentially surmounted—can be of value in this regard as well.

    Accordingly, we begin this chapter...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE What Resources Are Available to Help Guard and Reserve Families Reintegrate?
    (pp. 81-104)

    Since the beginning of military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, a large number of resource providers have emerged to support guard personnel, reservists, and their families in a variety of issues related to reintegration. ADM Michael Mullen, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has called this array of providers “a sea of goodwill.”¹ This ever-evolving constellation of resource providers comprises both governmental and nongovernmental organizations, as well as informal resources, such as family, friends, and online social networks. One of the objectives of this study was to develop a better understanding of the depth and breadth of...

  14. CHAPTER SIX What Kinds of Reintegration Support Do Guard and Reserve Families Use and Find Helpful?
    (pp. 105-120)

    This chapter describes which resources our study participants reported using, as well as their perceptions of which resources they found helpful. We begin by examining which resources our survey respondents mentioned using during deployment to prepare for reunion, then turn to our analysis of the resources our interview participants mentioned using during reintegration. Then, we report our analysis of the reunionoriented resources our survey respondents found helpful during deployment and the resources that our interview participants thought were especially helpful to them postdeployment. We also examine why our survey respondents and interview participants thought these resources were helpful.

    It is...

  15. CHAPTER SEVEN What Are the Challenges to Supporting Guard and Reserve Families?
    (pp. 121-148)

    To formulate strategies for improving support resources for guard and reserve families, it is critical to identify the barriers to supporting these families. Our study findings point to the following three overarching barriers:

    The needs of guard and reserve families are not fully understood.

    Guard and reserve families do not utilize support resources for various reasons.

    Providers face challenges in supporting these families.

    As part of the study, we sought to explore how the needs of guard and reserve families are identified and whether that process could be improved. We began by assessing DoD survey instruments to identify potential topics...

  16. CHAPTER EIGHT What Advice Do Families and Providers Offer to Ensure That Reintegration Goes Smoothly?
    (pp. 149-170)

    In our interviews, spouses and service members shared ideas about how DoD might better support guard and reserve families following deployment and offered advice for families that are about to experience the reintegration phase of deployment. Resource providers were asked to identify ways to improve coordination with other providers and ensure that reintegration proceeded smoothly for families. This chapter summarizes their answers. The responses fall into three broad categories, which we used to guide the organization of this chapter: advice for families, advice for DoD and other resource providers, and advice for DoD in its capacity as the “employer” of...

  17. CHAPTER NINE Conclusions and Recommendations
    (pp. 171-198)

    The results of our study offer insights into (1) the problems that guard and reserve families experience after deployment, (2) what factors relate to successful reintegration, (3) the web of support available to guard and reserve families during reintegration, (4) the resources that guard and reserve families use most and find helpful during reintegration, (5) the barriers to providing support to guard and reserve families during reintegration, and (6) advice that both resource providers and families would give to other guard and reserve families, resource providers, and DoD to help reintegration go more smoothly. This chapter brings together the report’s...

  18. APPENDIX A Details on the Assessment of Survey Instruments and Recommendations
    (pp. 199-204)
  19. APPENDIX B Details on the Web Survey and Interviews
    (pp. 205-210)
  20. References
    (pp. 211-216)