The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been the longest sustained U.S. military operations since the Vietnam era, sending more than 2.2 million troops into battle, and resulting in more than 6,600 deaths and 48,000 injuries. While many service members return home relatively unscathed and report rewarding experiences, others return with varied complex health conditions and find that readjusting to life at home, reconnecting with family, finding work, or returning to school is an ongoing struggle. The urgency to alleviate these health, economic, and social issues is heightened by the number of people affected, the rapid drawdown of military personnel from Iraq and Afghanistan, and the long-term effects for service members, veterans, their families, and the nation.
The IOM was asked to study veterans’ physical and mental health, as well as other readjustment needs. Following its phase one report, this report presents the IOM’s comprehensive assessment of the physical, psychological, social, and economic effects of deployment on service members, veterans, their families, and their communities.