Accession Number:



The Air Force Deployment Transition Center: Assessment of Program Structure, Process, and Outcomes

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Research Report]

Corporate Author:

RAND Corporation

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Following the Falklands War in 1982, United Kingdom military personnel returned from their deployments in one of two ways entirely by sea or by a combination of sea and air travel. Those who returned entirely by sea had journeys that were one week longer than those who split their mode of travel. Press reports at the time suggested that those who spent longer getting home had better psychological outcomes than those who made the trip more quickly. Although outcome data to substantiate that claim have never surfaced, the narrative has entered into legend and is widely cited in support for providing decompression time between a war zone and home station. Today, with the ubiquity of air travel, it is possible for service members to leave an active conflict zone and be greeted by their families within a matter of hours. Would these servicemembers have better outcomes if they had more decompression time before returning to friends, families, and civilian settings To capitalize on the potential benefits of a decompression period paired with support services, the U.S. Air Force established the Deployment Transition Center DTC at Ramstein Air Base in Germany in July 2010. The DTC provides airmen returning home from combat missions with an opportunity to decompress and share lessons learned before returning to their home stations. The program length is four days, during which service members receive an opportunity to debrief with fellow airmen and structured reintegration support during group sessions. During this time, DTC participants are encouraged to get adequate rest, and DTC staff handle such details as transportation arrangements to remove as many inconveniences and stressors as possible.


Subject Categories:

  • Psychology

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]