The Transition of Military Veterans from Active Service to Civilian Life

April, 2021

This technical report from NATO summarises the national policies around military-to-civilian-transition of nations that participated in NATO’s Research and Technology Group, and offers insight into components of a successful transition


In every nation within NATO, service members at some point leave the military. The military-to-civilian transition is the term used to refer to the process by which service members and/or theirfamilies rejoin their civilian community. Transition out of the military includes a series ofadjustments. These include changes in location, career, relationships, family roles, support systems,social networks, community and culture. This transition has implications for post-service well-beingand functioning. Despite this little has been done to conceptualize how transition occurs, identifyfactors that promote or impede transition, or operationalize outcomes associated with transitionsuccess. Many veterans transitioning from the military to the civilian life encounter unexpectedchallenges such as finding meaningful employment, adjusting to "civilian" culture or dealing withunresolved mental and physical health issues. In this report, we present the current practices andpolicies of military-to-civilian for those nations who participated in this RTG. In addition, we alsopresent the findings of a survey of NATO nations conducted focusing on practices and policies ofNATO and non-NATO nations. Nine key principles were identified that very nation, both NATOand non-NATO nations, should consider in supporting service members and families in re-joiningtheir civilian community.

Full Reference

NATO, 2021. The Transition of Military Veterans from Active Service to Civilian Life.

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