Preparation and Reintegration of Military Reservists: What Reservists Expect from their Civilian Employers
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Military reserves, once principally responsible for responding to domestic state and federal issues, now comprise nearly half of the total strength of the US military and regularly deploy and serve in combat situations. Upon completion of deployment, reservists must reintegrate into civilian life. While the military has programs to facilitate reintegration, access to those programs is limited in scope and time after reservists return from deployment. Consequently, reservists often look to their civilian employers to provide reintegration assistance. Purpose: This research seeks to identify the key categories of assistance military reservists expect to receive from their civilian employers pre-, during, and post-deployment. Method: This research utilizes focus groups and a survey questionnaire to identify key categories of assistance military reservists expect. A focus group comprised of military reservists with deployment experience identified categories of assistance that would aid in reintegration. The categories of assistance were derived from a review of scholarly literature and patterned after categories of assistance used in full-time military reintegration programs. The focus group input informed a survey questionnaire that was distributed electronically to military reservists. A total sample of n=38 survey questionnaire responses were received. Findings: The results of the research indicate three main findings. First, military reservists expect health, spiritual, financial, and community outreach related assistance from their civilian employers. Of these, reservists expect community outreach assistance the most, with 76% of the respondents indicating that civilian employers should provide related assistance specifically with education, networking, and access to local resources. Second, the results show that military reservists do not need access to legal assistance. Finally, the results indicate that that civilian employers should provide reservists and their families with a liaison to assist with whatever needs might arise.