Deployment:  Before, During and After

Since September 11, 2001, American military service personnel and their families have experienced a deployment cycle unlike any other time in history. The operational demands of recurring deployments to combat zones is challenging for the Service member, but that same deployment also affects each member of their family. Having a primary caretaker deployed to a war zone is among the more stressful events a child can experience. Adults dealing with their own distress are often anxious and uncertain about how to respond to their children’s emotional needs. The strain on the entire family unit can leads to complicated emotions at any stage of the deployment cycle.

Here you will find a variety of topics and resources to help before and during a deployment, as well as at homecoming.


Military families experience Deployment in different stages:

  • Pre-Deployment: Preparing to leave
  • Deployment: From departure through the first month of deployment
  • Sustainment: The months following the first month of deployment
  • Re-Deployment: The month prior to homecoming
  • Post-Deployment: Arriving at the Home Station

Military families may experience a number of reactions at each stage of deployment. For example, there are often a number of practical issues that need to be addressed prior to deployment, such as financial or childcare arrangements. Normal routines are often disrupted during deployment. Some individuals react to these decisions easier than others. Children reacting to the stress of a parent’s deployment may act out in any number of ways. Coping strategies and resources are available to help.

The Emotional Cycle of Deployment: A Military Family Perspective

This perspective describes typical reactions experienced in the five stages of deployment and offers suggestions for families about how to problem-solve issues that may arise during the deployment cycle.

Deployment Cycle Support

Deployment Cycle Support focuses on these three deployment stages: pre-deployment, re-Deployment, and post-deployment.

Deployment Resources

Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program
Service members and their families can use this Yellow Ribbon link to find nearby events and stay connected with local resources before, during and after deployments.

Department of Defense Deployment Health Clinical Center
The DoD Deployment Health Clinical Center’s, or DHCC, mission is to improve the lives of our nation’s Service members, Veterans and families by advancing excellence in psychological health disorders.