It is important to consider how the concept of transitioning between the military and civilian worlds may evolve in the future. A one-time transition for which service members begin planning at the end of their military careers may become a thing of the past. The future of the military appears to be trending toward more fluidity between the military and the civilian workforce, in order to leverage skills from both sectors in a more cohesive and collaborative manner (Batka 12).
Innovative ideas, such as fellowships in private-sector companies for active-duty service members and the lateral entry of civilians with specialized skills into the military, have been raised in stakeholder circles and are beginning to be implemented on a small scale (Batka 12). Additionally, the continuation of service initiative is facilitating easier transitions between the active and reserve components, providing service members with more flexibility in their military careers and access to civilian employment opportunities while preserving military training investments.Finally, service members are increasingly encouraged to begin planning for their transition to the civilian workforce earlier in their military careers—even at entry. “Transition” between the military and the civilian workforce may not only become more fluid, but it could also occur more than once in an individual’s career. These potential trends make research to support successful transitions even more critical.
Efforts to improve civilian employment opportunities for veterans have made great strides in recent years. The next phase of veteran employment research will fill current knowledge gaps, identify new approaches to effectively support transitioning service members and veterans, and provide the data for transitioning service members, veterans, employers, and policymakers to make informed decisions and optimize employment outcomes (Batka 12).