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Understanding Deployment Health Assessments

Figure 1. Deployment Health Assessment Process

Figure 1. Deployment Health Assessment Process

In order to perform at your best, it’s important for service members to be physically and mentally fit. To improve the overall health fitness of the U.S. military, the Defense Department launched a three-step health assessment for personnel deploying around the world. Taken both before and after deployment, the assessment helps you better understand your physical and psychological health through all deployment phases. It allows you to be proactive in improving and maintaining resilience during the full deployment cycle. The assessment is not just completing a form.  It is also an opportunity to see your health care provider and discuss any concerns you may have as you transition through the deployment process.

This article will help answer questions about the deployment health assessment process, including why it is important and how it can lead you to resources that can help you stay physically and mentally fit.

What is the deployment health assessment program?

The deployment health assessment program was created to strengthen the fitness and well-being of the U.S. military. The assessments help health care providers support the care of service members by identifying their needs before, during and after deployment. If a health concern is identified, such as PTSD, depression, or other conditions, a health care provider can direct you to proper care resources.

Who has to complete the health assessments?

Service members have to complete the pre- and post-deployment health assessments if you are:

  • Deployed active duty
  • Deployed member of the National Guard or reserve
  • Deploying outside of the U.S. to a location without a medical treatment facility (MTF) for more than 30 days

You may still need to take deployment health assessment if you deploy for less than 30 days, depending on the combatant commander, service commander or commander holding operational control.

What are the parts of the deployment health assessment program?

The three-part program includes the pre-deployment health assessment, post-deployment health assessment (PDHA) and the post-deployment health reassessment (PDHRA). Figure 1 shows the entire deployment health cycle and when each part takes place.

What happens at the health assessments?

Pre-Deployment Health Assessment

  • Complete DD Form 2795
  • Meet with a health care professional to assess ability to deploy
  • Receive immunizations, supply of medicine and medical tags
  • Given to all service members deploying OCONUS for more than 30 days.
  • DD Form 2795 needs to be completed and validated within 120 days of deployment.

Post-Deployment Health Assessment (PDHA)

  • Complete DD Form 2796
  • Assesses overall health after returning from a deployment
  • Given in-theater or within 30 days of returning home

Post-Deployment Health Reassessment (PDHRA)

  • Complete DD Form 2900
  • Required for all redeployed individuals that completed form 2796 (PDHA)
  • Confidential, one-on-one discussion with a health care provider
  • Focuses on psychological health
  • Given 90-180 days after returning to a home station
  • Screens for concerns that have emerged since deployment or that may emerge over time following deployment

Why do I need to do all three assessments?

Completing all three assessments provides an opportunity to review your physical and psychological health before and after a deployment. Assessments are given at all stages of the deployment cycle to make sure that you maintain good health. Through assessments, health professionals can help you identify and provide care for any changes, challenges or concerns you may be facing. Identifying health concerns early can help you cope with concerns that could – if ignored – negatively affect your deployment status, career or personal health.

Why is it important that I provide honest feedback?

Early action greatly assists successful treatment, and can benefit you, your family and your unit.

  • You:
    • Identify and seek care for physical and psychological health concerns before they worsen.
    • Identify possible symptoms of larger concerns like: minor aches and pains, anxiety or sleeplessness.
    • Get referrals to health care and community support services.
  • Your family:
  • Your unit:
    • Be fully mission-ready for your leaders, buddies and fellow warriors!

For more information about the deployment health assessment process or its phases, visit PDHealth.

Reaching Out Is a Sign of Strength

If you’re feeling stressed about your deployment health assessments or psychological health, the Psychological Health Resource Center is available at 866-966-1020 or through Real Warriors Live Chat. Trained health resource consultants are available for free 24/7 to help you find resources.

Additional Resources


  • Deployment Health,” [PDF 229 KB] Defense Department Instruction 6490.03. Published Aug. 11, 2006; Certified current Sept. 30, 2011.
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