cohort study that could provide a model for a long-term tracking system of the health of veterans of military conflict. It is appropriate that the research described in that report fall within the purview of the National Center and become a cornerstone for its longitudinal monitoring efforts.

Given the numerous and varied data relevant to research on deployment-related health, the National Center should develop a process by which these data can be identified, inventoried, and described. Such activity will foster the effective use of these data.

Funding the National Center

The research issues involved in deployment-related health are complex and require long-term commitment if productive results are to be achieved. Significant funding resources will be needed for the National Center core activities, Governing Board, and Center-initiated research. The Center should propose a budget detailing the resources needed, and this budget should be a line item in the budget of the MVHCB. The Center Should include such budget information in its annual report to Congress in order to provide that body with information about the functioning and productivity of the Center. Therefore, the committee recommends that the National Center should have a clear and distinct budget for its core activities and its Center-initiated research. Further, this budget should be a line item in the budget of the MVHCB.

CONCLUSION

Many have begun to ask whether there are health consequences of service in military conflicts beyond the obvious war injuries and, if so, whether there are ways to prevent or at least mitigate the consequences of war-related illnesses and deployment-related health effects. Congress directed that the Department of Veterans Affairs contract with the National Academy of Sciences to assist in developing plans for a national center (or centers) for the study of war-related illnesses and postdeployment health issues that could focus research on answering these questions.

The committee has recommended the establishment of a National Center for Military Deployment Health Research, to be governed by an independent board composed of representatives of the scientific community, the veterans' community, and relevant federal agencies. Such a center would provide an opportunity to gather together the results of many individual efforts, to analyze and synthesize what this research can reveal, and to move the nation forward in ways that will help and protect those individuals who will participate in future deployments.

The committee urges that the recommendations in this report be implemented as rapidly as possible in order to gain much-needed knowledge about how best to protect and treat the men and women who participate in military deployments.



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