Standards for Military Family Readiness programs

2020 Edition

Military Lifestyle Support and Education (MIL-MLSE) 5: Deployment Assistance

The MFR program provides all mobilizing, activating, and deploying Service members and their families with services and support during all phases of deployment.


This standard applies to all federal mobilizations, activations, or deployments of a qualifying length as set forth in applicable policy, including those happening as a unit or as an individual augmentee.

2020 Edition




Customers acquire the tools and resources needed to effectively navigate the military lifestyle, improve individual and family functioning, and promote positive adjustment and military family readiness. 
Note: Reserve Component MFR programs may provide portions of deployment assistance through implementation of, or participation in, the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program (YRRP). See the MIL-MLSE 5 practice standards below for more detailed information on how YRRP and the MFR program work together to meet the deployment-related needs of customers.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the programs’ practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions; exceptions do not impact service quality and/or overall performance.
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance 
A rating of (2) indicates that a programs’ infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement. The majority of the standard's requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented.  Minor inconsistencies and practices that are not fully developed are noted, however, these do not significantly impact service quality and/or overall performance.
Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that significant aspects of the programs’ observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement. The program has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework. Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  Service quality or program functioning may be compromised. Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation and Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all. Observed infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.

Please see Rating Guidance for additional rating examples. 
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
No Self-Study Evidence
  • See description of deployment assistance supports provided by the MFR program, including how the MFR program supports YRRP events when applicable, submitted in the Service Narrative (MIL-MLSE 5.01, MIL-MLSE 5.02, MIL-MLSE 5.03, MIL-MLSE 5.04, MIL-MLSE 5.05)
  • See the training schedule submitted in MIL-MLSE 3 for a schedule of deployment related classes, activities, or events offered to customers (include those offered directly by the MFR program as well as those for which the MFR program is a participant) (MIL-MLSE 5.02, MIL-MLSE 5.03)
  • Outreach strategies for identifying and engaging prospective customers (MIL-MLSE 5.03)
  • Deployment programming curricula and related informational materials/ resources provided to customers by the MFR program (MIL-MLSE 5.04, MIL-MLSE 5.05)


MFR staff responsible for providing deployment assistance services are aware of the potential circumstances surrounding deployment, and tailor materials and service delivery methods to meet identified needs. 


Examples of appropriate considerations include: 
  1. whether the deployment is outside the continental US; 
  2. previous experience with deployments;
  3. family status; 
  4. the age of the children in the home; 
  5. whether it is the unit’s first deployment; 
  6. whether the deployment is occurring as part of a unit or as an individual augmentee; and
  7. whether the deployment is occurring as part of an Active Duty or Reserve Component unit.

 Activated Reservists may experience deployment differently than active duty military due to their geographic isolation; limited relationship with other Service members, military families, and installation-based supports and services; and the transition from reserve status to active duty. Surveys of Reserve Component families find that they would appreciate earlier and more frequent pre-deployment briefings to assist with the adjustment as well as more detailed information on available military and civilian resources.


The MFR program initiates deployment assistance services promptly so that customers have adequate time to participate and respond to the information that they receive.


There is ongoing outreach, communication, activities, and events with deploying and deployed units, Service members, and the families of deployed individuals throughout all phases of deployment.

Research has found isolation to be a key factor in poor adjustment to the separation.


The MFR program provides information on the following topics, either directly or by referral, as appropriate to the customer's needs and the phase of deployment:
  1. the typical length of each deployment phase;
  2. changes in roles and responsibilities before, during, and after deployment; 
  3. communication maintenance issues and technology for staying in touch; 
  4. stress and anger management strategies;
  5. suicide prevention and behavioral health screenings, intervention, and treatment;
  6. medical and dental benefits;
  7. legal assistance;
  8. personal security and/or safety;
  9. practical suggestions for reducing loneliness and isolation; 
  10. coping skills; 
  11. available services and supports and how to access them;
  12. reintegration into their community;
  13. interpersonal skills in marriage and parenting; and 
  14. financial management before, during, and after deployment. 


When training and educational programs are coordinated exclusively by the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program (YRRP), implementation of this standard will be rated based on the MFR program’s support of YRRP events. Examples of ways the MFR program supports YRRP events include, but are not limited to: (1) facilitating access to YRRP events via outreach and information and referral activities; (2) presenting on MFR services and supports at YRRP events upon request; and (3) staffing an informational booth at YRRP events upon request.


In relation to element (k), examples of services and supports include: 
  1. Military OneSource;
  2. child care and youth programming; 
  3. Veterans Affairs benefits and services;
  4. American Red Cross;
  5. Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS);
  6. Civilian Employment Information (CEI);
  7. Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR);
  8. Joint Services Support (JSS);
  10. religious groups, houses of worship and other faith-based programs; 
  11. volunteer and work opportunities, including career transition assistance; 
  12. the rear detachment commander and unit volunteers; 
  13. transportation; and 
  14. household repair or maintenance professionals; and
  15. behavioral health providers, including counseling providers.
Studies have shown that the presence of formal and informal supports decreases stress for the at-home parent, leading to healthier adjustments and improved outcomes for children living in the home. 
For military families, regular communication with the unit during deployment is directly linked to a successful reunion and reintegration of the family member. Family members who had regular contact with the unit throughout the deployment, either through the rear detachment commander or through a unit volunteer, such as a Family Readiness Officer, were better able to deal with subsequent deployments.


Upon request by commanders or customers, the MFR program supports customers in understanding the family care plan by providing information and assistance.