Military programs are governed by federal law, Department of Defense policy and additional policies specific to the branches of service. The below are the excerpts from federal law that govern non-medical counseling programs in the military.
Public Law 109-163, “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006,” January 6, 2006 This law has three different sections that pertain to the military and mental heath care. Section 721 requires the Secretary of Defense to create a program to raise awareness of mental health warning signs and the services available to address potential mental health issues. Section 722 gives authorization to initiate pilot programs for the early diagnosis and treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other mental conditions. Section 723 authorizes the Secretary of Defense to create a task force to evaluate current mental health conditions and treatment options within the military with the goal of improving current services.
Public Law 109-364, “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007,” October 17, 2006 Section 738 of this law requires the Secretary of Defense to outline minimum mental health criteria that would allow a service member to be deployed. Section 741 gives authorization to initiate pilot programs for the early diagnosis and treatment of PTSD and other mental conditions. It also calls for the evaluation of current services addressing PTSD, outreach to military members living more than forty miles from a military treatment facility, and outreach services to family members of those with PTSD and other mental conditions.