DoD Research Portfolios


A number of organizations within DoD execute medical and mental health research, with multiple portfolios of research among them. The Defense Health Agency (DHA) hosts the core research program for DoD through its Research, Development, and Acquisition (RDA) program with a mission to “implement best practices to responsibly design, prioritize, and integrate medical research, development and acquisition programs across the continuum of care. By fostering strategic partnerships and transitioning medical discoveries to deployable products, RDA will enhance the readiness and resilience of the military community.” In 2014, DHA integrated the Joint Program Committees for oversight of a $2.2 billion medical research enterprise that provides funding recommendations and program management for the RDA-funded research.[1][2] RDA works to enhance the already existing research programs of the services and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

DoD organizations responsible for conducting or serving as oversight of medical and psychological health research include, but are not limited to:

  • Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP)
    • The CDMRP was formed in 1992 by Congressional appropriation to promote innovative biomedical research through funding of “high impact, high risk and high gain projects” that other agencies may not fund.
    • The Psychological Health/Traumatic Brain Injury Research Program (PH/TBI) was established in 2007 to complement ongoing DoD research in PH/TBI prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation and to support the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) and the Deployment Health Clinical Center (DHCC) in their efforts. Since 2007, Congress has appropriated over $731.45 million to fund these efforts; in fiscal year 15, the PH/TBI Program was appropriated $113 million.
  • DHCC, a center of DCoE
    • The DHCC was first established in 1995 as the Gulf War Health Center. Re-established with its current name in 1999 and named a DCoE center in 2008, DHCC aims to advance excellence in psychological health care across the MHS by enhancing care quality, effectiveness and efficiencies; facilitating the translation of research to practice; and providing leadership, advocacy and implementation support.
  • Naval Health Research Center (NHRC)
    • The NHRC is designated as a DoD Deployment Health Research Center and conducts research and development of health and readiness needs of military members and their families to inform DoD policy and practice. NHRC is one of eight laboratories comprising the Naval Medical Research Center, within the U.S. Navy's Bureau of Medicine and Surgery.
    • The research, development, testing and evaluation (RDT&E) program of the NHRC develops science and technology solutions including new practices, procedures, medical devices and pharmaceuticals for the improvement of personnel performance, casualty prevention and combat casualty care. Research areas include: operational readiness; operational infectious diseases; military population health; and DoD HIV/AIDS Prevention Program.
  • Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS)
  • U.S. Air Force’s 59th Medical Wing
    • The 59th Medical Wing is the Air Force's premier health care, medical education and research, and readiness wing. The Clinical Research Division has more than 500 active research protocols focusing on medical readiness training with mental health research initiatives including TBI treatment and combat casualty care, among other areas of research.
  • U.S. Air Force's 711th Human Performance Wing
    • The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) was created October 1997 to conduct basic, applied and advanced technology research in air, space, and cyber mission areas. Included in this is the 711th Human Performance Wing which includes the Human Effectiveness Directorate; the Unites States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine (USAFSAM); and the Human Systems Integration Directorate.
  • U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC)
    • The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command is the Army's medical materiel developer, with responsibility for medical research, development, and acquisition and medical logistics management. Research programs that investigate mental health include:
      • Combat Casualty Care Research Program (CCCRP) – research portfolio includes TBI, combat trauma therapies, damage control resuscitation, health monitoring and diagnostic technology, and combat dentistry


[1] Defense Health Agency (2014). The Defense Health Agency reflection on our first year and future. Retrieved from

[2] Defense Health Agency (2014). The Defense Health Agency reflection on our first year and future. Retrieved from