The Post Deployment Health Assessment Act was introduced by Senator Max Baucus in 2009, modeled off a Montana National Guard pilot program that implemented comprehensive  pre and post-combat screening to identify signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and suicidal tendencies among combat troops returning from war. A modified version of the legislation was passed in the Defense Authorization Act of 2010 and signed into law in late October 2009. Senator Baucus highlights some of the  successes of the program.

The law requires the military to provide all service members with a, private, person-to-person mental health assessment, performed by a trained health provider, within 60 days before deployment to combat and again no later than six, twelve, and twenty-four months after returning home from combat. Baucus says the Navy and Marine Corps are on track to implement the screenings by the end of the month.

Before this legislation service members were not required to receive in-person assessments in a private setting, often did not receive individualized screenings before and after a combat deployment. Baucus says This progress is more important than ever, with thousands of troops set to return home from Iraq by the end of this year.