Veterans’ health and welfare encompasses the needs of all current and former members of the permanent/regular and reserve Australian Defence Force, regardless of operational (deployment) experience or length of service. Each year, the Australian Defence Force numbers around 54,000 current serving members (including Reserve members). Around 5,000 Australians transition from military to civilian life each year.

Service in the Australian Defence Force confers both unique protective factors, through medical, physical and psychological selection, training and support (institutional and cultural), and risk factors, including exposure to physical and psychological injury, trauma, and potential death.

Analyses of the health and welfare of this unique population group serves to identify and enumerate outcomes of specific exposures and provide a strong evidence base for preventive and treatment activities and services.

The AIHW has a long-standing role in studies relating to the health and welfare of veterans, ranging from data linking, data management and data holdings, to detailed analysis and reporting.

Veterans’ health studies in which the AIHW has undertaken analysis or reporting include those relating to specific conflicts, such as in Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf War; particular job roles and exposures, such as F-111 Deseal/Reseal personnel; and, condition or outcome-specific analyses, such as suicide death or cancer incidence.

The AIHW is also involved in a number of data linkage and data management activities relating to veterans' health studies. These are listed under Data sources. A more complete list of veterans' (and military) health studies in Australia is available through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Department of Defence.