With the war in Iraq over and the conflict in Afghanistan winding down, the government is tasked with providing healthcare to the more than 2 million soldiers who have served overseas in the last 12 years. New research from scientists at the Institute of Medicine suggests that federal officials are doing a poor job of keeping up with the demand for medical issues and health ailments caused by the wars, USA Today reports.

The expansive study, conducted over four years, highlights the fact that the United States has never had to respond to these challenges before because of the unique nature of the wars. Specifically, things like multiple deployments, with short time between each one, as well as the high number of reservists and National Guardsmen who served have caused unforeseen obstacles. Despite the best efforts of military officials, more needs to be done, experts say.

"These are extraordinary challenges," Dr. George Rutherford, who chaired the group that produced the report, told the publication. "We are learning as we're going. I think the VA and [Defense Department] have really exerted extraordinary efforts to try and get it right … but there are some areas that need to be improved."

Part of the problem has to do with the fact that the Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) often have trouble communicating. This is particularly evident when it comes to medical records. The two departments have separate programs designed to store their records, which causes difficulty when soldiers transfer from active duty to life as veterans. This could be partly to blame for the estimated 900,000 person backlog in VA benefits claims.

Four years ago, President Barack Obama vowed to oversee the creation of one all-encompassing place for medical records to be shared by the VA and the DOD. So far, that has yet to be fully realized. Earlier this year, then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and VA Secretary Eric Shinseki seemed to back away from plans for one shared system and instead cited plans to focus on making it easier to transfer records from one department to the other, Stars and Stripes reports.