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Knowledge Base Offers ‘Umbrella’ of DOD Information

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 10, 2014 – Whether it’s how to replace a lost military service medal, ship a package to overseas troops or get the details of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, there’s a good chance the Defense Department’s Knowledge Base will have the answers.

A DOD information tool to answer public inquiries, the database offers about 18 pages of 180 Defense questions and answers that address the hottest topics of public concern, said Nancy Kuck, a public affairs specialist working in community and public outreach for the office of the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs.

“We are an avenue to ask questions,” Kuck said of the Knowledge Base.

Anyone can use the database, and Kuck encourages people to first look at Knowledge Base’s frequently asked questions to find the information they need. If the answer to a question is not listed, information-seekers can submit questions and receive electronic responses.

If the staff of three full-time employees doesn’t know the answer to a question, they will research a topic and find the answer, Kuck said. The staff answers more than 40,000 inquiries a year submitted through the Knowledge Base and by letters, emails and phone calls, she said.

Two of the most popular questions are how to replace an identification card, and how to obtain a DD 214, the certificate of release or discharge from active duty, she said.

Additionally, if Kuck’s office sees a trend in questions or concerns -- such as last year’s furlough, -- the staff researches and gathers the information for posting on the Knowledge Base so it’s readily available to the public, she said.

The Knowledge Base is “the big umbrella” of DOD information, although some questions are military service-specific, Kuck said, noting that directly contacting the appropriate branch of service is sometimes faster to get an answer.

“If it’s service-specific, we encourage people to go to them, because they would know more than we would,” she said. The public will find contact information for various organizations at http://www.defense.gov/landing/comment.aspx, she added.

“Our team does its best to address the questions and concerns of the general public,” Kuck said, “because they have a voice, and we are there to answer them,”

(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkAFPS)

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