It's called "Military One Source," and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, according to John M. Molino, deputy undersecretary of defense for military community and family policy.
"Military One Source is a revolutionary augmentation to the family services we currently have on military installations around the world," Molino explained during an interview with the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service.
Each service had its own One Source program, and now DoD is bringing them together and calling it Military One Source, Molino noted.
He noted that it's intended to complement assistance offered to military families by the services. Molino said Military One Source "leverages technology and enables DoD to provide assistance to families and service members via the Internet or a toll-free telephone number."
The services include everything from common, everyday difficulties that might face a family to life's most complicated situations, he noted.
Molino said Military One Source is available 24 hours a day around the country and around the world. "It's a remarkable way to step forward into a new generation of providing services," he said. "It's a place where no matter when that situation occurs, the military family member or service member could make a phone call or go on the Internet and begin to get some help."
The military services provide a lot of family services on installations, but Molino pointed out that about two-thirds of military families live off base. "The people who are off the installation tend to be the most junior folks," he added.
"They may not have the financial resources to have two cars, or to get themselves back and forth to the installations to get those services," Molino continued. "So what One Source does is provide the opportunity to make that phone call and let us bring the services, literally, figuratively and electronically, to your home."
When someone calls Military One Source for help, the person answering the phone has at least a master's degree in social work or some kind of counseling service, Molino noted. "That person is trained specifically to deal with military issues -- issues that complicate military life. So they're very sensitive to what you ask," he said.
"Some people think they're the only people who ever experienced whatever their problem is, and, of course, they're not," Molino emphasized. "Most everyone goes through different phases and different cycles."
The voice on the other end doesn't make judgments about situations, he noted. "They're there to listen to what you have to say, evaluate it, and give you the beginnings of an answer or actually the answer to your question," Molino said.
Military One Source runs the gamut of situations: from needing a plumber in the middle of the night to fix a broken pipe, to needing veterinary service for a sick dog. It also handles things like helping families new to an area find childcare, or information about the school system, summer jobs whatever is needed.
"One Source can get all that information and provide it to you in a most efficient manner, whether it be electronically or getting back to you on the telephone," Molino said.
People shouldn't be afraid or embarrassed to seek help from Military One Source, he said, but he acknowledged some people may be reluctant to ask for help. "You try to convince people that the person at the other end of the phone isn't going to be judgmental about your situation," he said.
Word of mouth is the best way to get the word out about Military One Source within a unit, he noted. For example, Molino said, "If I'd made a phone call and had a positive experience, I can tell you about it. I can say, 'You know, I tried One Source one time, and it worked for me. You ought to give it a shot.' Asking for help isn't a sign of weakness; it's really a sign of being smart it's a sign of smartness," Molino said.