|By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 6, 2002 -- The federal government's redesigned Web portal FirstGov [ http://firstgov.gov] provides countless links that any Internet surfer might find useful.
FirstGov now is faster and more accurate than the pilot version in connecting visitors with the transactions, services and information they want, according to site managers in announcing the redesigned site's Feb. 27 launch.
Access is easy. The site is named FirstGov, but the Web address is a noncase-sensitive "firstgov.gov." You don't even need to type "www." unless it's too old a habit or you're using an old browser.
Military members might find the search engine on the left side of FirstGov's home page particularly helpful. It can call up any state's official Internet site. Service members and their families can find information on state taxes and motor vehicle registration requirements.
Many states offer veterans benefits that are in addition to the federal government's. Education and burial benefits, state government veterans' employment preferences and job training assistance are other possible state Web topics.
On FirstGov's home page under the heading "Online Services for Citizens" is a link titled "Change Your Address." Service members moving from one duty station to another can change their address with the U.S. Postal Service via an online form for $1 or they can print the appropriate forms free and mail or take them to their local post office.
The Postal Service site links to numerous other government and private services available to get settled in a new location. Links to government services, for instance, include emergency numbers, schools, senior citizens programs, the Better Business Bureau and local Departments of Motor Vehicles. Links to civilian services include telephone and utility companies and Internet service providers.
Other FirstGov site links provide federal forms and regulations, directories for federal agencies, military personnel locator information, and even links to copies of the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence.
Click on the home page "Laws & Regulations" link and then the "Statistics Gateway (FedStats)" link. You'll gain access to an alphabetical listing of all the statistics kept by various government agencies. You can also find links to pages designed for children that several government agencies maintain.
If all else fails and you can't find what you're looking for, the FirstGov
main page includes a search engine that reaches out to all federal and
state government Internet sites.