Army CIO outlines AKO phase out

The Army's CIO/G-6 office is recommending shutting down the service's multi-purpose online portal, Army Knowledge Online (AKO), and eventually replacing it with its enterprise e-mail program, according to an internal Army memo obtained by Federal Computer Week.

According to the memo, AKO will be “decremented” over the next five years, with the funding slowly shifted to the Army enterprise e-mail system that is currently under implementation, and other collaboration capabilities.

“The CIO/G-6 position is that AKO is no longer an efficient or secure capability for email, collaboration or storage. The Army is running multiple servers and collaboration portal, a practice that is expensive, inefficient and contrary to information sharing and the Common Operating Environment,” the memo states.

The memo also notes that AKO has undergone multiple security breaches and has never achieved security requirements established by the former Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations.

The memo proposes AKO funding be decreased incrementally from $70 million in fiscal 2012 to no more than $20 million in fiscal 2017.

The money would instead be used to help with the migration of 1.4 million Army accounts to the enterprise e-mail program, which is already under way in collaboration with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). The migration is slated to be complete by Dec. 31.

The resources would also help provide Web, collaboration and content management support for Army users through Enterprise SharePoint by 2014, and migrate roughly 2.7 million AKO military family and retiree users from the NIPRNet to “a secure enclave on the Internet.”

Requests for comment from the Army CIO/G-6 office were not returned at press time.

In May, House Armed Services Committee’s Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee moved to strip 98 percent of the Army enterprise e-mail program’s funding until the Army secretary provides further business case and cost/benefit analyses.

The enterprise e-mail implementation has had struggles. Program managers have admitted to problems with some of the technologies, and while the system is designed to be used across the Defense Department, the other services have made no indication that they would also move to the DISA enterprise e-mail system.

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a staff writer covering military networks for Defense Systems.

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