Army does forward march again on enterprise e-mail

The Army continues to pick up speed in implementing enterprise e-mail, with more than 120,000 e-mail accounts migrated as of Sept. 30, according to Army CIO/G-6 spokesperson Margaret McBride.

An operational pause on the migration process, which was put in place in July to deal with problems in the Army IT networks, was lifted Sept. 6.

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“As a result of our efforts, we are prepared to resume migrations and are positioned to return to a migration pace that should result in a 2QFY12 completion of Army NIPRNet users,” Maj. Gen. Jennifer Napper, commander of Army Network Enterprise Technology Command/Ninth Signal Command, wrote in a memo posted to the CIO/G-6 blog by deputy Army CIO Mike Krieger.

“Our October schedule is ambitious, but the Army and [Defense Information Systems Agency enterprise e-mail] migration team is poised for the Pacific, Europe and [contiguous U.S.] locations scheduled for migration,” Napper wrote.

The Army’s schedule has the enterprise e-mail migration completed by roughly March 2012, according to Donald Adcock, director of the Army IT Agency, whose office is already on the DISA-provided enterprise e-mail system.

“In the last 30 or so days in enterprise email, even greater improvements have been made. I think we’re starting to see some stabilization in the enterprise e-mail environment and I really do think the Army and DISA have worked hard to work through the initial issues that they’ve put out on the table,” Adcock said in a Pentagon briefing with reporters on Sept. 27. His agency has been heavily involved in the migration process, Adcock added.

“I would say that five months ago we had a lot to learn about migrations and how to do mass migrations rapidly. I think that we had a lot to learn about triaging and setting up accounts and then actually handling trouble calls,” he said. “In the early stages there were some latency issues; but I fully believe the Army’s leaned very forward, working with [the Defense Information Systems Agency] on many, many, many of these issues and I think they’re making progress every day.”

The Army’s initial goal was for Army Department Headquarters to be moved to the enterprise e-mail system first, with the rest of the Army to follow, but the problems along the way meant required a change of plans.

“I think it’s fair to say that in the beginning, as the service provider and the director of [our] part of the business, I could not have gone forward to the Army principal leadership and said that the environment was for one, stable enough, and two, that the [tactics, techniques and procedures] on how to deal with the environment were well-enough developed to allow my workforce to react to simple things,” he said.

Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence, Army CIO/G-6, has been vocal about the network problems her team has tackled in cleaning up a “dirty network” that had many issues with inconsistency and lack of standardization and organization. There were also reported complaints that the network was excessively slow.

Adcock said that the CIO/G-6 office is set to make a case before Army brass at the end of the year to get approval to begin migrating headquarters accounts.

“I think that based on the progress they’ve made and the changes they’ve done, they’ll get the green light to go forward,” Adcock said.

About the Author

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

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