Defense IT

Army set to shut down AKO email

Army Knowledge Online will soon be out of the email loop, as the Army will shut down AKO’s classified and unclassified email systems effective March 31, while users continue to move to DOD Enterprise Email (DEE) or other addresses.  

AKO will continue to forward email to DEE or legacy accounts until June 30, after which any mail sent AKO’s user@us.army.mil accounts will be returned to the sender, the Army’s Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems said in an announcement. The shut-down applies to mailboxes on both the non-classified NIPRNet and classified SIPRNet

PEO EIS is advising that owners of Army applications make sure that any applications that send email to AKO addresses are updated to send to DEE or another valid email address by June 30. The PEO EIS announcement also includes links to instructions for users on saving and exporting AKO mail, as well as packaging saved mail.

The end of AKO email has been in the works for a while, with plans to gradually decrease funding for the portal dating back to 2011. AKO got started in the late 1990s as a source of online information and collaboration tools for Army personnel. But the Army has been modernizing its infrastructure while making it more interoperable with other DOD components. In July 2013, about 1.4 million users were moved to DEE, which resides in the Defense Information Systems Agency’s cloud. DEE’s authentication service also is used to provide collaboration, content management, and unified capabilities such as chat and voice over IP.

AKO email addresses had been used when soldiers were changing locations, but DEE accounts will stay with soldiers throughout their careers, thus eliminating the need for AKO email, the Army said.

Personnel who have DEE accounts should start using them exclusively, and stop distributing their AKO email addresses, according to PEO EIS. Common Access Card holders also should update their cards, moving from AKO to the DEE Global Address List.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.

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