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Army family members, retirees can forward mail now that AKO is off limits

Nov. 7, 2013 - 03:45AM   |  
By JOE GOULD   |   Comments
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The Army plans to give retirees and family members a helping hand as it cuts them off from Army Knowledge Online email and other services.

They will be able to automatically forward AKO email to personal commercial email addresses for about a year, the office of the Chief Information Officer/G-6 recently announced.

The feature became available Nov. 1 and will last through the end of 2014.

“To ensure that no emails are missed, retirees and family members should activate this function in their AKO account profiles as soon as possible,” the announcement reads. Instructions are posted at the web site for the Army enterprise information technology acquisitions office.

The move comes as the Army plans plans to halt online file storage, email and other collaborative services for Army retirees and family members next year, and expand such services for Army personnel by 2015 or later.

Soldiers and Army civilians are supposed to get video teleconferencing, text and voice chat, among other online cloud-based enterprise services under the umbrella of “Unified Communications.”

Upon logging into AKO, they will eventually see new applications, like Sharepoint, which is chiefly used for file and document management.

Officials say the plan, part of efforts to replace its intranet AKO with services hosted in the Defense Information Systems Agency cloud, will mean easier collaboration between organizations and tighter cybersecurity.

The CIO/G-6 announced this summer that it completed its two-year effort to migrate email users to enterprise email hosted in the DISA cloud. The move involved more than 1.4 million users in the NIPRNet, short for Non-secure Internet Protocol Router Network, and more than 100,000 users on the SIPRNet, or Secret Internet Protocol Router Network.

Army Secretary John McHugh‘s announced in an April 26 memo that the Army would “sunset the technological systems that underpin AKO today,” but maintain “the AKO trademark.”

McHugh said providing the services to family members and retirees was too costly as the service deals with recent budget chaos, and that these people may access commercial services like DropBox, Gmail and Twitter.


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