FORT PICKETT, Va. — The Army Knowledge Online email service is set to completely shut down March 31, 2015. Any messages sent to AKO email addresses will be forwarded to enterprise email accounts until June 30, 2015, after which all messages will be returned as undeliverable.
The U.S. Army established AKO in the late 1990s to provide online information services for U.S. Army personnel. AKO later extended services to retirees and family members. Services included email, cloud-based collaboration, professional forums, a white pages directory and direct access to several government services websites.
To achieve modernization goals that Department of the Army Secretary John McHugh outlined in an official memorandum, April 26, 2013, the AKO infrastructure and provided services have either been upgraded or removed from AKO. Services which are being removed are now commercially available and are offered at no cost to the public. This availability renders AKO’s previous services unnecessary. In addition, Department of Defense statistics have shown a continuing decline in use of these AKO services.
Removing these processes from AKO and creating an enterprise-wide solution is intended to modernize and make the Army’s information management services more interoperable across the Department of Defense.
“The enterprise email was developed to bring all of DoD onto one email solution,” said Lt. Col. Lesley Kipling, director of information management for the Virginia Army National Guard. “It is not cost effective to manage two e-mail accounts for every Soldier, so now that the enterprise accounts are fully established, AKO email will be shut down.”
Replacing the AKO email is the DoD Enterprise Email. Fielded in July 2013, over 1.4 million email accounts have successfully transitioned to this new service.
“For Soldiers the main advantage is the Global Address List,” Kipling said. “Previously, each service had separate GALs and it could be challenging to find contact information for military members in other services. From a DoD perspective, there is a cost benefit to running one email system, versus each service running individual systems.”
Because these AKO email accounts will be no longer active, Soldiers should update all accounts and memberships currently using the AKO email address, update their contact information in MilConnect and save emails or files from AKO that they wish to retain.
“Most Soldiers are already using enterprise email and hopefully have been forwarding their AKO email,” Kipling said. “I would recommend that they login to AKO email this week, there may be contacts or emails that they had forgotten about, but realize may be useful to reference in the future.”
Soldiers can save AKO emails by downloading or transferring them into Microsoft Outlook and creating a personal storage folder, also known as a .PST file, onto their personal computers.
MilConnect is a web application that offers military personnel and their families access to their personal information, health care eligibility, personnel records and other relevant information from a centralized location.
The next phase of transition includes moving all Army business processes off of the AKO platform onto the next generation enterprise service.
Additional guidance on transitioning to enterprise email can be found here.
Instructions on saving AKO emails to a .PST can be found here.