Army enterprise e-mail project takes break from implementation

Army, DISA evaluating progress before moving forward

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was updated July 19, 2011, to include a quote from Army CIO/G-6 spokesperson Margaret McBride.

The enterprise e-mail project underway in conjunction between the Army and the Defense Information Systems Agency is taking a “30-day technical pause,” according to a DISA official.

Army officials made the decision after discovering some shortcomings in Army business processes as well as some technical and operational issues, according to Army CIO/G-6 spokesperson Margaret McBride.

"DISA is working with the Army to refine operational performance, and we are revising business processes to ensure the user's experience is good .We expect to resume migrations soon -- after these issues are resolved," McBride said.


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“We’re evaluating the transition procedures for effective service and looking to infuse some lessons learned,” Dave Mihelcic, DISA CTO, said on the sidelines of the AFCEA Cybersecurity Symposium on July 15 in Washington.

DISA and the Army have acknowledged some problems as they collapse the Army’s duplicative IT networks into a private cloud-based, enterprise-wide e-mail service that includes a global address directory. Eventually, the service may also replace Army Knowledge Online, its multi-purpose online portal.

In May, Army Deputy CIO Mike Krieger and then-DISA Vice Director Ronnie Hawkins conceded there have been problems with the migration tool being used to transition the nearly a million Army e-mail accounts to the new service, and it’s not clear if the other military branches will eventually implement the enterprise e-mail program.

But Krieger and Hawkins said at the time that the project was still on target for completion by the end of December.

The program also appears to be dogged by funding problems. In May, House Armed Services Committee’s Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee moved to strip 98 percent of the project’s fiscal 2012 funding until the secretary of the Army furnished business-case and cost/benefit analyses for moving the service’s e-mail to the DISA cloud.

The Army did not provide a comment by press time.

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Reader comments

Fri, Jul 29, 2011 Steve OKC

Enterprise Email is coming along as it should. I work on the implementation team at DISA. Whenever a new system is brought online there are growing pains.

Thu, Jul 21, 2011 Darian

Any time you see something like what follows, you know there are going to be issues: The program also appears to be dogged by funding problems. In May, House Armed Services Committee’s Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee moved to strip 98 percent of the project’s fiscal 2012 funding until the secretary of the Army furnished business-case and cost/benefit analyses for moving the service’s e-mail to the DISA cloud.

Thu, Jul 21, 2011 Anonymous

This was less a "migration" than being abruptly dumped into a new e-mail service. At our local Army installation, we have already struggled with the impacts of migration. With comments such as "group e-mail boxes might be back online by December", frequent dropped connections to servers and repeated CAC logons, people with dual-status CACs (e.g. military reserves and contractor) not being able to log in to either, and a shortstaffed network support team that is thousands of support tickets behind, everything suffers. We still have people offline after two months, and have already lost in cost of offline man-hours any savings this program would provide per user for years running.

Tue, Jul 19, 2011 Robert Guerra

Hmmmm !! I love saying I told you so. I think "Technical Pause" means "It ain't workin and we can't figure out what to do." Thus, we'll call it a success and move on. Are there really 800 days between 1 August and 31 December?

Tue, Jul 19, 2011

Dropping connections to the server. Logging in with CAC card frequently due to something. Outlook not responding after inserting an email address. Outlook not responding during the typing of an email. A few more problems I cannot remember as I type this.

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