Navy Knowledge Online sets sail

Navy Knowledge Online

The Navy announced this week that its Navy Knowledge Online (NKO) portal is available to all active-duty, reserve and retired sailors and Marines.

NKO (www.nko.navy.mil) is designed to provide sailors with access to training information, including instructional materials, best practices, and subject matter expertise for specific ratings and leadership roles. It is an integrated delivery system for learning, personnel development and knowledge management.

The Navy followed the Army's lead when it selected Appian Corp., a Vienna, Va.-based software company, to build the portal.

Appian built the Army Knowledge Online portal (www.us.army.mil) in 1998 to provide the service with an online collaboration tool. AKO now has more than 1.2 million users and provides Army news, distance-learning opportunities, e-mail accounts, a search engine, chat capabilities and an enterprise collaboration center for service staff worldwide.

The Navy awarded Appian the contract in August 2002, and the company rolled out a pilot version to 35,000 users in about a month. Now fully deployed, NKO has about 38,000 users, but has the capacity to go up to 350,000. Additionally, the company said that within a few months, NKO also will be available to the dependents of active-duty sailors, specifically for instant messaging.

The Navy's portal will differ from the Army's in that it is not intended to be the one-stop shop that AKO has come to be. Instead, the Navy is looking to use the tool more for its ability to provide training and education.

"NKO is going to allow sailors to access what is most important to them: the information required to excel, both professionally and personally," said Rear Adm. Kevin Moran, commander of the Naval Personnel Development Command in Norfolk, Va. "It is going to allow sailors to take maximum advantage of the tools and opportunities available to them, no matter where they are stationed or deployed."

One of the key pieces featured on AKO that will be missing from the Navy's portal is e-mail. The Navy wants sailors to use its portal as a "single point to get data on training history and qualifications for advancement of their careers," said Myles Weber, Appian's program manager for NKO.

"We have taken the AKO and replicated all of the good things it contains," Weber said. "The Navy is planning on using the NKO as a series of learning centers for its revolution in training."

Because NKO is a Web-based portal, it can be used on both the Navy Marine Corps Intranet and legacy systems.

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