Army's AKO moves closer to its demise

‘No longer an efficient or secure capability,’ AKO set to be replaced by enterprise e-mail

The Army's CIO/G-6 office is recommending shutting down the service's multipurpose online portal, Army Knowledge Online (AKO), and eventually replacing it with its enterprise e-mail program, according to an internal Army memo obtained by Federal Computer Week.

According to the memo, AKO will be “decremented” during the next five years, with the funding slowly shifted to the Army enterprise e-mail system that is currently under implementation and other collaboration capabilities.

“The CIO/G-6 position is that AKO is no longer an efficient or secure capability for e-mail, collaboration or storage. The Army is running multiple servers and collaboration portal, a practice that is expensive, inefficient and contrary to information sharing and the Common Operating Environment,” the memo states.

The memo also notes that AKO has undergone multiple security breaches and has never achieved security requirements established by the former Joint Task Force for Global Network Operations.

The memo proposes AKO funding be decreased incrementally from $70 million in fiscal 2012 to no more than $20 million in fiscal 2017.

The money would instead be used to help with the migration of 1.4 million Army accounts to the enterprise e-mail program, which is already under way in collaboration with the Defense Information Systems Agency. The migration is slated to be complete by Dec. 31.

The resources would also help provide Web, collaboration and content management support for Army users through Enterprise SharePoint by 2014 and migrate roughly 2.7 million AKO military family and retiree users from the NIPRNet to “a secure enclave on the Internet.”

Requests for comment from the Army CIO/G-6 office were not returned at press time.

In May, the House Armed Services Committee’s Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee moved to strip 98 percent of the Army enterprise e-mail program’s funding until the Army secretary provides further business case and cost/benefit analyses.

The enterprise e-mail implementation has had struggles. Program managers have admitted to problems with some of the technologies, and although the system is designed to be used across the Defense Department, the other services have made no indication that they would also move to the DISA enterprise e-mail system.

Related stories:

AKO: Not just email but knowledge management

Funding asterisk casts shadow over Army enterprise email

Army enterprise e-mail move proceeds apace, DISA says

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

Cyber. Covered.

Government Cyber Insider tracks the technologies, policies, threats and emerging solutions that shape the cybersecurity landscape.


Reader comments

Thu, Apr 18, 2013

AKO is absolute CRAP. It is without doubt one of the biggest wastes of Taxpayer Dollars.

Wed, Apr 10, 2013

Forced to switch to ee-mail in March. I used AKKO for all my official mail. But now I can't check my mail on my phone or in my computer's mail client. Now I am back to google and Yahoo.

Mon, Aug 8, 2011 James S. Sullivan Kosovo

Ok, so currently AKO serves about 4 million users total, at a cost of $70 million. If all that money were only used to provide email, that would be $17.50 per user. The current cost estimates for EE are $52 per user. Why are we switching to a system that is almost 3 times more expensive? Also with the CAC requirements that come with EE, I'll still need to use Yahoo, Gmail, and Hotmail when I want to contact multinational partners, since their soldiers are unable to get CACs.

Sat, Aug 6, 2011

It doesn't make sense to have the army, navy & air force duplicating efforts on commodity capabilities. If I hear one more person talk about the lack of roi or mission improvement from moving to disa for email & sharepoint, I may get sick. This needs to happen for the simple reason that govt IT isn't a different name for contractor welfare. Yes, the full payback won't occur til all the services are on board but it will happen. However, Had the ako service addressed end user complaints such as with the useless search engine, we might not be having this discussion. Not now anyway.

Tue, Jul 26, 2011

AKO has issues but the security issues fall squarely on the Army. No where in this story does it mention how this new service will be more secure. For those in the Army before AKO, remember how bad it was? Every time you went to a different command you got another E-Mail address. Visiting another base and need to check your E-mail? You were out of luck. The result was that everyone used Hotmail, Yahoo, etc. With AKO I have a relatively secure E-mail system and access anywhere (even on my iPhone). What will this new system deliver that AKO is not? Oh yeah, “a secure enclave on the Internet.” With Sharepoint!?! Please. You can't spell DISAster without DISA.

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