WASHINGTON (March 29, 2015) -- Since the late 1990s, the Army has hosted email functionality for Soldiers on the "Army Knowledge Online" website, known as AKO for short. Most of that email functionality will end March 31.

Right now, some users are still able to log into the website and load up the email application. On Tuesday, the Army will shut that capability off.

"There are only a small group of individuals still using AKO email," said CW5 Ricardo Pina, the chief technology officer with Army CIO/G6. "It's about 17,000 people."

As a result of the change, those users will no longer be able to log into AKO and read or send email. But if those users are still getting email sent to their @us.army.mil account, that email can be forwarded to their "DOD Enterprise Email," or DEE address -- the one that ends with @mail.mil.

The email forwarding functionality is expected to last until June 30, 2015. The Army will shut the forwarding off at that time.

Pina said the Army made the decision to shut off AKO email, in part, because DEE email is far less expensive. Additionally, he said, AKO email was originally intended to be the only email that Soldiers used. But that proved to not be the case. Many Army users, he said, had additional government email addresses.

"Some people had three or more," he said. "So it just wasn't efficient to maintain email that way."

FUTURE OF AKO

AKO does much more than provide email capability, Pina said. It also provides collaboration, files storage and white pages functionality. Those capabilities are not going away, he said, though the Army is looking for better solutions to provide that functionality.

"The Army is working on something called 'unified capabilities [UC],'" he said. "When we have the UC solution, that will basically do away with a need to maintain them from AKO."

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