FORT BELVOIR, Va. (Army News Service, April 14, 2008) - Army Knowledge Online, the U.S. Army's enterprise portal and the world's largest intranet, is gearing up to support as many as 2.5 million users by the end of April.

Implementation of AKO Forward and portal infrastructure upgrades supporting Defense Knowledge Online are part of the Defense Department's move toward joint net-centricity, designed to assist warfighters in the military services to function in unison. AKO/DKO is part of the Army Program Executive Office, Enterprise Information Systems, known as PEO EIS.

AKO/DKO Forward was launched April 1 to enhance portal performance for forward-deployed users. AKO Forward was developed by the Army in partnership with Army Central Command and the U.S. Navy to improve the reliability and responsiveness of AKO services, and to provide new information and collaboration tools, officials said. They said such improvements are accomplished, in part, by caching frequently-used data to minimize the amount of time needed to process user queries.

Hosted by the U.S. Navy in Southwest Asia, AKO Forward can also alleviate unit costs and responsibilities associated with establishing and maintaining multiple military mail servers, Web portals and other Web collaboration tools, officials said.

The AKO portal is the foundation for the Defense Knowledge Online portal. Although most aspects of the AKO/DKO upgrade will have huge implications on the technical side, the average user will only notice small "look and feel" differences in the function of the portal. However, the portal should be easier to navigate and provide a more appealing user interface.

One of the most significant capabilities provided with the AKO/DKO Version 5.7 upgrade is service-oriented architecture, AKO officials said. They said with the implementation of SOA capability, the Army portal will become a standardized platform prepared to support the integration of key Web applications within DoD commands, services and agencies. Until now, these disparate capabilities were limited to the individual Services' portals.

Other upgrades to the construct and infrastructure of AKO are expected to optimize performance. Based on feedback from all levels, developers implemented advanced administrator capabilities and content creation features, as well as bulk file upload features.