WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Jan. 30, 2013) -- Approximately 500,000 Army AKO webmail users are scheduled to migrate to DOD Enterprise Email starting in February 2013. The group currently uses AKO webmail for their primary Army email, and they are one of the last large Army groups to migrate to DOD Enterprise Email, or DEE.

The AKO Webmail migration is part of the overall Army migration from legacy email systems to DEE. Of the approximately 1.5 million Army users, 760,000 have already migrated.

The February AKO Webmail migration will affect Soldiers, Army civilians, and contractors with common access cards, but who do not regularly use a government computer to use Army email. Also affected are users whose email is provided by a server belonging to another military component. The migration will include AKO email only. Calendars and contacts will not migrate; this is a limitation of the migration tool.

Once the user has migrated to DEE, email bound for AKO accounts -- "john.doe@us.army.mil," for example -- will be automatically forwarded to DEE accounts with an "@mail.mil" extension.

Although AKO email addresses will remain valid, the migrated user will no longer have the associated AKO mail storage, mail handling capability, and mail interface that was provided by AKO. After the migration, DEE will provide those capabilities, including a web-enabled mail interface located at https://web.mail.mil/.

Deployed Soldiers who have not migrated to DEE will continue to use AKO webmail until they re-deploy. Warrior Transition Command Soldiers whose email accounts have migrated to DEE may also continue using AKO mail as an option. Details are being worked out and more information will be provided through WTC in the near future.

Individuals who are retirees -- even if they have a Common Access Card, known as a CAC, for another role, such as being an Army civilian or contractor -- family members, and other AKO users without CACs will maintain their AKO email. As part of the migration to DEE, the Army will eventually transition from the current AKO platform and provide families and retirees alternate secure access to relevant Army and DOD portals.

DOD Enterprise Email accounts are only accessible with a common access card, through a web browser on a computer with a CAC reader. Since DEE supports the use of virtually any web browser and any operating system, almost any computer can be used. Accessing DEE by username and password is not allowed.

Users who currently access AKO with a CAC will be able to access DEE using the same computer. Those who currently access AKO webmail using only a username and password should take the steps necessary to configure their computer to be accessible using a CAC. Waiting to address the issue until email migration begins could result in interrupted access to email.

For information on how to CAC-enable a home computer, visit the AKO CAC Reference/Resource Center or militarycac.com.

Several current AKO webmail capabilities will disappear with DEE because of security vulnerabilities. Users will find:

-- No access via Outlook (and the AKO Outlook connector) using a non-government computer.

-- No access using IMAP/POP protocols from a commercial email client such as Outlook or Thunderbird. Those clients do not support the mandated CAC PKI certificate authentication requirement.

-- No access from personal mobile devices, since they typically require either IMAP or POP protocols.

For email issues related to the AKO migration to DEE, users should continue to call the AKO helpdesk at 1-866-335- 2769; select 2 for "AKO", then select 3 for "other". The helpdesk can assist with AKO account access, AKO "how-to" questions, and accessing DEE on a non-government computer. Desktop DEE users should continue to contact their network enterprise center or equivalent support entity.

For general information about the transition to Defense Enterprise Email, including frequently asked questions, visit https://www.us.army.mil/suite/page/EnterpriseEmailTransition.