Army expects to save a bundle with e-mail move

Switch to enterprise system begins this month, could save $100M by 2013

After much groundwork, the Army has announced that it will start migrating individual e-mail accounts to a cloud-based enterprise e-mail service by the middle of this month. The service will transition an initial batch of accounts in the coming weeks with the goal of moving 200,000 classified and 1.4 million unclassified accounts by the end of the year.

The first 2,000 users moving to the new system will also serve as a testbed to ensure a smooth transition. Brig. Gen. LaWarren Patterson, commanding general of the 7th Signal Command (Theater) at Fort Gordon, Ga., told NextGov that this first group will ensure that e-mail service and system management processes are working and in place.

One difference is that this initial selection of users consists of the Army’s top technology personnel, including the chief information officer’s staff, who will have their Microsoft Exchange accounts moved. NextGov noted that the email accounts for the Army’s headquarters staff will switch over in March.

The Army expects the service to save about $100 million a year by 2013. Speaking last year, former Army CIO Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson said that the cost savings will kick in during the 2012 fiscal year and beyond. He said the Army currently pays more than $100 per user seat annually for e-mail services. Under the enterprise e-mail system, he said the cost will drop to under $39 per seat. The service will provide users with 4G of mailbox storage, up from the 100M currently available.

Key features of the e-mail system will allow users to access their e-mail wherever they are, from any CAC-card equipped computer; e-mail accounts that follow users as they move between duty stations and deployments; and an active directory listing e-mail addresses of Army and DOD personnel. Speaking in December, Brig. Gen. Jennifer Napper, commander of Army NETCOM/9th Signal Command, noted that the directory serves as an enterprise security boundary and an authentication source.

According to the 7th Signal Command, the changes include “persona extensions” to all Army personnel e-mail addresses. These extensions will identify users as active duty military, civilian Army employees, reservists or contractors. After the transition, NextGov reported that all Army individual e-mail addresses will contain a first name, middle initial and last name, followed by numbers for identical names such as: john.j.smith123@mail.mil. A reservist’s account would be john.a.doe335.mil@mail.mil and a contractor’s account would be john.a.doe335.ctr@mail.mil.

The move to an enterprise e-mail model is being managed in conjunction with the Defense Information Systems Agency. E-mail and calendar functions are being virtualized and stored on DISA’s cloud. Agency officials said in October that the enterprise service consolidates the Army’s e-mail addresses within the DISA cloud, which is the first step in a greater effort to condense all military e-mail addresses under a single DOD.mil listing.  

 

  

 

Reader Comments

Sun, Nov 18, 2012

Wow, I can't believe you are all complaining… EE is going to save tons I mean tons of cash!! 52 states and territories have their own exchange system. Then back up requirements wow that gets costly. Also last I knew every DOD, EVERY DOD system is going to be on EE AF, Navy, Army (Rev, NG), DOD ALL… that means there are going to be less and less severs, backs electricity, Money saved!!

Wed, Jul 6, 2011

Here at Ft.Dix we migrated to DISA and it is a complete disaster! I cannot believe someone is getting paid to make asinine decisions like this. The connection to DISA exchange servers painfully slow and users all over the base are having issues with productivity due to inferior connectivity to the exchange server!

Fri, Apr 29, 2011 Sean GA

@AKO Support Employee: AKO is horrible. Name a feature, it's horrible. We can't wait for it to go away. Signed, everyone who has ever used AKO.

Thu, Feb 24, 2011 EdBikes

Give it up, enterprise email in the cloud. I'm a high-tech guy, and no one has ever explained the cloud... what cloud? define cloud computing? For this article: enterprise email (MS Outlook/Exchnage) in a cloud = moving from the AKO system complex to a DISA system complex. Currently, AKO is a contracted service provider, and DISA will probably do the same. BTW, how much will it cost to implement the new email naming convention? Let's all hold-our-breath waiting for any "real" cost saving... looking in the sky for the right cloud... laughter required...

Mon, Feb 21, 2011 AKO Support Employee VA

A couple of points that need to be clarified - 1) AKO is the current solution for the Army (active, guard and reserve). 2) The actual costs of an AKO mail account is closer to $11 annually per seat, not $100. First, consider all the services AKO provides: Email, Portal, Web accessible storage, Business Process Management (BPM), and Single Sign On (SSO). The approximate budget for AKO is $67 million and there are about 2.5 million users. That means that AKO spends about $26.80 per user and less than half of that amount is used for email services. 3) The limitation of 100Mb is due to funding - AKO is currently working on implementing 1G mailboxes, but staffing limitations is a problem. AKO has just had a 30% reduction is staff. 4) A lot of the limitations of AKO’s email is due to DoD/Army required security. Some good examples of this are no HTML email and KBA (Knowledge Based Authentication) Bottom line, AKO is a good solution given the constraints. The DISA solution will be more costly and will have some of the same limitations as AKO (unless they ignore their security requirements). Instead of rebuilding the systems, DoD/Army should properly fund AKO.

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