Army hits a few hurdles in move to enterprise e-mail system

Attention focused on global address list, business processes

The Army has experienced a few bumps in its migration to an enterprise e-mail system, but Defense Department officials say they are making progress in their plans to move and restructure the e-mail accounts of more than 1.5 million users.

“The e-mail service does have issues,” Army Lt. Col. Peter Barclay, Army CIO with the Advanced Technology Directorate, said March 30 at the AFCEA Belvoir Industry Days conference in National Harbor, Md.

“We’re orchestrating the migration," he said. "The global address list needs improvement, and the support of business processes and enforcement of their use is being improved.”

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The enterprise e-mail effort, which is being done in conjunction with the Defense Information Systems Agency, began late last year. So far, 2,224 DISA mailboxes have been provisioned and 2, 131 DISA users have migrated, Barclay said.

In April, 26,000 area processing center users at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.; Ft. Monmouth, NJ; Ft. Riley, Kan.; and Rock Island Arsenal Garrison, Ill., will migrate. In June, 100,000 users at several installations, including Army Department Headquarters, U.S. European Command, Ft. Bliss, Tex., and Ft. Sam Houston, Tex., will be shifted to enterprise e-mail, Barclay said.

DISA’s responsibilities for the project include all server-side hardware, software and networks; tiers 2 and 3 help desks; and near real-time service metrics reporting, he said. The Army is responsible for all client-side hardware, software and networks; tier 1 help desk; and user migration responsibilities. All Common Access Card holders will have at minimum webmail-only accounts; all Army Microsoft Exchange users will have business accounts, according to Barclay.

The process of moving to enterprise e-mail involves the use of migration tools such as the internally developed enterprise directory service-provisioning system. E-mail and calendar data are copied from local accounts to enterprise accounts – the original is not deleted, so old accounts can be accessed if necessary, Barclay said. The migrations occur overnight with coordination of the customer, he added.

The Army tested the service with initial migrations of roughly 2,000 users from the Army CIO office; Network Enterprise Technology Command; and Research, Development and Engineering Command. Full integration will take place between April and September, Barclay said.

Meanwhile, the Army’s theater signal commands are handling the migration, timeline and related priorities at military installations abroad.

“The signal commands know best what’s going on on the ground, so they’re helping with that,” Barclay said.

About the Author

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


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