The end of the road for AKO
Change is hard, but anyone who'd been clinging to the Army Knowledge Online email system had better get moving. On March 31, the Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems shut down all mailboxes on the NIPRNet and SIPRNet AKO email systems. Email is still being forwarded for Army Common Access Card holders, but that too will end on June 30.
AKO was launched in the mid-1990s and has served as the Army's enterprise Web portal – offering secure email, file storage and management, instant messaging and other collaboration tools to soldiers, family members, retirees and other members of the Army community. Gary Winkler, who spent eight years in Army CIO and acquisition organizations, once called it "the Army’s 'secret sauce.'"
A Defense Departmentwide version was launched based AKO's success, but Defense Knowledge Online went dark in 2013. The Army completed migration of 1.4 million email accounts to DOD Enterprise Email in July 2013, and AKO's support for retirees and family members ended on Dec. 31, 2014.
The AKO portal itself remains online, and PEO-EIS officials said the latest email change will not affect portal access. Secretary of the Army John McHugh said in an April 2013 memo that while "the Army will sunset the technological systems that underpin AKO today ... the AKO trademark will remain."
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