AKO Email access for Retierees

Information about the end of AKO email access for retirees and family members

*Please note that the military has changed to Enterprise Email. More information about Army Enterprise Email Troubleshooting can be found here.

Secretary of the Army John McHugh signed a memo in April 2013 to begin transitioning Army Knowledge Online to next-generation enterprise services and to meet increased security requirements. The Army transitioned its 1.4 million official business users to DoD Enterprise E-mail (DEE) and will no longer sustain legacy AKO infrastructure.

Army retirees and family members need to transition from AKO email to commercially available personal email accounts. AKO recently enabled these users to forward AKO email to a commercial address.

After access to AKO email ends, the Army will close all retiree and family member AKO email accounts and delete all stored email. AKO will continue to forward e-mail until Dec. 31, 2014 for those users who enable this function.

To ensure continued email service, retirees and family members should:

  • Obtain an email address from a commercial service (e.g., .com or .net accounts).
  • Access all accounts and memberships currently using the AKO email address, such as myPay accounts, and update them with the new commercial address. (The Army uses the email address in the myPay account as the official retiree contact.)

As part of IT management reform, Secretary of the Army John McHugh signed a memo in April 2013 to begin transitioning Army Knowledge Online to next-generation enterprise services. The changes will occur over several years.

“To achieve the anticipated financial economies, efficiencies, and security improvements, the Army must modernize current Army Knowledge Online infrastructure and services to become more interoperable across DOD and compliant with emerging joint information environment architectures; and implement current best practices for cloud-based managed services,” McHugh wrote in the memo.

The Army established Army Knowledge Online (AKO) in the late 1990s to provide online information services for U.S. Army personnel, later extending some AKO services to retirees and family members.  Services have included email, collaboration, discussion forums, a directory, and direct access to many DOD and Veterans Affairs (VA) websites.

The Army is now modernizing the AKO infrastructure and services to become more interoperable across DOD and to the goals that Secretary McHugh detailed in his memo.

The transition follows the Army’s successful migration of 1.4 million email accounts to DOD Enterprise Email in July 2013.  The next phase includes enterprise services for collaboration, content management, and unified capabilities (including chat, presence, voice and video over IP) – all of which draw upon the authoritative identity service that underpins Enterprise Email.

All Army business processes will move off the current AKO platform onto next-generation enterprise services over the course of several years. Only business users will have access to enterprise services. Army military retirees and family members will continue to have access to DOD online self-service sites like Tricare and MyPay through DOD Self-Service Logon (DS Logon).

The Army is developing a transition timeline for AKO services and accounts – to include military and civilian retirees and Army family members.  Details will be published in an upcoming Army execution order.

In the meantime, it is important to note that Army inactive retiree and family AKO email accounts will be removed this Spring. Affected are those accounts that have not had a password change in over 90 days and are not set to automatically forward email.  The Army will also remove email storage for active retiree and family member accounts at the same time. To avoid disruptions to communications and personal accounts, retirees should take the following steps as soon as possible:

  • Obtain a personal email address from a civilian provider.
  • Replace AKO email addresses in all personal accounts – especially myPay accounts at the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.
  • Obtain a premium DS Logon account. This account allows access to personal benefits records and claims on DOD and Department of Veterans Affairs websites. See the DS Logon article on the next page for more information.
  • Download important emails and files to a personal computer.

Additionally, family members will have several options: (1) Your military sponsor can request an account for you; (2) when getting a military ID card, ask for a DS Logon account; or (3) request an account at a TRICARE Service Center.