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Photo Caption: Defense Knowledge Online went dark May 31, 2013, and its capabilities transitioned to enterprise services.

June 6, 2013
By
Gary Sheftick

FORT MEADE, Md. (Army News Service, June 3, 2013) -- Defense Knowledge Online was discontinued May 31, but officials said Army Knowledge Online will be available for at least two or three more years.

Eventually, the Army will transition AKO to next-generation enterprise services, according to a memorandum signed by Secretary of the Army John McHugh, April 26. But that transition will take place over the next few years, the memo states, adding a timeline will be published by G-3/5/7 as part of an execution order to be released by September.

DKO finished its migration to enterprise services last week. It began the transition about 14 months ago, according to John Hale, chief of Enterprise Applications for the Defense Information Systems Agency.

"People don't really like to deal with change," Hale said, explaining that some DKO users waited almost until the last minute to migrate their files.

The last two weeks of the transition were extremely busy, he explained.

"So getting those last few users off the capability last week was challenging, but we worked with all of them and got that done," he said.

Quite a bit of planning went into the transition, Hale said, and it began well over a year ago.

First DKO email was migrated to Enterprise Email. Then the DOD Enterprise Portal Service, or DEPS, was stood up with SharePoint. And the last site to be created was Enterprise Files Services, known as EFS, at https://efs.deps.mil/. That site provides storage and collaboration of files across DOD, Hale said.

"It was a good news story in that we didn't necessarily take capability away from users," Hale said, "as much as we simply replaced capability with other equally responsive capabilities."

Defense Connect Online and the Global Video System, known as GVS, also can now provide desktop video teleconferencing capability that wasn't available with DKO.

At its height, DKO had about 200,000 users. Each had an average of about 50 megabytes of files, Hale said.

Although the transition to enterprise services wasn't initiated primarily to save money, Hale predicted eventual cost savings.

"I think as we go over the next year, we'll start to see cost savings. EFS is run by the same team that runs the DOD Enterprise Portal Service, so we have an efficiency in labor that will ultimately be passed on as a lower cost of operating the service to the taxpayer."

DKO stood up in 2006 and mirrored the services provided by AKO. The purpose was to provide those AKO services to the joint war-fighting community, Hale said.

AKO was established in the late 1990s. It grew out of an experimental project of the General Officer Management Office, known as GOMO. Back then, today's free email and file-sharing services were not available on the commercial Internet.

So over the next several years the Army will modernize its information infrastructure to achieve cost savings, better efficiency and enhanced security, according to Army G-6.

AKO email accounts have been migrating to DOD Enterprise Email since 2012. In July, the migration of accounts is expected to be complete and more than 1.3 million Army users will have transitioned to Enterprise Email.

In mid-2014, the Army expects to transition retirees and family members off AKO, according to the memo. Military retirees and family members will continue to have access to DOD online services through the more secure DOD Self-Service Logon, known as DS Logon, which is already deployed. DS Logon provides access to military self-service sites such as Tricare Online, MyPay, and the Defense Manpower Data Center.

Non-Army users requiring access to AKO in the future must have an Army sponsor. Sponsorship is permitted only for non-Army users who must access Army applications or collaborate with Army personnel for service business, G-6 officials said.