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DISA Will Finish Moving Army Email to the Cloud this Month

Julie Jacobson/AP File Photo

This story has been updated.

The Defense Information Systems Agency will complete migration of 1.5 million unclassified Army email accounts to an enterprise system hosted at its data centers by the end of this month. DISA also has begun a pilot project to move Air National Guard and Air Force reserve units to an enterprise email system as well, top agency officials told reporters Wednesday.

Mike Krieger, the Army’s deputy chief information officer, said in a blog post Tuesday that the service has already migrated 28,000 out of 86,000 classified email users to the DISA system.

Alfred Rivera, director of enterprise services for DISA, said the enterprise email system, which runs on Microsoft Exchange with an Outlook client, saves the Army roughly $70 million a year over the service’s previous email system, which was based on locally-hosted service at installations and commands. DISA charges $39.64 per user annually for its enterprise email, Rivera said.

John Hale, chief of enterprise applications for DISA, said the agency is in “deep discussions” with the Air Force to adopt the enterprise email system. He said the Air Force pilot project will help the service determine whether enterprise email can meet its mission requirements.

The enterprise system also supports 80,000 BlackBerry users and roughly 700 other mobile devices running under the Apple, Android or Windows operating systems, which DISA is testing in a mobility pilot, Hale said.

The Army is also transferring its Army Knowledge Online Web portal to the DISA cloud, Krieger said. Reserve and Guard troops who access AKO on their personal smartphones or tablets have expressed concern about losing access once AKO is switched to DISA, Krieger said.

The service is working with DISA to understand the policy and security issues associated with personal devices to develop ways troops can access enterprise email and other data without putting Army data at risk.

Rivera said DISA, the Joint Staff, European Command and Africa Command also use the agency’s cloud email.

Last October, the Navy Recruiting Command, which has 7,000 personnel including 4,226 recruiters stationed in all 50 states, signed on to the enterprise system. Rivera said the enterprise email system provided the geographically dispersed recruiters a more flexible system than the Navy Marine Corps Intranet.

Kevin Sullivan, information technology director for the Recruiting Command, said his organization uses DISA enterprise email to supplement NMCI for recruiters. “This is not only the most cost-effective solution, it also provides our recruiters the flexibility they need in a mobile, dynamic environment,” he said.

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