Army resumes enterprise email migration to DISA cloud

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The Army in March plans to restart its enterprise email migration to a cloud service provided by the Defense Information Systems Agency following a top-level review and congressional notification last week.

The 2012 National Defense Authorization Act President Obama signed on Dec. 31, 2011, zeroed out funding for the enterprise email project in 2012, designated it a formal acquisition program to be overseen by the service's acquisition executive and directed the secretary of the Army to examine other, unspecified alternatives.

Mike Krieger, deputy chief information officer, said in a blog post Feb. 17 Army Secretary John McHugh certified the service's acquisition approach for enterprise email, noting it "is in the best technical and financial interests of the Army, and provides for the maximum amount of competition possible."

The Army designated its enterprise email project a formal acquisition program on Jan. 25 and delivered its report to Congress on Feb. 16; the migration will restart on March 17.

The service kicked off the email project, based on Microsoft Exchange 2010 Enterprise Email, in February 2011. The Army planned to shift 1.4 million unclassified and 200,000 classified accounts by the end of 2011, but had transferred only 300,000 accounts by then.

The Army expects to save $100 million a year by switching to the cloud-based enterprise email system, which also will provide end users more capability, including an increase in mailbox storage from 100 megabytes to 4 gigabytes on the new system. One gigabyte of storage can hold about as much information as can be saved on paper in two, four-drawer file cabinets -- roughly 20,000 pages.

Defense Department Chief Information officer Teri Takai said in her November 2011 report on Pentagon data center consolidation that she wants to develop an enterprise email solution for the entire department. DISA said in July 2011 that the Africa, European, Northern, Strategic and Transportation commands all have agreed to use its enterprise email system.