On Sept. 20, the Army published its plan to modernize Army Knowledge Online (AKO). The plan transitions business users to a suite of more secure, interoperable Department of Defense (DOD) services. The improved security requires users to have Common Access Cards (CAC) embedded with users& #8217; personal digital certificates.
The Army will close all accounts for military and civilian retirees and family members, who do not have CACs.
The Army plans to close inactive retiree and family member AKO accounts on Dec. 31, 2013. These are accounts that have not had a password change in over 90 days and are not set to automatically forward email to another government account. The Army will also remove email storage for active retiree and family member accounts on this date.
On Mar. 31, 2014, the Army will close all remaining retiree and family member AKO accounts.
To ease the transition, the Army G-6 recently approved an exception to policy that allows retirees and family members to automatically forward their AKO email to a civilian email address until Dec. 31, 2014. However, retirees must set this up in their AKO account profiles before Dec. 31, 2013.
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 (https://www.mypay.dfas.mil/
- 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.
The Army has many sources of information that retirees may access in place of AKO. The Army home page (www.army.mil) provides official Army news and information and links to Army social media sites (Army Facebook , Army Twitter, Army YouTube and Army Flickr.) It also includes links to Army images, audio, video, presentations, and Army Live, the official Army blog. The U.S. Army Installation Management Command’s home page (www.imcom.army.mil) includes links to individual installations and garrisons that provide local information and services to retirees. The Army’s official benefits website is MyArmyBenefits (https://myarmybenefits.us.
The Army plan indicated that retirees may share files using free and pa id commercial services. The plan also noted retirees
may join comment forums at military service organization and commercial websites.
For updated information on the AKO transition, visit http://www.eis.army.mil/ako.
Official U.S. Army Internet Sources
- Army Home page: www. army.mil
- News: http://www.army.mil/news/
- Early Bird: http://ebird.osd.mil/ebird2/
- Information: http://www.army.mil/info/
- Benefits: https://myarmybenefits.us.
- Audio/video: http://www.army.mil/media/amp/
- Mobile phone apps: http://www.army.mil/mobile/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/US army
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/USArmy/
- YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/usarmy
- Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/
- Soldiers Magazine: http://soldiers.dodlive.mil/
- Army Live Blog: http://armylive.dodlive.mil/
- Stand To!: http://www.army.mil/standto/
DS Logon now a must for most retirees
WASHINGTON — The Department of Defense Self-Service Logon (DS Logon) is a relatively new, secure, self-service logon ID that allows Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) members and affiliates access to real-time, personalized information on government websites using a single username and password.
When the Army closes the last retiree and family member Army Knowledge Online (AKO) accounts on Mar. 31, 2014, DS Logon will be the only method for these users t o access their personal information on secure DOD and VA websites. Users must be enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) to obtain a DS Logon username and password. Currently, the following groups of people can obtain a DS Logon account:
- •Service members (active duty, Guard/Reservists, retirees) • Spouses (including surviving spouses)
- Veterans • Eligible family members (18 and over)
There are two types of DS Logon accounts: a Basic Account and a Premium Account.
- A Basic Account can be obtained online without verification of your identity, but it provides only limited access to website features. Personal information in VA or DOD systems cannot be accessed. The main advantage of a basic account is that it enables you to upgrade more quickly to a premium account when you go in person to a VA Regional Office or a TRICARE Service Center.
- A Premium Account allows users to access websites that contain their personal information.
Applications currently using DS Logon include the VA’s eBenefits portal; TRICARE Online portals; Beneficiary Web Enrollment;
MilConnect: Transferability of Education Benefits; Health Net Federal Services; Humana Military; MyTricare.com; and TRICAREoverseas.com to name a few. DS Logon will be the primary method of authentication for all DOD and VA websites in the not-too distant future.
There are several ways to obtain a DS Logon account. The quickest and most convenient method of obtaining a premium account is to complete the “remote proofing process” at https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/appj/
Commo n Access Card (CAC) holders may upgrade their accounts immediately using their CAC.
Individuals who do not have a CAC and who cannot complete the remote proofing process may request an activation code from the Defense Manpower Data Center if they have a myPay account established at DFAS.
Users who cannot complete any of these preferred processes may obtain a DS Logon premium account by visiting a VA Regional
Office or a TRICARE Service Center, l ocations of which can be found on the “DS Logon – My Access Center” at https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/appj/
AKO transition affects retirees and annuitants’ myPay accounts
By Mark Ove rberg, Deputy Chief, Army Retirement Services
The pending Army Knowledge Online (AKO) transition will affect over 350,000 retirees and annuitants’ myPay accounts. These Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) accounts include AKO email addresses that will not function when the Army closes the last retiree and family member AKO accounts on Mar. 31, 2014.
Unless they update their myPay accounts, these retirees and annuitants will no longer receive email communications from DFAS. These communications include notices about monthly retiree account statements, annual income tax forms, and other important information.
To update your email address, log in to myPay at https://mypay.dfas.mil/mypay.
Finally, click “Accept/Submit.”
If you do not have a myPay account, you can register for one at https://mypay.dfas.mil/mypay.
or have questions, call myPay at (888) 332-7411.