WASHINGTON — Retirees and Family members should activate the forwarding function in their Army Knowledge Online account profile before Dec. 31, when their email will no longer be accessible.

As of Jan. 1, 2014, they cannot log into their inboxes or reach information and messages archived in Army Knowledge Online, known as AKO, email folders.

As part of the Army’s AKO transition to enterprise services, Army retirees and Family members can have their AKO email automatically forwarded to a commercial email address until Dec. 31, 2014. In the past, users could only forward AKO email to a government email address.

Users may need to update business and billing accounts, such as utilities, credit card companies, banks and other financial institutions, mailing lists, etc., if AKO email was used for these accounts.

Retirees may need to update their myPay email address to continue getting messages from the Defense and Accounting System.

Retirees and Family members who use AKO email as their primary email should sign up for an alternate email account before Dec. 31, and have email forwarded.

Through Department of Defense Self-Service Logon or DSLogon, retirees and Family members continue to have access to personnel and benefits information on Department of Defense and Veterans Administration, websites. During the transition, AKO email addresses can be used to logon to DoD and VA websites until Mar. 31, 2014.

Starting in April, these websites can only be accessed through DSLogon or an alternate method.

All Soldiers (active duty, Guard/Reserve, retirees, veterans) and eligible Family members can obtain a DSLogon account, which allows access using a single username and password. DSLogon complies with federal security guidelines and provides a secure user experience. Users must be enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System to obtain an account.

For sites not currently using DSLogon, such as MyPay, users must establish an individual username and password.

The Army remains committed to virtually connect with all retirees and Family members. The Army public website, www.army.mil, remains the source of official Army news, information, and social media. It is accessible from any location and on any device.

All Army business processes will move off the current AKO platform onto next-generation enterprise services over the course of several years; migration is expected by fiscal year 2017.

The Army is currently modernizing the AKO infrastructure and services to become more interoperable across DoD, to lower cost and to improve efficiency and security. The Army is moving toward enterprise services for collaboration, content management, and unified capabilities (including chat, voice and video over IP), which all draw on the identity service underpinning DoD Enterprise Email.

AKO and many official Army sites will only be accessible via the government-issued common access card, known as a CAC. Because retirees and Family members are not eligible for CACs, they will no longer have access to AKO.

The Army established AKO in the late 1990s to provide online information services for U.S. Army personnel, and then later extended some AKO services to retirees and family members. Services have included email, collaboration, discussion forums, a directory, and direct access to many DoD and VA websites.