Magazine article National Defense

Demand Skyrockets for Army Knowledge Online

Magazine article National Defense

Demand Skyrockets for Army Knowledge Online

Article excerpt

Membership in the Army's Internet portal surged dramatically in the months leading to the war in Iraq and access requests to its classified-only network tripled during the conflict.

Field commanders in Iraq restricted troops from logging on to non-military Internet services. That made Army Knowledge Online the only game in town, noted Maj. C.J. Wallington, who manages AKO operations for the Army.

In the absence of Yahoo, MSN or AOL instant messaging, "it was AKO IM or nothing," said Wallington.

"From an OPSEC [operational security] standpoint, we were a big success," he said. Membership in the classified-only network, called AKO-S, almost tripled in the last six months, largely due to requirements associated with Operation Iraqi Freedom, Wallington said.

AKO-S stands for SIPRNET (secret internet protocol router network). Last October, AKO-S had 11,445 subscribers. By early May, it had 35,560.

The system has 128-bit encryption. "It's the best in the industry," said Wallington.

Altogether, AKO services more than 1.3 million users, including about 98 percent of the active-duty Army, and 68 percent of the Reserve and National Guard. …

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