Army Launches Online Info Portal

The Army has launched a new intranet portal, Army Knowledge Online, which will direct personalized information to all 1.2 million active duty, reserve, civilian and National Guard personnel, Appian Corp. of Arlington, Va., announced Nov. 7.

U.S. troops around the world are now connected through the AKO site, which enables communication and knowledge transfer between service men and women at home and in the field.

GTSI Corp. of Chantilly, Va., is the prime contractor on the job, which is worth more than $60 million, according to Col. Bob Coxe, chief technology officer for the Army. GTSI supplied hardware; Appian implemented the solution using its portal software.

Other subcontractors include Art Technology Group Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., which provided software, and Oracle Corp. of Redwood Shores, Calif., which provided the database.

The first AKO portal launched in 1999, but had far fewer capabilities than the new portal, Coxe said. The new portal brings together in one place all applications used for the Army's daily operations. It allows Army personnel and their superiors to target information to others according to their station, orders, position and many other attributes. It also allows personnel to search for expertise across the Army and gather in online communities to share information.

"The ultimate benefit is that we are able to act as an enterprise, not as little stovepipes," Coxe said.

The portal may be the world's biggest Intranet, according to Matthew Calkins, chief executive officer of Appian.

"Few organizations are capable of fielding such a system," he said.

All Army personnel have been ordered to participate in the portal. So far, 650,000 have signed up, Coxe said. Up to 10,000 new users are added each day, Calkins said.

Development of the portal was accelerated, particularly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, Calkins said. After five months of development, the portal went live with the ability to support all 1.2 million personnel, without a customary ramp-up period, he said.

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