As the Army launched this week its new Soldier for Life website for retired soldiers, it eliminated access for retirees and their families to a .mil email account on the Army Web portal Army Knowledge Online, better known as AKO. Retirees can access information about health, retirement, employment and educational benefits from soldierforlife.army.mil, and have until December 31 to have their .mil emails forwarded from their AKO accounts to an account set up on a commercial site, officials said in a news release.
Officials urged retirees and families to alert businesses and organizations of new email address information, particularly the Defense Finance and Accounting Service’s MyPay website, where retirees and soldiers access their leave and earnings statements and other important documents. Roughly 500,000 Army retirees have MyPay accounts, and of those, about 350,000 are registered with AKO-provided email address, says Mark E. Overberg, deputy chief of Army Retirement Services. Soldier for Life is still in stage one of its development, but Overberg says there are several ideas for upgrades and changes as the site’s development progresses into phase two. Upgrades might include a “white pages” feature similar to AKO, though listing only retirees who opt in to the listing. Another upgrade under consideration is a “Retired Soldiers Blog.” “The intent of this blog will be to provide a three-way communication: the Army to retired soldiers, retired soldiers to the Army and retired soldiers to other retired soldiers,” Overberg says.