FORT LEE, Va (March 17, 2011) -Like everyone else in the .mil domain, Team Lee members know the frustration of "mailbox over size limit" and the tiresome task of weeding out e-mails so regular message traffic can resume. Well, that's about to change when the Army Enterprise E-mail Migration comes to the rescue this year.

With the new system that's being touted as bigger and thus better, all Army e-mail users will migrate to an enterprise e-mail service. Instead of accessing e-mail through local e-mail servers at each installation, they will reach through a network to access e-mail services from centralized servers known as the Department of Defense cloud.

The migration of e-mail services to the Defense Information System Agency is part of a larger DoD effort to consolidate information technology services, improve capabilities and reduce overall costs. Among the improvements are larger e-mail boxes - 40 times bigger. New services include the following: four gigabytes of online e-mail storage (replacing the current 100 megabyte limit); ability to access e-mail from anywhere, at any time, from any authorized device; uninterrupted e-mail service during permanent change of station moves and unit relocations; ability to send e-mail with larger attachments than currently allowed and the ability to share individual, organization and resource calendars across the enterprise.

In February, about 2,000 selected e-mail users from the Chief of Information Officer/G-6, Network Enterprise Technology Command began the migration, said Brig. Gen. LaWarren Patterson, commanding general 7th Signal Command.

"That first step allowed the Army to refine the migration process and ensure a smooth transition," Patterson said.

Following the first successful migration with the G-6, Headquarters Department of the Army began its switch. Migration for the rest of the Army is set for this month, with Army-wide completion set for the end of the year.

Migration refers to the automated process of copying current e-mail and calendar data from each user's local e-mail account to his or her enterprise e-mail account. The process normally occurs overnight at a time coordinated with each unit to minimize the operational impact. Old data will remain on existing servers so that it can be recovered and reutilized if an unexpected problems occurs.

As the migration moves forward, affected personnel are being notified with e-mails explaining the steps they need to take before their e-mail accounts are migrated.

Users' e-mail addresses will change to first name.middle inital.last name (numbers for similar names), e.g. john.j.smith123@mail.mil. Uniformed service members will also have an @us.army.mil alias. Other services will have their own alias. Each account will use the appropriate "persona extension" identifying the persona for the specific account (.mil, .civ, .ctr, etc.) This extension is critical for users with multiple personas (such as a military reservist who is also a contractor) in order to distinguish between their accounts and to meet DoD requirements.

Mail sent to previous e-mail addresses will be received for at least six months after the new account is activated.

Soldiers, DA civilians and contractors will be able to access their e-mail from any government-managed computer, using their common access card for authentication. The process does not require users to get a new CAC.

Network changes may seem like a long and complicated process, but it's the new Army chief information officer's highest priority.

"Right now, the network is the Army's number one modernization effort," said Maj. Gen. Susan Lawrence, Army chief information officer. "We want a network that can provide Soldiers and civilians information of all categories and forms, as well as a means to collaborate in real time, at the exact moment required, in any environment, under all circumstances."

The start date for Fort Lee's migration has not yet been determined. For more information about the migration, visit www.us.army.mil/suite/page/646647.

(Siobhan Carlile contributed to this report.)