Why some Army users had email problems this week
WASHINGTON — Some Army users suffered through an email outage that began Wednesday and lasted until Friday morning, Defense Department IT leaders said Oct. 22.
Officials did not answer questions regarding the scope of the outage or number of users affected.
“The Army was experiencing problems with some emails being sent to and from unclassified [Department of Defense] DoD and external systems. Our DoD partners have since resolved this issue,” Bruce Anderson, Army spokesman, said in a statement.
The Defense Information Systems Agency, which runs the Pentagon’s global IT infrastructure, said it was first notified of a problem Wednesday.
“On Wednesday afternoon, DISA was notified of widespread DoD365-J and Army 365 email queuing. DISA worked tirelessly to quickly resolve these issues and as of this morning, normal operations have been restored and all emails have been delivered.” a DISA spokesperson said.
The outage came amid the service’s transition from Defense Information Systems Agency webmail to a newly-licensed Microsoft Office 365 mail client as part of a wider adoption of web-based Microsoft products sparked by the Covid pandemic.
Many Army users took to social media to vent their frustrations about the outage.
A message sent out to some affected users Thursday said that “all external email flow to both [Army] 365 and [DoD] 365 tenants are down,” including mail forwarding between the old mail.mil email servers and the new ones.
Not all of the Army’s email tenants were affected, though, including the specialized platform used for U.S. Special Operations Command-aligned units.
Previously, the Army had announced the movement toward what it is calling Army365, which pushes the service onto a more permanent footing from the measures taken at the outset of the Covid pandemic allowing greater access to network services for remote work.
Set to replace the Commercial Virtual Remote (CVR)/Microsoft Teams capability, which was mandated to end by June 15, A365 relies on Microsoft 365 and aims to improve operational effectiveness, increase cybersecurity and provide the opportunity to eliminate other collaboration capabilities, according to an Army information sheet on the effort.
Broadly, the new system will provide video and voice teleconferencing, email, instant messaging and access to shared drives.
A365 will occur in three phases: Phase 1, which is the Teams migration and begins with an entire Army-wide transition; Phase 2, which is the email migration and will move the Defense Enterprise Email system A365 beginning in fourth quarter of Fiscal Year 2021; and Phase 3, which is the SharePoint migration and is expected to finish during fiscal 2022.