Army

May 16, 2014

‘Soldier for Life’ website to be new online home for retirees

Tags:
C. Todd Lopez
Army News Service

Retirees will continue to be able to access important information about the Army, and information pertaining to health, retirement, employment and education benefits online at www.soldierforlife.army.mil.

WASHINGTON — The Army’s “Soldier for Life” website, launched May 1, is designed to be a new online home for retired Soldiers.

The Army’s web portal “Army Knowledge Online” — better known as “AKO” — has been available to retirees and Family members for many years now. However, the Army is transitioning to a more secure enterprise network for business users — Soldiers, Army Civilians and contractors.

Retirees will continue to be able to access important information about the Army, and information pertaining to health, retirement, employment and education benefits online at www.soldierforlife.army.mil.

Mark Overberg, who serves as deputy chief of Army Retirement Services, said the new website will allow “ongoing communications with the retired community.”

In February, the Army Retirement Services office was moved under the newly created Soldier for Life program, Overberg said, because retired Soldiers are “a part of the whole Soldier lifecycle — the last part of the Soldier lifecycle.”

Right now on the website, retirees can also opt-in to receive a newsletter that lets them know what’s going on in the Army “with a primary focus on news that retired Soldiers care about,” Overberg said.

Email changes
On AKO, retirees and Family members had access to web-based email services that gave them a “.mil” email address. Currently retirees and Family members are no longer able to send email from their AKO accounts or read emails within the site. What they are still able to do, however, is instruct AKO to forward any emails they might receive there to a commercial account. The AKO website will continue forwarding emails to commercial accounts, until Dec. 31.

Overberg suggests retirees and Family members set up a free commercial email account to replace what AKO used to provide for them. He said after setting up such an account, they should notify Family, friends and professional contacts about the new email address.

Additionally, he said, retirees and Family members should contact any businesses or other websites where the AKO email address is a part of their contact information and update it to reflect the new email address.

One such site in particular to update, he said, is the Defense Finance and Accounting Service’s “MyPay” website, where retirees and Soldiers alike can look at their leave and earnings statements and other important documents.

To ensure DFAS can contact them, retired Soldiers should visit the “MyPay” site and ensure that a new or non-AKO email address is listed. Overberg said that today, some 500,000 Army retirees have MyPay accounts. Of those, he said, about 350,000 are still registered there with their AKO-provided email address. By not signing up for a commercial e-mail service and updating business account information, former AKO users risk not receiving important notifications.

Future upgrades under development
Right now, the Soldier for Life website is extremely new. Overberg said the site is only in “stage one” of its development. But he said there are several ideas about what will be brought aboard as the site’s development progresses into “phase two.”

Future upgrades to the Soldier for Life website might include a “white pages” feature similar to what was once available on AKO, Overberg said. The difference will be that the white pages-style directory will include only those retirees who “opted in” to the listing.

Also under consideration for inclusion in the next-generation of the site is a “Retired Soldiers Blog,” Overberg said. “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 said that those who can post comments to blog posts will be limited to those who have retired from the Army. “When somebody posts a comment, we’ll want to make sure they are a retired Soldier.”

Part of making that happen, he said, is ironing out the technical details of how to authenticate retired Soldiers on the site. That might include integration of services from DoD Self-service Logon.

Overberg also said that the Soldier for Life website has been designed to be easier to use than AKO. He said he has heard complaints from retirees that AKO was too complex — and so they stayed away from the site.

More than just retirees
The Soldier for Life program, and its website, is about more than just retirees. In fact, the retiree program was just recently folded into the SFL program.

“Soldier for Life,” is in fact about the entire “lifecycle” of being a Soldier: from the moment a Soldier shows up at basic training: “Start Strong;” to the day they arrive at their first command and begin their Army career: “Serve Strong;” to the moment they make the decision to transition from a uniform-wearing Soldier back into a productive member of civilian society: “Reintegrate Strong;” to the final separation or retirement from Army service and transition into an example in their community about what it means to be a Soldier: “Remain Strong.”

Lt. Col. Wenceslao Angulo, who serves as the communications and outreach director of the Army’s Soldier for Life program, said the SFL program and its website aims to serve those in all four phases of being a Soldier.

“We want to attract talented young men and women to join the Army,” he said.

“The new site provides current information and links to resources for all Soldiers, which include active duty, Army National Guard and Army Reserve,” Angulo added. “We also provide access to information and links to resources for those preparing to transition to Civilian life. Now with retirement services joining the Soldier for Life program, we can now provide services and information for those who have retired from the Army, but remain Soldiers for life.”

For more information about the AKO transition, go to http://ciog6.army.mil/AKOTransition/tabid/215/Default.aspx.

Retirees will continue to be able to access important information about the Army, and information pertaining to health, retirement, employment and education benefits online at www.soldierforlife.army.mil.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
photo-2

USAEPG responds to Army radio test needs

A dismounted tester and a Humvee with the SRW-A radio mounted inside collect evaluation data on the radio is shown with the Huachuca Mountains in the background on Dec. 12. The U.S. Army Electronic Proving Ground, USAEPG, recen...
 
 
U.S. Army photo

Army puts Gray Eagle, One System Remote Video Terminal through test

U.S. Army photo The MQ-1C Gray Eagle, the Army’s largest unmanned aircraft system in the inventory, recently underwent follow-on test and evaluation, which culminated June 14 at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Cal...
 
 
Natalie Lakosil

HT-JCOE commanders change during June 19 ceremony

From left, outgoing Commander Col. John Boucher, Human Intelligence Training Joint Center of Excellence; Maj. Gen. Robert Ashley, commanding general, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence and Fort Huachuca; and incoming C...
 

 

BLM Jackson Hotshots hosted at Fort Huachuca for portion of 2015 fire season

TUCSON, Ariz. — The only Bureau of Land Management (BLM) hotshot firefighting crew east of the Mississippi River will be based in southern Arizona for a portion of the 2015 fire season. The 20-member Jackson Hotshot crew from Jackson, Miss. will be housed in the Sierra Vista community thanks to a partnership between BLM and...
 
 

Fort Huachuca Exchange partners with Sears for savings

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is teaming up with Sears to offer military shoppers special savings on cleaning, home improvement and repair services. Fort Huachuca Exchange shoppers can now receive special offers on cleaning services including: carpets, upholstery, protector and deodorizer for carpet and upholstery, title and grout, air ducts, dryer vents and...
 
 
Mike Williams

Monsoon season is here — use caution when going outdoors

Mike Williams Water races across the road near the Bonnie Blink housing area on post during a monsoon storm last summer. Before crossing, be sure your vehicle has the clearance to make it through a wash if it has water in it. E...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>