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Gmail patch for junior soldiers? Army Launches Beta Version of Google Email

WASHINGTON — The US military has quietly begun testing Google Workspace as an alternative email option and potential fix to the service’s previous computer problems.

The platform is intended to serve junior troops who may have lost access to official email accounts amid a choppy transition from Defense Enterprise Email and its mail.mil caters to the Army 365 system, which involves Microsoft-based products, according to a source familiar with the matter. The new Army 365 suite includes an Army.mil but the military has decided that not all soldiers need it.

According to documents and briefings obtained by Army Times last year, about 250,000 people — mostly junior enlisted soldiers — were not included in the service’s Army 365 licensing plan, sources said. describing the decision as cost driven. The service publicly pledged to maintain official email access for these members by creating an “alternative email solution” after the Army Times reported that it had considered eliminating their email altogether.

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The so-called fix didn’t materialize quickly, however, and the military pressed the Defense Information Security Agency, or DISA, to extend the life of the old messaging platform as a stopgap measure to ” transition “. Soldiers reported growing problems accessing official emails in the months that followed, with many saying their accounts had been terminated altogether.

But now Google has pledged to provide services covering the lack of license, said the source familiar with the decision, who also confirmed that testing began this week. Army Times reported in March that Google was a likely candidate for the project.

Questions posed to the military late Wednesday night went unanswered at the time this article was published.

The Google Workspace trial is currently a limited test for some troops. But it represents the company’s big stab at the Department of Defense’s Goliath software. Competitor Microsoft has a long history of working with the Pentagon, providing services and products ranging from cloud computing to the HoloLens – the bedrock of the troubled situation. Built-in visual augmentation system.

Last year, the DoD reached out to Google, Microsoft, Oracle and Amazon regarding the Joint Combat Cloud Capability, the sequel to the infamous JEDI venture, noting that only a few companies could meet the program’s heavy demands. Proposals are currently under review, and an award is expected in December.

In November, Google announced that its Workspace product had achieved FedRAMP High clearance, a security standard for protecting the federal government’s most sensitive unclassified information in cloud computing environments.

In the same announcement, the company said it had obtained Impact Level 4, or IL4, clearance from DISA, allowing controlled unclassified information to be used on Google Cloud services.

Both certifications broadened Google’s horizons and likely made possible its recent foray into the military.

Davis Winkie is a senior reporter covering the military, specializing in accountability reports, personnel issues, and military justice. He joined Military Times in 2020. Davis studied history at Vanderbilt University and UNC-Chapel Hill, writing a master’s thesis on how the Cold War-era Department of Defense influenced Hollywood films of World War II.

Colin Demarest is a reporter at C4ISRNET, where he covers military networking, cyber and computing. Colin previously covered the Department of Energy and its NNSA — namely the Cold War cleanup and the development of nuclear weapons — for a South Carolina daily. Colin is also an award-winning photographer.

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