The US Army is making a big change in the way it handles communications and collaboration with the adoption of Google Workspace for more than 180,000 personnel. The move comes after email licensing shortfalls and other information technology issues within the organization. The service began quietly testing the collaboration suite with a select group six months ago and began publicly rolling it out to troops three months ago.
Army Undersecretary Gabe Camarillo recently stated that the Google platform has been successful so far and that there have been no significant hiccups, glitches or compatibility issues. The platform was initially considered as a solution for troops who lost access to official email accounts during the transition from Defense Enterprise Email and mail.mil addresses to the Army 365 system.
When the service transitioned to Army 365, it moved to an individual-license model but quickly realized there would not be enough Microsoft licenses to cover all of its workforce. Officials initially considered having junior personnel forgo official email access, but that plan was dismissed in favor of an “alternate email solution”. Google Workspace was able to provide that solution and now has IL4 authorization, a security requirement related to the handling of critical infrastructure, defense, intelligence, finance and proprietary business information.
The adoption of Google Workspace by the Army is a new front in the ongoing competition between tech giants Google and Microsoft. Some observers worry about the administrative complexities that may arise from juggling personnel between different programs, but for now it seems that the Army is satisfied with the change.