WASHINGTON — Air Force workers soon will get new e-mail addresses, but they won’t have to ditch their old ones just yet.

Starting next month, the Air Force Communications Agency will assign universal addresses to all airmen, civilian employees and contract workers. The new format will be the user name followed by the “” extension, instead of including the user’s base in the address.

For example, an airman at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware with the current address would be assigned in the new system.

But for now the new e-mail addresses won’t take the place of current ones, according to Capt. Jason Fields, E-mail for Life project officer. Instead, the new address will simply act as a forwarding device, passing electronic messages to users’ existing inboxes.

“We’re battling the misconception that this new e-mail address is replacing the old system,” he said. “This should be completely transparent to our users. They can still use their current e-mail.”

Fields said the work is part of efforts to simplify the service’s e-mail system, and gives all airmen a chance to take their online address with them, regardless of assignment, for as long as they’re in the service.

“So now, if I change bases, I don’t need to teach grandmom a whole new address to e-mail me at,” he said. “I can give the new address to my insurance company and not worry about it changing as I move.”

All of the new e-mails will follow the first name, last name format; Fields said users can’t request nicknames or middle names for use in the address.

For airmen and employees with the same name, e-mails will be given based on seniority. Gen. Joe Smith would receive the address while Staff Sgt. Joe Smith would be assigned an additional number, such as

For contractors, the addresses will follow the same format but include a .ctr extension after their name.

About 3,000 airmen already have been given their new addresses as part of a pilot program.

Fields said over the next two months officials will notify the nearly 800,000 other users about their new e-mail option, and hope to update the Air Force Global Address List by midsummer.

Eventually, the new addresses will completely replace the location-themed e-mails, but Fields said no time line has been announced for that change.

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