The NSA has awarded Amazon Web Services a secret contract worth up to $10 billion. The contract, codenamed “WildandStormy”, is said to be part of the NSA’s efforts to modernize the Intelligence Community GovCloud. That is its primary classified data repository.
The tendering process around the contract and the particulars of the contract itself are still very much under wraps. The morsels of information available come from a protest filing made by Microsoft.
This is a flipping of the script, as earlier this year Microsoft lost a contract from the Department of Defence. Amazon disputed the awarding of this JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) contract.
The department’s stated reasoning, however, was that its cloud computing needs have changed.
The Cloud Wars
Last year the CIA awarded contracts to multiple companies, including Microsoft and Amazon in an attempt to bring these service providers into the US intelligence community.
It appears the US government is consolidating and strengthening its cloud capabilities by incorporating the expertise and technology of the biggest cloud service providers out there.
A smart move on all accounts, given the ever-increasing utility of cloud services. Plus the added security they provide in a time when cyber warfare is becoming a reality.
The US government is collaborating with private entities in other digital areas as well. A cyber defense center was established in NYC earlier this year, to combat ransomware attacks.
Private entities often outpace governmental departments when it comes to rolling out new tech, cloud storage, infrastructure innovations, etc. A more direct partnership will see tech adopted faster by the government and will add private expertise in-house.
While the government appears set on consolidation, the private sector still has some work to do when it comes to cooperation, if the back and forth between Microsoft and Amazon is anything to go by.
Details on this contract are still scarce. However, Microsoft’s protest, filed with the Government Accountability Office, means the plot will certainly thicken soon.