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AWS Wins Out Over Microsoft For $10B NSA Cloud Contract

Microsoft had previously challenged the National Security Agency’s decision to award the contract to Amazon’s cloud unit.

Amazon Web Services was awarded once again with a National Security Agency cloud computing contract worth up to $10 billion, a deal once challenged by rival Microsoft.

The contract, code-named WildandStormy, was first awarded to top cloud provider AWS in July 2021. Nextgov first reported Wednesday on the awarding of the contract.

The NSA, in a statement to CRN, confirmed the contract award.

“NSA recently awarded a contract to Amazon Web Services that delivers cloud computing services to support the Agency’s mission,” an NSA spokesperson said. “This contract is a continuation of NSA’s Hybrid Compute Initiative to modernize and address the robust processing and analytical requirements of the Agency. The same cloud services competed last year and the previously awarded contract was protested to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The GAO sustained that protest in October 2021. Consistent with the decision in that case, the Agency has re-evaluated the proposals and made a new best value decision.”

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An AWS spokesperson said the Amazon cloud unit was “honored that after thorough review, the NSA selected AWS as the cloud provider for the Hybrid Compute Initiative, and we’re ready to help deliver this critical national security capability.”

Microsoft declined to comment on the NSA’s decision.

Microsoft’s protest of the NSA contract award to AWS last year followed the U.S. Department of Defense’s decision to cancel its potentially $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud computing contract that Microsoft won in October 2019. That contract was mired in litigation filed by AWS, which also had competed for it. AWS had obtained a temporary restraining order in February 2020 that halted Microsoft work on the contact.

The DOD on July 6 said that it had determined that “due to evolving requirements, increased cloud conversancy and industry advances, the JEDI cloud contract no longer meets its needs.”

Saying it still requires enterprise-scale cloud capabilities, the DOD announced a new multivendor contract—the Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability. It plans to solicit proposals for the contract from a “limited number of sources”—namely Microsoft and AWS—“as available market research indicates that these two vendors are the only cloud service providers capable of meeting the department’s requirements.” The DOD, however, noted in its pre-solicitation notice that it planned to research whether any other U.S.-based hyperscalers could also meet its requirements.

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