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CIA Plans Cloud Contract Awards To Multiple Providers: Reports

The agency plans to hire multiple companies to provide cloud infrastructure and PaaS and SaaS solutions, according to a draft request for proposals presented to technology companies.

The Central Intelligence Agency has issued a draft solicitation for its multi-award, commercial cloud computing services contract, according to published reports.

The contracted services would build upon the CIA’s $600 million, 2013 contract award for Amazon Web Services to build a private cloud infrastructure for the agency. The agency plans to hire multiple companies to provide cloud infrastructure and PaaS and SaaS solutions, Bloomberg and Nextgov reported today after viewing a draft request for proposals presented to technology companies.

The CIA declined to comment on the draft solicitation.

The draft solicitation does not designate how much the contracts would be worth, but the CIA previously stated that it planned to spend “tens of billions” of dollars on cloud computing. The new contracts, expected to be awarded in September, could reach terms of up to 15 years, with a five-year base period and two five-year renewals. Bidding technology companies would be judged on factors including their global reach, innovation and operational excellence.

The CIA’s use of commercial cloud providers in lieu of developing its own cloud capabilities has proved a faster way to address intelligence community needs and “facilitate the adoption of innovation happening in the commercial marketplace,” Bloomberg reported, citing the CIA’s request for proposals.

Under the CIA’s Commercial Cloud Enterprise (C2E) initiative, or C2E, tech companies would host intelligence data with security requirements ranging from unclassified to secret and top secret, Bloomberg said.

Unlike the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), which awarded its $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud computing contract to modernize the military IT infrastructure to a single cloud vendor – Microsoft – the CIA believes “multi-cloud architectures allow cloud services to be selected based on development strategy and project objective,” according to the solicitation documents state.

“In a multi-cloud ecosystem, the government will gain advantages from use of each (cloud service provider’s) unique area of investment in technology, cybersecurity strategy and best practices,” the documents state.

AWS is contesting the DoD’s JEDI contract award to Microsoft, citing a flawed selection process that it says was corrupted by alleged political interference from the White House and Presidential Donald Trump, who has shown disdain for Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, owner of The Washington Post. AWS’ appeal is proceeding through the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

The CIA, meanwhile, has praised its cloud partnership with AWS.

“The cloud on its weakest day is more secure than a client-server solution,” according to Sean Roche, the CIA’s associate deputy director of digital innovation. “It’s been nothing short of transformational. It has transformed our ability to build new capabilities.”

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