Although the specific details of the contract are hidden, the NSA is reportedly looking to move away from its on-premise environment as it looks to bring in commercial cloud computing technology, according to Washington Technology. The security agency is reportedly pursuing a “Hybrid Compute Initiative” to see what data can be stored in a commercial cloud infrastructure.
Following the decision, Microsoft filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on 21 July, claiming that the NSA did not conduct a proper evaluation. The decision is expected back by 29 October.
"NSA recently awarded a contract for cloud computing services to support the Agency. The unsuccessful offerer has filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office. The Agency will respond to the protest in accordance with appropriate federal regulations," an NSA spokesperson told IT Pro.
A Microsoft spokesperson told Nextgov that the company was filing an administrative protest via the GAO. “We are exercising our legal rights and will do so carefully and responsibly," said the spokesperson.
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IT Pro contacted Amazon for comment, which has referred any questions to the NSA.
Last July, the Department of Defense (DoD) cancelled a $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) project and scrapped its Trump-backed contract with Microsoft. The deal had been challenged by Microsoft’s rival AWS, which alleged that former president Donald Trump had influenced DoD decisions during the bidding process in order to sabotage their chances.
As a replacement for the JEDI project, the DoD announced the Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability (JWCC), which is set to be “a multi-cloud/multi-vendor Indefinite Delivery-Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract” that will consider both AWS and Microsoft. Although there isn’t an estimated value of how much the project would cost, it's expected the first set of contracts would be awarded by April 2022.
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Zach Marzouk is a former ITPro, CloudPro, and ChannelPro staff writer, covering topics like security, privacy, worker rights, and startups, primarily in the Asia Pacific and the US regions. Zach joined ITPro in 2017 where he was introduced to the world of B2B technology as a junior staff writer, before he returned to Argentina in 2018, working in communications and as a copywriter. In 2021, he made his way back to ITPro as a staff writer during the pandemic, before joining the world of freelance in 2022.