NSA awards secretive $10bn ‘WildandStormy’ cloud contract to AWS

Microsoft has appealed against the decision over claims its own offer was not properly evaluated

The National Security Agency (NSA) has awarded Amazon a cloud computing contract codenamed ‘WildandStormy’ worth up to $10 billion, prompting an appeal from Microsoft.

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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