NSA re-awards secret $10 billion contract to Amazon

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Amazon Web Services beat out Microsoft for the contract after a bid protest battle.

The National Security Agency has re-awarded a once-secret cloud computing contract worth up to $10 billion to Amazon Web Services, an NSA official confirmed to Nextgov Wednesday.

Codenamed “Wild and Stormy,” the contract was first awarded to AWS in July 2021 and subsequently protested by tech giant Microsoft, which also competed for the contract. While the Government Accountability Office sided with Microsoft on its protest in October and recommended the NSA reevaluate proposals from both companies, the NSA ultimately selected AWS again.

“NSA recently awarded a contract to Amazon Web Services that delivers cloud computing services to support the agency’s mission,” an NSA spokesperson told Nextgov. “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 NSA spokesperson added that, consistent with GAO’s decision, the agency “reevaluated the proposals and made a new best value decision” in selecting AWS.  

"We’re 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," an AWS spokesperson told Nextgov in a statement. 

For almost ten years, the NSA has moved its data, including signals intelligence and other foreign surveillance and intelligence information it ingests from multiple repositories around the globe, into this internally operated data lake, against which analysts from the NSA and other IC agencies can run queries and perform analytics.

The Wild and Stormy contract is part of the NSA’s years-long modernization of its Hybrid Compute Initiative, which aims to move some of NSA’s crown jewel intelligence data from internal servers to those operated by a cloud service provider—in this case, AWS.

AWS, the most profitable business unit within Amazon, has won several major cloud computing contracts in the defense and intelligence communities, dating back almost a decade. AWS first inked a $600 million cloud contract with the CIA called C2S in 2013, through which it provided cloud services to the CIA and sister intelligence agencies, including the NSA. Last year, AWS secured at least a portion of the CIA’s multibillion-follow-on C2E contract. AWS was also one of four companies—including Google, Microsoft and Oracle—that were named by the Pentagon as contenders for the DOD’s $9 billion Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability contract. Those companies have been asked to submit proposals for the contract.

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