NSA re-awards $10B WildandStormy cloud computing contract to AWS

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The National Security Agency has re-awarded its $10 billion WildandStormy cloud computing contract to Amazon Web Services.

The contract award comes after the Government Accountability Office in December last year found that the agency had improperly assessed technical proposals from Microsoft and recommended that it reassess the procurement.

In a statement, an NSA spokesperson said: “NSA recently awarded a contract to Amazon Web Services that delivers cloud computing services to support the Agency’s mission. This contract is a continuation of NSA’s Hybrid Compute Initiative to modernize and address the robust processing and analytical requirements of the Agency.”

They added: “The same cloud services were 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 reevaluated the proposals and made a new best value decision.”

The NSA’s Hybrid Compute Initiative is understood to be a program run by the security agency to assess what sensitive national security data can be stored in commercial cloud infrastructure.

GAO in its prior bid dispute decision found that it was unreasonable for NSA to view the role of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) as an approving authority gateway for top secret and unclassified services that would be provided under WildandStormy as a weakness for Microsoft.

According to the watchdog’s opinion, NSA objected to DISA’s role as an authorizing agency because it had concerns that services on Microsoft’s cloud environment may not be processed according to NSA priorities.

GAO at the time also found that NSA’s assessment of cloud network latency calculations unfairly benefitted Amazon Web Services. Despite sustaining this element of the protest, the watchdog denied Microsoft’s argument that NSA unreasonably evaluated offerors’ management proposals. It dismissed also Microsoft’s protest that the agency failed to evaluate price proposals on a common basis, saying that this was an untimely challenge.

An AWS spokesperson said: “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.”

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AWS, Government Accountability Office (GAO), intelligence community (IC), Microsoft, National Security Agency (NSA)
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