Is Amazon The Lone Frontrunner For A $10 Billion Pentagon Cloud Contract?

Casimiro PT/

Amazon Web Services may be the only vendor capable of meeting Defense Department requirements for its highly-anticipated cloud contract.

Next month, the Defense Department is expected to bid out a cloud contract worth as much as $10 billion over the next decade, and industry groups are concerned that only one company – Amazon Web Services – might have a shot at winning it.

Earlier this month, the Pentagon released draft requirements for its upcoming Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud procurement stipulating that competing companies must be certified to host data at secret and top-secret classification levels within nine months of the award.

Currently, Amazon Web Services – which has a $600 million contract with the CIA and recently began hosting classified Defense Department data through another contract – is the only company that meets those requirements for classified data.

The Defense Department’s requirements “will effectively prevent all but one vendor from bidding on this contract,” said the IT Alliance for Public Sector at the Information Technology Industry Council in comments made by the tech industry group to the Defense Department in response to the draft RFP.

While ITAPS' comments did not mention Amazon Web Services by name, it encouraged the Defense Department to consider a multi-cloud approach to its JEDI procurement. The Pentagon received more than 1,000 comments following its decision to award the contract to a single cloud provider. Last week, Congress directed the agency to justify its decision.  

The Defense Department began the process of designing an enterprisewide cloud procurement last year after a West Coast trip, including stops in tech hubs Seattle and Silicon Valley, by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and other top Pentagon officials.