Military Green Lights Amazon Cloud for Defensewide Use

Gil C /

Decision based on FedRAMP tests and additional security controls.

The Pentagon has authorized Amazon Web Services to rent computing space to all Defense Department components, company officials announced on Wednesday. The decision was based on past security tests conducted through the governmentwide Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, as well as an evaluation of additional Defense-specific protections.

Any contractor hoping to sell government agencies cloud services must pass FedRAMP by June. Approval signifies a system is safe for use governmentwide and comes with a reusable set of documented tests to prove it. Some agencies that determine FedRAMP protections, such as, perhaps, antivirus scans, do not meet their security needs can add more controls. The Pentagon is one such customer.

The Defense Information Systems Agency assessed Amazon Web Services' "compliance with those additional security controls and approved AWS cloud computing services, reducing the time necessary for DoD agencies to evaluate and authorize the use of the AWS cloud," company officials said in a statement. 

Various military components already use Amazon products, including the Navy and Air Force. The new sanction is intended to save other military organizations time and money on installing Amazon's services. 

“After receiving an overwhelming response from defense agencies interested in leveraging our FedRAMP Authority to Operate, we’re very excited to further extend our services to the government community by meeting the additional requirements of the DoD,” Teresa Carlson, Amazon vice president for worldwide public sector, said in a statement. 

In November, Defense selected Autonomic Resources as the first-ever FedRAMP-certified cloud provider.

Last week, DISA announced the launch of a new cloud computing purchasing service -- milCloud -- through which agencies can order from commercial Web hosting vendors. 

(Image via Gil C /