Amazon Web Services Picks Northern Virginia for East Coast HQ

An Amazon Web Services exhibition in Las Vegas in 2015.

An Amazon Web Services exhibition in Las Vegas in 2015. logoboom/

The expansion could bring as many as 1,500 jobs to the area.

Amazon Web Services, the nation’s largest cloud computing services provider, is expanding its Beltway presence with a new East Coast corporate headquarters that could add as many as 1,500 jobs.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe made the announcement Thursday, noting Virginia won out over Texas and Washington state, where AWS’ parent company, Amazon, is headquartered. AWS’ new building will be located at One Dulles Tower in Fairfax County, a location close to a growing base of federal customers and the MAE-East internet hub, a hotbed for data centers and telecommunications traffic.

“Any community would be thrilled to have this employer and this kind of corporate presence, and I am delighted the county’s IT base, workforce and quality of life offer the right mix for the company,” said Gerald L. Gordon, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, in a statement.

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AWS firmly established its government business in 2013 after winning a ground-breaking $600 million contract with the CIA, and its expansion is likely to further bolster its federal presence. An AWS spokesperson declined Nextgov’s request to disclose how many new jobs will pertain to its federal market, but the majority of the 500 employees added during its 2013 Fairfax County expansion dealt with its public-sector business.

Already, AWS’ public-sector business includes more than 2,300 federal, state and local government customers, including NASA, the Defense Department and all 17 agencies within the intelligence community.

Yet, this expansion coincides with a significant increase in government spending on cloud services.

President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2017 budget proposal calls for an additional $1.2 billion on provisioned services, meaning the government will spend an estimated $8.5 billion on cloud and similar services in the coming year. That accounts for almost 10 percent of the entire government’s IT spend.

In addition, AWS stands to gain additional federal customers as the government pushes a modernization effort. Bipartisan legislation currently in the Senate directs agencies to revamp old systems—some government systems are as many as five decades old—and explicitly calls for them to move services and applications to the cloud.