AWS bags victory over Microsoft in fight for $10bn NSA contract

The Pentagon
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Amazon Web Services (AWS) has bagged a $10 billion contract from the US National Security Agency (NSA), besting rival Microsoft.

The contract, codenamed "Wild and Stormy," has been the subject of many heated back and forth disputes between regulators and tech giants concerning who gets to handle the all-important Pentagon cloud business.

The contract was first awarded to AWS in July 2021, according to The Register, a move which was protested by rival bidder Microsoft.

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) forced the National Security Agency (NSA) to reconsider the bids from both parties after it was deemed the NSA had "unreasonably evaluated [the] offerors' technical proposals”, but AWS has now been selected once again.

JEDI successor

The “Wild and Stormy” contract was preceded by the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) IT contract, which was cancelled by the Pentagon after protests from AWS and Oracle, following it being granted to Microsoft in 2019.

The sizeable win comes after a period of uninterrupted success for AWS, as the demand for various cloud services (from computing to storage and databases) show no signs of slowing down.

Amazon's cloud division continues to be a key money maker, representing 74% of the company’s operating profit of $62 billion, at $24.9 billion.

“NSA recently awarded a contract to Amazon Web Services that delivers cloud computing services to support the Agency’s mission,” said an NSA spokesperson. “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 same cloud services 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 re-evaluated the proposals and made a new best value decision.”

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."

Microsoft did not offer a statement on the win.

Will McCurdy has been writing about technology for over five years. He has a wide range of specialities including cybersecurity, fintech, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, cloud computing, payments, artificial intelligence, retail technology, and venture capital investment. He has previously written for AltFi, FStech, Retail Systems, and National Technology News and is an experienced podcast and webinar host, as well as an avid long-form feature writer.