San Francisco, NFAPost: In another tussle of titans in the technology landscape, Microsoft has challenged the National Security Agency’s (NSA) decision to award a lucrative cloud-computing contract to Amazon.
According to the report, Microsoft filed the protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the federal agency tasked with probing government spending decisions. It came after the NSA gave Amazon Web Services the deal, Nextgov reported, citing the protest documents.
Microsoft said the security agency did not conduct a thorough evaluation before awarding the contract, according to Washington Technology, which first reported the filing.
According to news reports, the NSA’s new project, codenamed WildandStormy, could be worth up to $10 billion. Although there are few details about the program, a top intelligence official has previously said that the NSA plans to move more of its data onto commercial cloud platforms.
John Sherman, acting Chief Information Officer for the Department of Defense (DoD), said in February 2020 that the NSA wanted to move its data from some sites, and use vendors for managed cloud services as part of its “Hybrid Compute Initiative.”
The new protest filing comes after years of wrangling between two tech giants over the DoD’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract. In 2019, the DoD granted Microsoft the $10 billion contract, which Amazon argued former President Trump had improperly influenced through his public criticisms of former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Microsoft has tried to develop Azure, its cloud-computing platform, for government security clients. In December 2020, the company said in a blog post that it had finished building Azure Government Top Secret, a new cloud for highly classified information.
It said it was working with the government on its accreditation. It is not clear whether Microsoft wanted the NSA to select this new Azure platform for its WildandStormy project.