Cloud service behemoths Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft appear to be squaring off once again over a big Federal government cloud contract – this time a deal awarded by the National Security Agency (NSA) to AWS.

Details of the contract, including its size, remain classified. However, recent reporting from the  “Washington Technology” publication puts the size of the contract at $10 billion, and says the contract is referred to by the code name “WildandStormy.”

Spokespersons for both NSA and Microsoft spoke to MeriTalk in guarded terms about the cloud contract on August 10.

For its part, an NSA spokesperson said the agency “recently awarded a contract for cloud computing services to support the Agency,” and disclosed that the deal was now under protest from another bidder on the contract.

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“The unsuccessful offeror has filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO),” the NSA spokesperson added. “The Agency will respond to the protest in accordance with appropriate federal regulations.”

GAO’s public website that tracks contract protests shows that Microsoft filed a bid protest with the agency on July 21 regarding a contract award from NSA/Central Security Service, and that the protest has a due date of October 29.

“Based on the decision we are filing an administrative protest via the Government Accountability Office. We are exercising our legal rights and will do so carefully and responsibly,” a Microsoft spokesperson responded when asked to comment on the situation.

An AWS spokesperson referred a query for comment back to NSA.

The tussle over the NSA contract follows closely on the heels of the Defense Department’s decision last month to scrap its Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud service contract worth $10 billion and awarded to Microsoft.  Protests over the deal from Oracle and AWS had tied the contract up re-bidding and court proceedings, and prevented DoD from received services under the agreement for nearly three years after making its first solicitation.

In its place, DoD said it was taking steps to arrange a new cloud service contract – dubbed the Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability (JWCC). DoD said the list of bidders for the new multi-cloud, multi-vendor deal was expected to include AWS, Microsoft, and other firms that could demonstrate an ability to meet the Pentagon’s requirements.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.
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