Secret region might be paying off for AWS

The U.S. Transportation Command may be  ready to award a sole-source contract to Amazon Web Services for commercial cloud services.

Transcom needs an Impact Level 6 Secret commercial cloud service, and  AWS is the only Defense Department-approved provider that offers a cloud environment certified as "secret," according to the command’s justification  document.

In November, AWS launched its AWS Secret region to handle workloads that require a Secret security classification. This award would be an early return on that investment.

The command has only published its intent to make an award but has not made the actual award yet.

The value of the proposed contract with the U.S. Transportation Command was not disclosed. In fact, it was redacted in the justification document.

But the contract will have a nine-month base and four one-year options. The contract is fixed-price but the government will be able to take advantage of future AWS price reductions, according to the document.

Some of the cloud services the command is looking for include virtual machines, storage, network bandwidth, and Internet Protocol management. The command wants to field a wide portfolio of supply chain distribution applications to better serve the warfighter on the Secure Internet Protocol Router network, known as SIPRnet.

Transcom says it cannot migrate its SIPRnet applications to a commercial cloud without AWS.

The contract will be awarded as a task order under the $248.7 million Army Cloud Computing Enterprise Transformation basic ordering agreement known as ACCENT. The award will be directly with AWS as it does not allow third-party resellers to sell services on the Secret Region.

ACCENT is held by about 50 companies that offer a broad range of cloud related services.

The planned award to AWS comes at an interesting time as the Defense Department is developing a contract for unclassified but sensitive data. DOD has said it plans to make a single award but has also indicated it has not made a final decision.

That contract could be worth billions and many believe it favors AWS over competitors such as IBM and Microsoft.

DOD’s plan should become more clear when it issues a draft RFP and holds an industry day sometime during the first quarter of this year.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.


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