March 21, 2013

Amazon and the CIA


A report by FCW (“The Business of Federal Technology”) says that “the CIA has agreed to a cloud computing contract” with Amazon “worth up to $600 million over 10 years.”

It is thought the deal would bring Amazon’s “public cloud computing environment inside the secure firewalls of the intelligence community, thereby negating concerns of classified data being hosted in any public environment.”

According to the report:

Amazon Web Services will help the intelligence agency build a private cloud infrastructure that helps the agency keep up with emerging technologies like big data in a cost-effective manner not possible under the CIA’s previous cloud efforts, sources told FCW. Amazon officials would not confirm the existence of the contract, and a CIA spokesperson likewise declined to comment on the matter.

Despite the lack of comment from the CIA and Amazon, FCW has several anecdotal bits to support their scoop: CIA Chief Technology Officer Gus Hunt mentioned Amazon’s name during a recent conference “organized by the Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association’s Washington, D.C. chapter”; Amazon was also mentioned by CIA Information Officer Jeanne Tisinger at a “Northern Virginia Technology Council Board of Directors on March 12.”

If true, the CIA’s deal with Amazon would be big news, according to FCW:

Industry experts, while stressing that they were not privy to the deal’s details, told FCW that such a move would be a “game-changer” in federal IT, and that it would show the CIA is acting intelligently with regards to emerging technologies and tightening budgets.



Kelly Burdick is the executive editor of Melville House.