The National Security Agency (NSA) confirmed that it re-awarded a cloud computing contract believed to be worth up to $10 billion to Amazon Web Services (AWS) after the agency’s initial award of the deal to AWS last summer was derailed by a protest by Microsoft.

An NSA spokesperson told MeriTalk that the contract was re-awarded to AWS based on a “new best value decision” by the agency consistent with the decision by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) last October to sustain Microsoft’s protest.

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GAO agreed with Microsoft that NSA improperly evaluated proposals for cloud services in support of the agency’s classified and unclassified computing requirements under a request for proposal originally issued in November 2020.

Microsoft protested the contract award on a number of fronts, and GAO sustained the protest on only one of those issues.

“Microsoft alleges the significant weakness assigned to its technical proposal regarding the security authorization process for new service offerings was unreasonable. Specifically, the protester contends that the agency’s evaluation was based on a flawed and unreasonable reading of the proposal,” GAO said. “Here, we agree with the protester and sustain on this basis.”

In an April 27 statement to MeriTalk, an NSA spokesperson said the agency “recently awarded a contract to Amazon Web Services that delivers cloud computing services to support the Agency’s mission. 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 were competed last year and the previously awarded contract was protested to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The GAO sustained that protest in October 2021,” NSA said. “Consistent with the decision in that case, the Agency has reevaluated the proposals and made a new best value decision.”

“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,” an AWS spokesperson said.

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.