Pentagon cyber war-cloud $10 billion project bidding process open

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The Department of Defense will hire a single cloud services provider

Enterprise network security specialists report that, as of last Thursday, the Department of Defense began accepting formal proposals for its highly anticipated cloud service contract, known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI).

This contract will be awarded to a single cloud service provider – which caused anger among many companies – and is estimated to have a value up to $10 billion USD for over 10 years, according to the latest request for proposal issued by the Pentagon.

JEDI will put a commercial company in charge of hosting and distributing vital workloads for the Department of Defense, as well as classified military secrets, all along a single cloud.

The contract includes an initial agreement for two years, followed by two optional three-year periods and a two-year final period option, differently from the two-year base with five-year and three-year options in the project’s first drafts. Patrick Shanahan, Deputy Secretary of Defense, mentioned to the media that this way the Department has options to stop the project and thus ease the approval of the investment in Congress.

In the request for proposal, government officials noted that the contract will be awarded in a competitive manner, but Amazon Web Services is considered a broad favorite, thanks to its current contract with the CIA and the ability to host highly secret data. According to the request for proposal, the winning company must comply with the government’s rigorous standards to host classified data within 180 days after the award of the contract, and comply with the standards for hosting confidential and secret information in 270 days.

According enterprise network security experts reports, Amazon Web Services is currently the only cloud service provider to accomplish these standards, although Microsoft and IBM officials claim that they are close to the standard.

Defense Department spokespersons comment that the JEDI Cloud project is an acquisition for commercial cloud technologies that will allow combatants to better execute a mission that is increasingly dependent on information exploitation.

The Pentagon has received thousands of questions from interested suppliers throughout the hiring process, which began with a strategy paper that the Pentagon published almost a year ago. The last request for proposal is the ultimate version, so providers don’t need to refer to previous statements.

Enterprise network security experts from the International Institute of Cyber Security commented that interested companies have until 17 September to register for the bidding process.