Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Amazon Gains DoD Approval For Cloud Services 

Uncle Sam has approved broader use of cloud services provided by Amazon Web Services.

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) said this week it would allow the military services along with civilian agencies to use Amazon cloud services under its FedRAMP certification process. FedRAMP stands for Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program.

The security authorization allows Amazon to provide cloud services to Defense Department agencies that require higher-level security clearance. GSA stressed in a statement that cloud services "will help the Army and Navy save time and money."

However, the services are still trying to figure out how to partition and route intelligence and other sensitive data stored in the cloud from its sprawling data centers and other enterprise activities. DoD is nevertheless expected to invest heavily in cloud services as it embraces commercial network technologies.

Amazon joins a growing list of large military contractors certified under the FedRAMP program. They include Akamai, AT&T, CGI Federal, Hewlett-Packard, Lockheed Martin and Microsoft.  

CGI, of Fairfax, Virginia, the original prime contractor for Heathcare.gov, announced this week that it has received "provisional authority" from a key Defense Department agency to provide the military with cloud services. The approval came from the Defense Information Systems Agency, which serves as DoD's cloud services broker.

CGI was the first large provider to gain FedRAMP certification last year to operate cloud services for civilian government agencies.

Amazon already has contracts with the Air Force, Navy, and other DoD agencies. The new security authorization allows it to pursue cloud services contracts across the U.S. military. Amazon was tapped last year to build a private cloud inside CIA data centers. IBM protested the award, but Amazon retained the $600 million contract award in a ruling issued last fall.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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