Amazon may be on the cusp of becoming a military security giant.
The online retailer, which is also a cloud computing powerhouse, could soon receive the Pentagon’s lucrative $10 billion cloud computing development contract. The move would cement the tech giant's role in national security technology.
The Department of Defense’s long-awaited and controversial Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract is a high-profile, first-of-its-kind initiative to “aggressively accelerate the Department’s adoption of cloud architecture and services, with a focus on commercial solutions."
Amazon’s Web Services division (AWS), which generated over $25 billion in revenue during 2018, already provides an array of cloud computing services to the U.S. intelligence community. Existing AWS offerings already allow for much of what the Pentagon is looking for, including streamlined data transfer, automated compliance systems, and data-sharing platforms.
Amazon has long been considered the frontrunner to secure the deal, due in part to its existing $600 million cloud contract with the CIA, but relations between the company and the Pentagon have come under fire.
The procurement process has been frozen since Aug. 1 while Secretary of Defense Mark Esper performs an examination of the process which drew complaints from other big tech players.
“From day one, we’ve competed for JEDI on the breadth and depth of our services and their corresponding security and operational performance,” an AWS spokesperson told MIT Technology Review which chronicled the developments around JEDI.
President Trump has publicly criticized Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in the past and announced in July that he wanted a review of the contract in July, citing “tremendous complaints” from competing firms. Esper was sworn into his position on July 23.
The examination has no firm timeline for completion, and the Department has announced a winner will not be decided until after the review of the contract runs its course. Microsoft and Amazon are the finalists in consideration for the contract award. The Pentagon initially expected to award the JEDI contract in the fourth quarter of last year.