Yep, the usual suspects are sitting down to feast: Dominant vendors get a fat slice of CIA cloud pie and so do IBM and Oracle

AWS, Microsoft, Google, Oracle, and IBM can celebrate Thanksgiving safe in the knowledge they have won a place on the US Central Intelligence Agency’s lucrative Commercial Cloud Enterprise contract.

Thought to be worth tens of billions of US dollars, the contract is set to see the companies compete for business with the CIA and the 16 other intelligence community agencies.

“We are excited to work with the multiple industry partners awarded the Intelligence Community Commercial Cloud Enterprise (C2E) Cloud Service Provider contract and look forward to utilizing, alongside our IC colleagues, the expanded cloud capabilities resulting from this diversified partnership,” CIA spokeswoman Nicole de Haay told news outlet Nextgov.

In 2013, AWS won the $600m 10-year deal to provide the CIA with cloud computing, and in 2017 it even built a special “secret region” to support the work.

The leading cloud vendors as well as IBM and Oracle have confirmed their places on the contract.

AWS was “honored”, Microsoft “eager to serve”, Oracle “privileged”, and IBM and Google “proud”, according to Nextgov.

The CIA is also set to award work for a “cloud integrator” to join the party and bring together the various cloud services. Yet to be awarded, the contract is expected to go to systems integrators.

The intelligence agency’s welcoming of AWS back with open arms contrasts with that other US mega-contract, JEDI. The US Department of Defense eschewed the opportunity to work with Jeff Bezos’s cloudy behemoth and awarded the $10bn Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) Cloud Procurement to Microsoft in October 2019.

Not taking the art of war lying down, AWS has come out with guns blazing after the DoD reaffirmed its Azure contract. The dominant cloud vendor alleged the award was a “flawed, biased, and politically corrupted decision,” that had been directly and improperly influenced by US President Donald Trump in a September blog post.

Oracle has also protested the contract award, but may be running out of road, as its challenge to the contract was rejected by the appeal court in September.

Current CIA director Gina Haspel has come under fire from president Donald Trump for failing to declassify certain documents to do with FBI’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, and he has reportedly been considering firing her in his post-election clearout. Haspel and other officials have reportedly said releasing it publicly would hurt sources and damage methods of intelligence-gathering in a serious way. ®