updated 12:40 am EDT, Wed March 20, 2013
Ten-year deal likely consists of massive Langley-hosted cloud offering
According to sources familiar with the matter, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has signed a contract with Amazon to provide cloud services. The deal, worth $600 million over 10 years, is intended to help the agency construct a private cloud to keep up with data-mining tasks in a cost-effective manner and scale not previously possible under the agency's previous efforts.
"As a general rule, the CIA does not publicly disclose details of our contracts, the identities of our contractors, the contract values, or the scope of work," a CIA spokesperson unsurprisingly told the media.
The CIA's previous efforts focused on a large number of small, very specific private clouds. Electronista has been told that the effort proved very difficult to cross-reference, and see trends or identify issues pertaining to national security from data collected by the cloud infrastructure. The new "cloud" is expected to reside inside the firewalls of the agency, minimizing the risk of classified data release by human error or attack.
Any intelligence agency cloud would be governed by the IC Information Technology Enterprise (IC ITE) strategy, which "focuses on enabling greater integration, information sharing, and information safeguarding through a common IC IT approach that substantially reduces costs." The five-prong strategy aims to consolidate disparate efforts, and is part of the Federal CIO's 25 point implementation plan to reform federal information technology management.
The director of IT management at the Government Accountability Office said that he was not familiar with the deal, nor could he discuss particulars if he was. He did say he thought that "in times of reducing budget situations, you would expect to see agencies that haven't considered cloud solutions extensively in the past would be looking more and more of doing something along those lines."