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After going back and forth for years over the $10 billion decade-long JEDI cloud contract, Microsoft and Amazon Web Services eventually hit a wall when the former lost the deal it had initially won. There is another $10-billion cloud contract in the crosshairs.

This time, Microsoft is protesting that AWS won the National Security Agency (NSA) contract. It is hard to see this move as anything but retaliatory.

Suffice to say that the latest war over government cloud contracts is underway. Nextgov reported earlier this week that earlier this summer, the NSA awarded a ‘secret’ cloud computing contract to AWS.

The protest bid

On July 21, Microsoft filed a bid protest with the Government Accountability Office two weeks after getting the notification that the NSA had chosen AWS for its ‘WildandStormy’ contract.

Nextgov reported that the contract seems to be a move by the NSA to modernize its classified data repository, named the Intelligence Community GovCloud.

The NSA has been storing its data, including intelligence information from repositories across the world, in an internally operated data lake on which its own agents and others from other intelligence agencies can run queries and perform analysis.

Moving to the cloud

The goal for the NSA is to advance what it calls the Hybrid Compute Initiative, a project that will see the agency move all its intelligence data from its servers to those run by a commercial cloud vendor. The Government Accountability Office will issue a decision about the Microsoft protest bid by October 29, according to Nextgov.

In November, the CIA awarded its C2E contract, potentially worth tens of billions of dollars, to five companies tasked with completing specific orders for unique intelligence needs. The companies included AWS, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, and Google.