CIA makes awards for intelligence community's next massive cloud contract

The CIA takes the next step in its own and the intelligence community’s commercial cloud computing journey with the award of its so-called C2E contract that could be worth billions in totality.

The CIA is taking the next step in its own and the intelligence community’s commercial cloud computing journey as the agency confirmed on Friday the award of its so-called C2E contract that could be worth billions in totality.

Amazon Web Services, Google, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle will compete for task orders over the next 15 years to roll out new cloud hosting capabilities for the 17 intelligence agencies.

Previously-released procurement documents have roughly spelled out the Commercial Cloud Enterprise contract’s size as “tens of billions” of dollars, though the CIA never disclosed an exact ceiling value.

C2E is the follow-on contract to the predecessor C2S project that Amazon Web Services was awarded in 2013 to begin implementing cloud computing at the CIA and certain other intelligence agencies.

The C2S contract runs to 2023 and AWS remains the only cloud infrastructure company to hold all needed security classifications for hosting data and workloads up to the top secret levels, while Microsoft is one step below but working toward that designation.

But unlike C2S, the CIA this time around opted to bring aboard multiple commercial cloud providers that will vie for work to provide both the hosting capability at the infrastructure-, platform- and software-as-a-service levels.

That group of awardees will also compete to perform other professional services wrapped around those infrastructures. Federal IT services companies will also be a part of the C2E effort as the CIA plans to choose one or possibly more than one of them at some point in the future for integration support and cloud management tools.

Nextgov first reported the story, which the CIA confirmed in a statement to us.

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

All five awardees also confirmed the contract and their selection for it.

“We are honored to continue to support the intelligence community as they expand their transformational use of cloud computing. Together, we’re building innovative solutions across all classification levels that deliver operational excellence and allow for missions to be performed faster and more securely,” an AWS spokesperson said.

“We appreciate that the government has chosen Microsoft and are eager to serve as an integral partner in supporting its overall mission. We applaud the intelligence community in advancing its cloud strategy to the next phase in order to take advantage of the latest commercially available cloud technologies. We look forward to providing the intelligence community our latest unique and differentiated Azure cloud and productivity capabilities. Microsoft has a long history, spanning several decades, of delivering innovative, proven and secure technologies to the US government and we foresee a continued expansion of this work," a Microsoft spokesperson said.

"IBM is proud to further its collaboration with the U.S. federal government with this strategic award to provide the U.S. intelligence community (IC) with IBM's hybrid cloud flexibility and sophisticated security features to support mission-critical workloads. Our position as a commercial enterprise open hybrid-cloud global leader has sharpened our expertise to help our clients seamlessly move to a multi-cloud ecosystem in compliance with cloud security standards. We look forward to putting our knowledge into the service of the IC and their key national security partners," IBM’s public and federal market general manager Jay Bellissimo said in statement emailed through a spokesperson.

“Oracle is privileged to continue and expand its support of the U.S. intelligence community and pleased to be trusted as an enterprise cloud service provider to the U.S. intelligence community,” an Oracle spokesperson said.

“We’re proud to have been named a vendor for the Commercial Cloud Enterprise contract (C2E). C2E is multi-cloud, ensuring that agencies aren’t locked into any single vendor -- and are able to ensure capacity, redundancy, and best-of-breed cloud solutions. We remain committed to serving public sector organizations of all sizes, and this award builds on recent federal momentum for Google Cloud with NOAA, the U.S. Department of Energy, Defense Innovation Unit, U.S. Navy, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, U.S. Small Business Administration, and more," a Google Cloud spokesperson said.

The intelligence community apparently continues to make progress in commercial cloud while the Defense Department’s efforts on that front remains stalled in some respects and behind schedule.

DOD's Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract, a single-award remains under protest by AWS at the Court of Federal Claims.

DOD’s other major big-ticket, single-award cloud contract is moving ahead after General Dynamics IT was re-awarded the Defense Enterprise Office Solutions contract to roll out Office 365 tools across the department. Rival bidder Perspecta declined to protest again after having done so twice during the whole process.

(This story has been updated to include comments from the CIA and the cloud infrastructure providers who were chosen for C2E)