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Friday, May 31, 2013

Get offa my cloud

$600 million cloud computing contract protested, again
FCW has learned that IBM filed a bid protest on Feb. 26 over the major CIA contract – awarded to AWS in January – and supplemented its protest three times, with the last amended protest filed April 11. Those actions -- which are not uncommon on major contracts -- are delaying AWS' plans to build the intelligence agency a private cloud infrastructure, the full scope of which is yet unknown.

Ralph White, managing associate general counsel for procurement law at the Government Accountability Office, confirmed the bid protest to FCW, and said GAO will render a decision by June 6 – within 100 days of the filing as required by law. GAO can deny, dismiss or sustain the protest. If GAO sustains it, the CIA will have to do the procurement again.

CIA's major shift in cloud strategy – driven at least in part by the agency's embrace of big data as an intelligence tool – has been delayed before. AT&T and Microsoft protested the request-for-proposal specifications of the procurement in mid-2012.

White said GAO did not issue a decision in either of those protests because the CIA "took corrective action," pulling the procurement back in August 2012 and making changes to the bid solicitation that rendered the protests moot. It was not clear to which procurement those protests pertained.

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