With CIA Cloud Contract on the Line, Amazon Seeks Top Secret Clearance

As government agencies seek to move their data and operations into privately built cloud systems, Amazon is trying to establish itself as a legitimate contractor. According to Computer World, they’re now seeking over 100 software engineers, developers, and architects who can get Top Secret Clearance to work on an unspecified project. While the recruitment events are private, invite-only affairs, it’s likely that this talent search is an effort to help convince the CIA to grant them a lucrative cloud contract.

While Amazon Web Services was officially awarded the contract last year (at a bid of $148.1M), the decision is now back before the CIA after IBM (who filed a rival bid of $93.9M) challenged the decision with Government Accountability Office. Both companies were required to re-submit bids, and are awaiting the agency’s second decision.

While IBM stands to lose a hefty contract here, it’s Amazon who has the most on the line. As an outside player to government work, the CIA Cloud would establish them as a legitimate competitor for security contracts. Gigaom writes about the situation:

Whichever vendor finally gets the nod from the CIA will automatically gain credibility for other government agencies wanting to build secure clouds. In short if IBM wins, no government bureaucrat will be fired for buying IBM cloud. Ditto for AWS.

The recent job openings will not only bolster Amazon’s security credentials, but also allow them to recruit former government contracts who are familiar with the field. While losing the contract would be a huge setback for Amazon’s plans, it seems like their prepping for a lengthy battle either way.

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