IBM Challenges CIA Cloud Contract; Amazon Submits Court Complaint
A complaint was filed by Amazon Web Services last week in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. The company seeks to secure a $600 million cloud computing deal with the CIA, even though IBM has presented a protesting argument, which was partly sustained by the U.S. Government Accountability Office last month.
The GAO has suggested that the CIA reopen negotiations with the companies, and it has until next week to reach a decision. This recent move by AWS came just two weeks before that deadline.
AWS was chosen by the CIA, trumping IBM’s bid, to develop and operate a version of its “existing public cloud” which runs on the CIA’s premises.
IBM argues that the CIA has not adequately considered prices, and has waived a requirement in the request for proposals for AWS, according to the decision issued by the GAO last month.
Amazon has stated that the CIA has made the correct decision; the protest filed by the company is under seal.
AWS has stated: “We believe that the CIA selected AWS based on AWS' technically superior, best value solution, which will allow the Agency to rapidly innovate while delivering the confidence and security assurance needed for mission-critical systems. We look forward to a fast resolution so the Agency can move forward with this important contract.”
In May of this year, AWS received Federal Risk Authorization Management Program security certification. The company has not offered any further comment regarding the petition.
According to the June 6 GAO report, five companies, including IBM, Microsoft, AT&T and AWS, submitted proposals to the CIA. One other unnamed company withdrew its submission.
The CIA’s decision was also challenged by Microsoft, but the GAO did not uphold its arguments. IBM’s arguments have been upheld by the GAO, particularly because the agency did not correctly consider pricing and following the initial selection, had relaxed a solicitation term only for AWS during negotiations. The GAO has recommended that the CIA reopens bids to fairly judge the companies.
The government’s general counsel, Susan Poling, wrote: “We sustain the protest because the agency's adjustment of scenario prices was unreasonable in that it did not result in evaluation on a common basis, and because the agency materially relaxed a solicitation term for the awardee during post-selection negotiations.” (CY) Link