The US military's Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC), Atlantic, plans to award a sole source cloud contract to Amazon Web Services for a year.

In a notice of intent on the NAVWAR E-Commerce Central portal, first reported by DCD, the Navy's Information Warfare Capabilities division said it would use AWS due to existing AWS GovCloud compatibility across the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program and foreign partner programs.

Cyber for war

F-35A with weapon bay doors open
F-35A with its weapon bay doors open – US Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexander Cook

"AWS is the only vendor to offer complimentary cloud hosting to match Amazon Web Services government services (AWS.GOV) to support a Devops pipeline for the JSF and its foreign partners.

"The required services provide access to existing partners as well as foreign partners to the existing AWS.GOV through the same software interface. AWS is the original host of this Amazon cloud services as and they possess the data rights to the specifications and will not provide them to another entity. AWS is the sole provider and holds proprietary rights of the required cloud services."

The JSF program is the largest and most expensive military project in history, centering around the controversial F-35 Lightning II fighter plane. The projected average annual cost of the program is $12.5 billion with an estimated program lifecycle cost of up to $1.5 trillion.

For its part in running JSF related workloads for a year, the Naval Information Warfare Center will only need three m5.xlarge EC2 instances running Linux in US East; t3.medium EC2 instances running Linux in US East; 30GB of SSD; 1 additional IP address; 250 GB of Storage with 10,000 Put requests and 100,000 get requests; PostgresSQL db.m1.large DB.

Last month, Fred Bisel, the founder and lead of NIWC Atlantic's Cyber Education and Certification Readiness Facility was named an 'AWS Educate Cloud Ambassador,' the first such ambassador within the DoD.

“We’re honored to participate in both the AWS cloud ambassador program and in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Educate program,” said Bisel. “AWS courses provide NIWC Atlantic employees and other civilian and military members the knowledge required to obtain crucial certifications to ensure a highly skilled workforce.”

NIWC Atlantic is the first DoD agency offering AWS cloud training to members of all branches of the military and to its own civilian and military workforce through the AWS Academy program.

Until this February, the Charleston, South Carolina-based NIWC was known as the SPAWAR Systems Center Atlantic, but its name was changed to demonstrate that "information is a fundamental element of warfare, an essential concept of the Navy's Design for Maritime Superiority 2.0."

"The advantage information warfare brings to the fight is at the core of our Navy's ability to compete and win today and in the coming decades," SPAWAR Commander Rear Adm. Christian Becker said.

"Recognizing our systems centers as Naval Information Warfare Centers reaffirms our commitment to accelerate the development and delivery of advanced warfighting capabilities to the fleet."

The wider Navy this March awarded a $231 million IT contract to Dell Technologies for the company to provide VMware software licenses, software maintenance and other services including data center and cloud infrastructure to the US Navy, over the next four years.

The contracts come as much of the US' military and security services shift workloads to the cloud, including the nuclear weapons agency, the CIA and the Department of Defense itself. But that latter contract, currently up for award now, has been embroiled in controversy.

JEDI, a massive single-award cloud deal that could be worth some $10bn over 10 years, was set to be given to AWS or Microsoft Azure. But, after extensive lobbying by Oracle that reached as high as the Presidency, the contract is on hold, pending an investigation by the new Defense Secretary.