Google Cloud Gets DOD’s Blessing. Will It Win Contracts?

Google‘s increased investment into cloud computing is one step closer to allowing the company to compete with others in the market.

The Pentagon’s IT agency granted the tech giant provisional authority to host sensitive, unclassified information from national security systems, which is a key requirement for the Defense Department’s data-sharing plans with Joint All Domain Command and Control, or JADC2.

The Google Cloud platform offers a number of solutions that span infrastructure, platform, and software capabilities. All three are available in “public and hybrid cloud” environments.

For the most sensitive data, cloud service providers must adhere to an encryption policy. There are six levels of security, with Impact Level 6 reserved for top-class classified information.

“This authorization will provide the warfighter another safe, secure cloud-hosting capability to store and process mission-critical information,” Air Force Lt. Gen. Robert Skinner, DISA’s director and commander of the Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network, said in a blog post announcing this news.

The provisional authorization provides a huge range of security services, including big data analysis and authentication, encryption tools, storage, computing power, and identity and access management.

A military agency announced its plans to award the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability, or JWCC, a potential $9 billion contract on Monday. This comes months before the anticipated award decision, and is not considered an endorsement of any company or contract.

In 2007, Microsoft was awarded a contract for Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud services. That project was cancelled in 2009 after significant legal challenges. It left many governmental systems unable to function properly and people who purchased an unsupported Microsoft product unable to access online military resources about the contract or get their money back.

Google was first announced as a competitor for the lucrative Defense contract last year, though it was originally slated to happen in April. The delay of the award left some lawmakers and officials skeptical, leading to an earlier possible project cancellation.

The Defense Information Systems Agency held an event for industry representatives last month, where Sherman shared lessons that the agency had learned and said that he thought they underestimated how long it was going to take.

The plan is that the Joint Working Committee will award two contracts in 2021. One to Amazon Web Services and one to Microsoft, with an intention of awarding all cloud-service providers with a capability to meet DOD’s requirements.

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