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#1 User is offline   pepperonikkid 

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  Posted 21 January 2018 - 11:53 AM

Defense Department-Amazon Deal Risks Chinese Espionage

By Andrew E. Harrod
January 20, 2018


Recent Department of Defense (DoD) actions indicate that the DoD is considering making Amazon the DoD's sole online cloud provider, the Washington Examiner notes. Such a deal entails numerous disadvantages, not least of which is threats of espionage arising from Amazon's compromising relationship with China.

On October 30, the DoD made a "Request for Information" (RFI) soliciting private-sector advice about modernizing DoD cloud services. The RFI specifications suggest that the DoD is seeking a single global cloud-provider. Amazon would most likely be the contract recipient, given several past multimillion-dollar cloud contracts with multiple national security agencies.

I.T. contractors and several trade groups have made "stern warnings about the potential effects of choosing just one cloud provider." The "[DoD]'s diverse needs and mission requirements" argue against an "approach that could eliminate the potential for multiple cloud services providers." As one trade group analogizes, "almost all Fortune 500 counterparts have established multi-cloud architectures because no singular cloud solution meets all of their mission and business application requirements."

Innovation and cost-cutting also favor multiple suppliers, the trade groups and contractors note. "A Department cloud [comprising] multiple interoperable offerings would ensure that the Department obtains the benefits of competition to achieve best value." The "diversified solutions from the commercial market will facilitate a culture of experimentation, adaption, and risk-taking and increase the speed of technology development and procurement." By contrast, "selecting only one cloud[-]provider drastically impairs competition in the future, effectively leaving [DoD] captive to one provider."

"Failing to diversify," the Washington Examiner notes with particular concern for national security:

... puts any investor, especially the government, at a greater risk. The stakes are high here, as a breach by a cloud services provider could lead to the leak of military secrets to China and other U.S. competitors that do business with Amazon.

One trade group sees particular concerns in the RFI's terms. The RFI "appears to raise in priority the needs of the supplier above the needs of the customer for issues, like national security." The RFI specifically states that "DoD is prepared to pursue the revision of existing policies and federal regulations to remove barriers to success."

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#2 User is online   Dean Adam Smithee 

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Posted 21 January 2018 - 02:08 PM

I'm not sure I like the idea of anything DoD-related being in the "cloud", regardless of whose cloud it is.

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