Amazon Will Host ‘Most Sensitive’ U.S. Defense Data

Amazon Will Host ‘Most Sensitive’ U.S. Defense Data
Amazon Web Services has received provisional authority to provide the highest level of non-classified data storage and cloud computing services to the U.S. Defense Department, which is being used to control the Air Force's latest version of GPS.

This week, the Defense Department gave provisional authorization to Amazon to host its most sensitive, although unclassified, data.

In a statement released Tuesday, Amazon Web Services announced it has received “provisional authorization” from the Defense Information Systems Agency, a combat support agency that “provides, operates, and assures command and control, information sharing capabilities, and a globally accessible enterprise information infrastructure in direct support to joint warfighters, national level leaders, and other mission and coalition partners across the full spectrum of operations.” This provisional authority grants it permission to handle “Impact Level 5 workloads,” which is the department’s most sensitive unclassified data.

It further states:

[Amazon Web Services] support a variety of DoD workloads, including workloads containing sensitive controlled unclassified information and National Security Systems information. [Amazon Web Services] are already being used for a number of cutting-edge, mission-critical DoD workloads, such as the Global Positioning System Next Generation Operational Control System, a critical navigation information system that supports global cyber protection and analysis of satellite data.

The Global Positioning System Next Generation Operational Control System, also known as GPS OCX, controls the newest version of the Defense Department’s global positioning system satellites. The provisional authority is specific to that project.

The Amazon statement continues:

No other cloud provider was able to meet the IL5 security requirements and scale of the US Air Force’s GPS OCX program ... When the Air Force looked at other cloud providers, none of them were able to immediately handle the compute scale while also meeting the [IL5] requirements. Not only did AWS meet the Air Force’s needs, but the Air Force also experienced a 30% cost savings for storage costs.

Amazon touts its cloud computing as a means to “help defense organizations increase innovation, efficiency, agility, and resiliency” while also reducing costs.

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