Amazon courts Pentagon with marketing blitz ahead of $10 billion cloud contract decision

  • Amazon Web Services has boosted its marketing presence at the doorstep of the Pentagon ahead of a major cloud contract.
  • Amazon's interest in what could be an extensive lucrative contract with the Department of Defense is by no means new.
  • The Pentagon's Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, cloud contract would be worth up to $10 billion.
An advertisement for the AWS summit in the Pentagon metro station in Washington, DC.
Amanda Macias/CNBC
An advertisement for the AWS summit in the Pentagon metro station in Washington, DC.

As the Defense Department continues its march toward procuring a secure cloud software, an acquisition potentially worth up to $10 billion, Amazon Web Services has boosted its marketing presence at the doorstep of the Pentagon.

A series of AWS advertisements promoting an upcoming summit have recently appeared on the walls and floors of the two-leveled Pentagon metro station. The ads have taken the place of those featuring defense companies such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.

What's more, the tech giant also appeared at the annual Sea-Air-Space conference, the largest maritime expo in the United States, hosted last week on the outskirts of Washington, D.C. Amazon offered daily briefings, had a slew of experts on hand, and took out a full-page advertisement in the show's program.

Amazon did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

The Pentagon's desire to award a multibillion-dollar, two-year cloud contract was largely set into motion after Secretary of Defense James Mattis visited Silicon Valley last year.

Amazon's interest in what could be an extensive lucrative contract with the Department of Defense is by no means new. The company already hosts classified systems with the CIA as well as other top defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin.

And while it appears that Amazon does have a basic advantage, since its cloud services have been certified for the highest possible security level, the Pentagon reaffirms that there is no front-runner in the competition.

"We are conducting a full and open competition to acquire the best cloud capability for the warfighter," chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said.

"It is a single award contract, it is not a sole source contract and it is not designed with a specific vendor or company in mind. In fact, multiple vendors may form a partnership to offer us a competitive solution."

Earlier this week, the Pentagon released its second draft request for proposal for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, cloud. The second draft proposal is expected to be the last one before the Pentagon releases a final proposal in May.

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