Amazon has grown huge over the last decade, but nothing compares to what may be coming next for the tech giant. Amazon is apparently the only contender for a US Department of Defense contract for cloud services. The contract is worth $10 Billion over the next decade and would put Amazon in a position of power not seen in recent times. Amazon currently holds smaller contracts with several other US government agencies, which is why they are the sole contender. The Defense Department has listed requirements which include the ability to host top secret and secret information within eight months of being awarded the contract. Since Amazon already does this (albeit on a smaller scale), they are the only foreseeable contender.

But how does this empower Amazon?

Well, Amazon’s cloud will become a treasure trove of government information and secrets. This contract is a change in direction from typical Defense Department policy. Normally, departments such as this spread their data across multiple platforms or companies. This contract is different since they are seeking a single company to host their entire cloud operation. This is not just a departure from data procedure either. In the past, it has been standard protocol to not allow any single company to monopolize a critical government service or materials.

This may seem like something already set in stone, but it is not there yet. The idea of using a single company, such as Amazon, is still confined to the Defense Department. Congress and other officials are still questioning this concept and it is up for debate.

Why might it be a bad idea to hand it all to Amazon?

Many of the detractors of this idea say it goes against our national security interests. They often cite past practice of not utilizing a single company for vital goods and services needed by the government.

The main reason for this is, that if an enemy of the US wanted to harm us, they need only target a single company in order to separate the Pentagon from its critical data. This obviously creates a “one big target” scenario, instead of having it spread among several sources which would decrease the chances of the network being completely wiped out. That isn’t to say that the Pentagon would not embrace redundancy and have several back up options in place. It would seem certain that they would retain hard copies of the information, yet it still paints a scary picture.

Another reason would be handing a single man or company too much power. Jeff Bezos and Amazon would have access and control over a huge amount of government information. This includes personal information on millions of people. Some people claim this is a terrible idea, especially with the recent spat of headlines regarding tech giants and privacy infringement. In any case, the debate has begun and a decision on the contract should be reached in the coming weeks.

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