The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is lending some backing to protest by Microsoft of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) $10 billion cloud award to Amazon Web Services (AWS) earlier this year.

NSA awarded the contract to AWS in July to support the agency’s classified and unclassified cloud services. Microsoft protested the award known as Wild and Stormy (WandSon) on July 21 and released a supplemental protest on September 2.

In a public statement released on October 29, GAO said it found certain aspects of NSA’s evaluation during the contract process to be unreasonable, and recommended that the agency reevaluate the proposals consistent with the decision and make a new source selection determination.

“GAO’s decision expresses no view as to the relative merits of the AWS and Microsoft proposals. Judgments about which offeror will most successfully meet the government’s needs are reserved for the procuring agencies, subject only to statutory and regulatory procurement requirements,” the release noted.

“AWS is honored to have been selected as the cloud provider for the NSA’s Hybrid Compute Initiative, and we remain committed to supporting the NSA’s critical missions,” a AWS spokesperson told MeriTalk.

GAO’s decision is classified and was issued under a protective order because the protest record includes classified information. GAO does intend to issue an unclassified decision to the public at a later date.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.