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The US Central Intelligence Agency has contracted Amazon Web Services to build a private cloud it may pay up to US$600m for over 10 years.

An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on the story, reported by FCW, which cited anonymous sources. “It is Amazon’s policy not to comment on rumor or speculation,” the spokesperson wrote in an email.

But FCW’s sources told the news organization that the agency had agreed to the contract in hopes that a private-cloud infrastructure would help it control cost as it tries to keep up with new technologies, such as big data. If the information is correct, a private-cloud infrastructure will give the CIA the security of a dedicated computing infrastructure along with the benefits of the pay-as-you-go model for consuming IT services cloud computing offers.

US intelligence agencies follow the Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise (IC ITE) strategy when making procurement decisions for IT products and services.

The strategy supports the “Cloud First” directive included in the White House’s plan to reform federal IT. The directive was for each agency to identify services they can move to the cloud and move them.

In his federal-IT-budget-priorities document for 2013, US CIO Steven VanRoekel said contract vehicles for cloud and commodity IT services would be stood up in 2012 and reaffirmed commitment to the Cloud-First policy.

The federal government is going through a multi-year push to rationalize and consolidate its IT and data center infrastructure. Cloud First is part of this push.

It is unclear whether Amazon will stand up a private-cloud infrastructure for the CIA within a government building or within one of its own data centers. The company does have a facility dedicated specifically to hosting cloud infrastructure for the federal government.

Amazon refers to this facility as the GovCloud region. It offers public-cloud compute and storage services hosted at this site, as well as virtual private cloud, all of which are available on a pay-as-you-go basis.