Defense Department Cloud Deal Could Endanger National Security

The U.S. shouldn’t rush into a bad deal that could compromise national security. Our military needs a safe place to park its secrets, where they can never be accessed by foreign hackers.

By Tron Simpson

The United States’ military is matchless in comparison to any other on this earth. For years, no other nation has even envisioned catching up to the U.S., and since the end of the Cold War–America has increased her military strength.  Could a change be in the near future?

Let’s look at China.  They are building subs that run almost silent and very well may threaten American carriers. China, at present, continues to work space-based weapons that could put in peril– communication satellites.  And most of us are aware of China’s manufactured islands for their air force.  Make no mistake, China is busy intimidating  American allies throughout the region into ceding its control of key shipping lanes. China is very interesting in running  offshore drilling sites that are actually in international waters.  China’s ultimate goal:  To be the one-and-only world’s super power.

We know how China loves stealing intellectual property; not excluding military secrets and technology.  There is plenty of precedence of such occurrences and China has no intention relenting if allowed to continue.  In Colorado, we call it ‘dirty pool.’

The Pentagon wants to award a long-term contract to handle all of its cloud computing needs to one company. The military says this will be an initial two-year contract, one that could then be extended for up to ten years. But let’s face it: once one company has the deal for two years, the Pentagon isn’t going to go back and reopen the bidding. And at this time, it looks as if Amazon Web Services (AWS) will get this $1.6 billion deal. “[S]ome Department of Defense agencies are so sure that Amazon will be awarded the contract that they are preparing for a transition to GovCloud, which is Amazon’s cloud infrastructure designed specifically for government use,” a confidential source told Business Insider.

It’s no coincidence that the Washington Post recently reported that the CIA has gone from using a sole source cloud computing contract for AWS to two providers to provide some diversity and to protect data.  A sole-source contract for Amazon raises a number of security concerns.

This is where concerns over China start to come into play.

When a company wants to do business in China, the Chinese government forces it to hand over vital intellectual property. “They’re playing us for fools,” New York Senator Charles Schumer says. “China continues to steal our family jewels, the things that have made America great: the intellectual property, the know-how in the highest end industries.” Sometimes, even a Democrat gets it right.

Amazon does business in China. And it has handed over important components of its cloud computing business to the government there. “Chinese law forbids non-Chinese companies from owning or operating certain technology for the provision of cloud services,” an AWS spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal last year. “As a result, in order to comply with Chinese law, AWS sold certain physical infrastructure assets to Sinnet, its longtime Chinese partner.”

Obviously, China and companies within the country are on the same page which allows powerful acceleration to reach the communist country to realize its goal.

The Wall Street Journal report makes it clear that China is tightening the noose, and will demand more and more access to information that’s stored in the cloud. That may be so the government there can crack down on domestic dissent. But it would also love to get access to American military secrets. Secrets that may soon reside in the Amazon cloud.

The Pentagon insists that having a single provider is the best way of “rapidly delivering new capabilities” to the military. But when lawmakers asked why that would be the case, an official report refused to answer that question. “This rationale is not going to be published at this time,” is all the military would say.  That statement alone demands answers to questions posed by lawmakers.

The U.S. shouldn’t rush into a bad deal that could compromise national security. Our military needs a safe place to park its secrets, where they can never be accessed by foreign hackers. Handing all our data over to AWS is too risky. The Pentagon should slow down, open up the bidding process, and come clean about its efforts to move to the cloud.  Again, we’ve recently seen what a bad deal looks like (yes, Iran) and it’s downright ugly.  May thoughtfulness, logic, and the ultimate desire for our nation’s safety and security be priorities  in this important decision.

Tron Simpson is host of the nationally recognized Tron Simpson Show, heard on KVOR 740 AM in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Find out more at

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

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