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AWS maintains an entire region named GovCloud explicitly to isolate sensitive workloads and meet compliance requirements. The "security clearance" is basically just a background check to make sure you aren't a spy.

Not necessarily. I am guessing GovCloud doesn't require a security clearance. Just have to be a US Person. That means a citizen or have a green card. (At least for ITAR purposes that is good enough).

If they ask for a security clearance or are willing to sponsor it, it probably has to do with that $600M private AWS instance for the CIA.

But yes if you have a clearance here you can pretty much walk out of the building if you don't like your job and walk into the next one and they'll give you one. (That's the joke anyway).

"You can only obtain AWS GovCloud (US) accounts if you are an individual or entity that qualifies as a U.S. Person under applicable regulations. "


"§ 120.15 U.S. person. U.S. person means a person (as defined in §120.14 of this part) who is a lawful permanent resident as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(20) or who is a protected individual as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). It also means any corporation, business association, partnership, society, trust, or any other entity, organization or group that is incorporated to do business in the United States. It also includes any governmental (federal, state or local) entity. It does not include any foreign person as defined in §120.16 of this part. "


> That means a citizen or have a green card

No, anything remotely close to the US government requires a full citizenship. I got slammed by that when I was in the middle of applications for scientific software companies which did government contracting on the side.

Depends on what you do. Often managers don't even know so they just use "citizen" as rule to be safe.

Also worked for the military and we had a variety of citizens, non-citizens, green card holders and non-green card holders. We had to go through silly gymnastics on who can talk about what and work on what depending on their status.

Working on GovCloud requires ITAR which is citizen or "permanent resident" (green card). There are other positions that require a security clearance, but GovCloud does not. GovCloud is open to non-governmental customers who need to meet stricter requirements (it's not solely for government use).

> GovCloud is open to non-governmental customers

Some excellent naming there ;)

It's still pretty apt, the reason the non-government customers are in GovCloud is almost always because their customers are in the government. For example, if you want to sell a service to US government departments, you'll find it much easier to do so if you have a presence in GovCloud yourself.

You got that wrong. It depends if you need to be a citizen or not.

I've personally known permanent residents to work in government contracting.

For your case, if I had to guess, it's probably the physical building/facility they required you to work at had restrictions on unescorted non-citizens.

I just assumed if they wanted him to move to VA is was likely for the pending build out of GovCloud east.

Edit: I found a map with the C2S region on it, and it does appear to be in the VA/MD area.

Yeah but he wouldn't need to get clearance to work for GovCloud.

The AWS "Region" which the super secret stuff runs in isn't plain GovCloud. It's Amazon C2S. It's not talked about much (at all). From my understanding, most people who work on this cloud do not need a clearance but do need heavy background checks.

Some people operate directly with the intelligence agencies (and work on their campuses as part of their duties for AWS). These people often handle sensitive data and therefore need clearance. Amazon often hires individuals who are located near intelligence services to ease this.

No, security clearance relates to this contract that AWS has:https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/07/the-d...

The GovCloud AWS region is located in the Northwestern USA, so it seems more likely that if he was doing GovCloud specific work, they'd have hired him in Seattle.

Though I'm sure AWS does lots of work with US government agencies in us-east-1, so it's not surprising that a government clearance might be required for some of it.

GovCloud is indeed in the Pacific Northwest, according to the 2011 announcement from Amazon itself. Specifically, it's in Boardman, Oregon, on a road named after famous explorers. It was their first structure in the area, confirmed by aerial photography and contemporary reporting. Smaller modular backups were active on a different site in Boardman right next to the interstate, and outside Umatilla near the prison. These other sites eventually evolved into the rest of us-east-2.

As for us-east-1, it all began in Chantilly in an existing low-rise building you could mistake for rentable office space, then expanded to several different sites between Sterling, Ashburn, and the airport itself, and perhaps surprisingly, to another place where famous battles were fought. Finally, they have a site a bit further away, near where Disney was going to build a theme park. That's where they want to expand more, but first they have to convince the power company to get them a dedicated line, instead of being fed from the same place as the battlefield.

Some sources:




Product teams support their services in all regions, meaning if a team is based in Virginia it still supports all the other regions simultaneously.

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