Cloud risks

Conflict-of-interest charge may sidetrack JEDI

A conflict-of-interest investigation is likely to derail the Pentagon's Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract.

Oracle claims there are personal conflicts of interest involving Deap Ubhi, an Amazon employee, who went to work at Defense Department and supported the JEDI procurement before returning to Amazon. Ubhi was cleared to work on the $10 billion JEDI cloud infrastructure buy because it had been over a year since he had worked at Amazon. When it appeared that Amazon might buy a company he owned, he recused himself from further work on JEDI.

DOD's contracting officer for JEDI had ruled there was no impact on the development of the solicitation. She is still investigating whether the re-hiring of Ubhi by Amazon represented an organizational conflict of interest.

But now she is backing away from her ruling that there was no impact on the solicitation. She cites new information, but the paragraph that apparently describes that information has been blacked out in the public version of motion to pause litigation.

This development could certainly be nothing. Or could be a big deal. Or somewhere in between, we just don't know yet.

If she determines that there was no impact, the court case will likely pick up where it left off -- preparing for hearings. Before this delay, oral arguments were scheduled for April 4. They will likely need to be rescheduled.

If she determines that there was an impact... I’m just not sure. If DOD decides to rework the procurement, then the court challenge will probably be dismissed.

In addition to the conflict of interest charges, Oracle argues that many requirements in the solicitation were essentially designed in Amazon’s favor. Those sections would likely be rewritten.

We could be looking at a long delay if that is the case.

Even if everything goes in DOD's favor, I think we are looking at a long time before the award.

This column was first posted to Washington Technology, a sibling site to GCN.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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