JEDI moves ahead after Oracle complaints rejected
- By Adam Mazmanian
- Jul 15, 2019
On July 12, Judge Eric G. Bruggink of the Court of Federal Claims rejected complaints by Oracle that conflict of interest and unfair requirements warranted a rebid of the $10 billion, 10-year Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract.
According to Bruggink, the gate criteria in the JEDI solicitation were enforceable and the Defense Department was within its rights to exclude Oracle from the competition in a down-selection process that left Amazon Web Services and Microsoft as the only remaining bidders.
The judge also ruled that the findings of a DOD contracting officer denying any organizational conflict of interest related to links between some individuals who worked on the JEDI solicitation and AWS "were not arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law."
Oracle and IBM protested the procurement even before initial bids were due because of what they saw as unnecessarily restrictive requirements both in terms of cloud security and capacity. Oracle sued in the Court of Federal Claims seeking a new solicitation and Amazon Web Services was added to the case as a defendant alongside the Department of Defense.
An opinion in the case is forthcoming.
The ruling sets the stage for DOD to make an award in the long-running procurement, designed to deliver cloud and data to troops in combat and across the defense enterprise. Characterized by defense officials as "warfighter cloud," the idea behind JEDI is to give combat troops at the edge access to the wealth of intelligence data and communications connectivity and support the use of artificial intelligence across DOD.
The procurement has drawn opposition from Capitol Hill as well. In a June 11 letter, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) urged National Security Advisor John Bolton to "direct the delay of an award" to allow for more competition. Rubio also advocated a multicloud approach. "Using multiple cloud providers also increases redundancy and resilience so that there is no risk of a single point of failure for DoD technology systems," Rubio wrote.
Rubio also said he was writing to Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper to raise concerns about potential conflict of interest in the procurement.
DOD CIO Dana Deasy has said an award in JEDI is expected in August. Deasy has already instructed defense agencies to identify applications for hosting on the JEDI cloud.
As expected, DOD was pleased with the decision.
"This reaffirms the DOD's position: the JEDI Cloud procurement process has been conducted as a fair, full and open competition, which the contracting officer and her team executed in compliance with the law. DOD has an urgent need to get these critical capabilities in place to support the warfighter and we have multiple military services and Combatant Commands waiting on the availability of JEDI. Our focus continues to be on finalizing the award decision," DOD spokesperson Elissa Smith said.
FCW staff writer Lauren C. Williams contributed reporting to this article.
A longer version of this article was first posted to FCW, a sibling site to GCN.
Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.
Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.
Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.