Republicans urge Trump to keep JEDI cloud buy on track

Top Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee have urged President Donald Trump to move ahead with the Pentagon's $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud acquisition.

“We believe that it is essential for our national security to move forward as quickly as possible with the award and implementation of this contract,” four lawmakers wrote in a July 18 letter. “Moving to the cloud will help DOD operate faster, more efficiently, and compete with adversaries, like China.”

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, and Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Michael Turner (R-Ohio) and Robert Wittman (R-Va.) signed the letter. Stefanik is the ranking member of the committee's Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee.

The letter comes after Trump described for reporters the “tremendous” number of complaints he’s received about the JEDI contract from Republican lawmakers and technology companies, such as Microsoft, IBM and Oracle, Bloomberg reported. Trump said he was looking “very seriously” at the contract and would ask the Defense Department to “look into” it.

DOD has already conducted an internal investigation into potential improprieties with the acquisition and concluded, as did a federal judge, that there weren’t any. Additionally, the Armed Services Committee has been keeping an eye on the procurement process, which the lawmakers pointed out in their letter.

“Our committee has conducted oversight of this contract from the beginning,” they wrote. “While it is understandable that some of the companies competing for the contract are disappointed at not being selected as one of the finalists, further unnecessary delays will only damage our security and increase the costs of the contract.”

An award for the JEDI contract is expected in August. Microsoft and Amazon Web Services are the final contestants. Amazon recently retained a Trump campaign lobbyist to represent it as controversy around the award ramps up, CNBC reported. Although the contract has survived pre-award protests and a lawsuit, there could be post-award challenges. Moreover, the president has the authority to cancel the acquisition altogether.

This article was first posted to FCW, a sibling site to GCN.

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is senior editor for FCW and Defense Systems, covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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