Amazon Challenges Pentagon Over JEDI Cloud Contract

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Political bias? AWS files intention to appeal DoD’s decision to give major cloud contract to Microsoft

The fallout from the US Department of Defence’s (DoD) JEDI cloud contract continues, with the news that Amazon intends to appeal the awarding of the contract.

Late last month the Pentagon officially awarded the $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure Cloud (JEDI) contract to Microsoft, despite Amazon’s AWS cloud division being regarded as favourite to win the contract.

And that is not the only challenge facing the DoD. Earlier this month Oracle filed an appeal after its lawsuit about its exclusion from the JEDI project failed earlier in the year. It argues that there was a conflict of interest.

Political bias?

It is fair to say that the JEDI contract was blighted by a highly acrimonious bidding process.

In July President Donald Trump said that he was “looking very seriously” at the Pentagon cloud contract, and that it should be investigated.

The President said he would direct aides to investigate the pending military contract, saying he had heard multiple complaints about an allegedly unfair bidding process.

The project was then briefly placed on hold, until Defense Secretary Mark Esper could ‘review’ the program.

In the end, there were only two bidders for the contract, namely Amazon and Microsoft, with Azure being the eventually winner.

But Amazon is not accepting that, expressing concern that politics got in the way of a fair contracting process.

President Trump is known to be no fan of Amazon boss Jeff Bezos and his newspaper the Washington Post.

Formal protest

Therefore Amazon filed notice that it will formally protest the decision on the JEDI.

In a company-wide meeting on Thursday, Amazon Web Services’ CEO Andy Jassy was quoted by Reuters as saying it would be challenging for a US agency to award a contract objectively when the president is disparaging one of the contestants.

The company confirmed Jassy’s comments and said, “Numerous aspects of the JEDI evaluation process contained clear deficiencies, errors, and unmistakable bias- and it’s important that these matters be examined and rectified.”

A challenge to the JEDI decision had been widely expected, especially after Trump publicly derided Amazon’s bid for the high-stake contract.

The goal of the JEDI cloud project, which could last up to 10 years, is ambitious.

Essentially, the Pentagon aims to create a single cloud architecture across all the military branches and combatant commands. The idea is to allow a seamless workflow and information-sharing environment.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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