Oracle Appeals Pentagon JEDI Contract Exclusion

Oracle is arguing a conflict of interest as it continues to protest about its exclusion from the the US Department of Defence’s (DoD) JEDI cloud contract.

Late last month the Pentagon officially awarded the $10 billion contract to Microsoft, despite Amazon’s AWS cloud division being regarded as favourite to win the contract.

But the JEDI contract was blighted by acrimonious bidding, and in July President Donald Trump said that he was “looking very seriously” at the Pentagon cloud contract, and that it should be investigated. The project was then briefly placed on hold, until Defense Secretary Mark Esper could ‘review’ the program.

JEDI contract

In the end, there were only two bidders for the contract, namely Amazon and Microsoft.

Google had already pulled out, in part because the deal may go against principles it published in June last year, following staff protests against the company’s involvement in developing artificial intelligence for military drones.

In the summer Oracle had been demanding answers about the role of a former Amazon employee who worked on the project at the Defense Department but who then recused himself.

This person then later left the Defense Department and returned to Amazon Web Services.

But Oracle in July lost a lawsuit in a lower court that had challenged the award process and its exclusion from the project.

A judge reportedly ruled Oracle did not have standing to claim it was wronged by the decision because it did not meet the contract requirements.

But Oracle is not finished yet and it is now appealing the lower court decision, continuing to make allegations about Amazon Web Services which it alleges corrupted the military’s cloud procurement.

Oracle appeal

“JEDI suffers from corruption of a high order,” the document filed last Friday with the US Court of Federal Appeals reads.

The document said that “numerous procurement officials and AWS corrupt JEDI through prohibited conflicts.”

“During the pre-solicitation phase of the JEDI Cloud acquisition, incidents of potential conflicts of interest, often related to AWS, were brought to [the CO’s] attention,” the filing alleges.

Oracle is essentially alleging that conflicted officials were responsible for an illegal and unethical decision to opt for a single cloud provider rather than take a multi-cloud approach to implementing the cloud service in the coming years.

It also alleges that AWS-aligned Pentagon officials were responsible for adoption of selection criteria that effectively ruled out all cloud providers other than AWS and Microsoft Azure.

The goal of the JEDI cloud deal, 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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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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