IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

JEDI contract's future becomes murky after AWS court win

Department of Defense must "determine best path forward"

The Department of Defense (DoD) may have to rethink the $10 billion JEDI cloud computing contract it awarded to Microsoft following a court decision in its legal battle with Amazon.

In an interview at the Aspen Institute on April 30, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said the DoD would have to consider the project in the context of ongoing litigation.

"We're going to have to assess where we are with regard to the ongoing litigation around JEDI and determine what the best path forward is for the department," she said.

The statement echoed a briefing sent to lawmakers in January. In the briefing, the Pentagon warned that Amazon's legal action against the government and Microsoft jeopardized the project.

The Pentagon’s problem relates to count number four of Amazon's litigation, which alleges improper influence at the highest levels of Government. The cloud giant says this unfairly affected the outcome of the bidding process. It alleges that former President Trump influenced the DoD to avoid giving the contract to Amazon.

The briefing document outlined two scenarios. In the first scenario, the Court of Federal Claims (COFC) would rule to dismiss count four of the AWS complaint. This wouldn't end the litigation, as AWS has three other counts to consider, but it would likely limit that litigation to around five months. The Pentagon would suspend JEDI until that litigation process was complete.

The second scenario became a reality on April 29 when the COFC published a decision denying the DoD's request to dismiss count four in the courts. The DoD's briefing document warned that this would threaten the JEDI contract’s future. It would need extensive litigation involving depositions from current and former White House and DoD officials, it warned.

"These motions will be complex and elongate the timeline significantly," said the report. "The prospect of such a lengthy litigation process might bring the future of the JEDI Cloud procurement into question."

The report said that either scenario leaves the Pentagon with a gap in its capabilities which it calls an "urgent, unmet requirement." This would extend across all three classification levels and from the home front to the tactical edge, at scale.

Related Resource

The care and feeding of cloud

How to support cloud infrastructure post-migration

How to support cloud infrastructure post-migration - webinar from Trend MicroWatch now

The DoD's Office of Inspector General has launched an administrative review of the JEDI contract. However, last month, Senator Chuck Grassley of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary wrote to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin warning he had serious concerns about the scope of the review.

"DoD OIG did not examine key issues that occurred before the request for proposal (RFP) process, including allegations of pressure from senior leadership to conduct the entire contract without a competitive bidding process," he said, also flagging the "unusual and significant" involvement of senior DoD leaders in contract decisions.

Featured Resources

Join the 90% of enterprises accelerating to the cloud

Business transformation through digital modernisation

Free Download

Delivering on demand: Momentum builds toward flexible IT

A modern digital workplace strategy

Free download

Modernise the workforce experience

Actionable insights and an optimised experience for both IT and end users

Free Download

The digital workplace roadmap

A leader's guide to strategy and success

Free Download

Recommended

Join the 90% of enterprises accelerating to the cloud
Whitepaper

Join the 90% of enterprises accelerating to the cloud

4 Jul 2022
Government to boost AI data mining research in copyright law change
Policy & legislation

Government to boost AI data mining research in copyright law change

29 Jun 2022
Internet providers look to ease cost of living crisis with cheaper broadband
broadband

Internet providers look to ease cost of living crisis with cheaper broadband

29 Jun 2022
NOAA unveils two new supercomputers in effort to better predict extreme weather
high-performance computing (HPC)

NOAA unveils two new supercomputers in effort to better predict extreme weather

29 Jun 2022

Most Popular

Actively exploited server backdoor remains undetected in most organisations' networks
cyber attacks

Actively exploited server backdoor remains undetected in most organisations' networks

1 Jul 2022
Raspberry Pi launches next-gen Pico W microcontroller with networking support
Hardware

Raspberry Pi launches next-gen Pico W microcontroller with networking support

1 Jul 2022
Former Uber security chief to face fraud charges over hack coverup
data breaches

Former Uber security chief to face fraud charges over hack coverup

29 Jun 2022