The Department of Defense has determined Amazon [AMZN] Web Services and Microsoft [MSFT] are the two vendors capable of meeting the minimum requirements for the $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud computing program, with a contract award now expected in mid-July, a Pentagon spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The program update arrives following a series of protests and delays, including a DoD investigation that found no conflicts of interest related to JEDI acquisition but did point to potential ethical violations that have been referred to the department’s inspector general.

penatgon photo
Aerial of the Pentagon, the Department of Defense headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, near Washington DC, with I-395 freeway on the left, and the Air Force Memorial up middle.

“After evaluating all of the proposals received, the Department of Defense has made a competitive range determination for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure Cloud request for proposals, in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations. The two companies within the competitive range will participate further in the procurement process,” Elissa Smith, a DoD spokeswoman, told Defense Daily.

Microsoft and AWS’ selection to move forward in the program effectively eliminates Oracle [ORCL] and IBM [IBM] from the competition, both of which previously filed protests related to JEDI (Defense Daily, Nov. 14 2018).

JEDI has faced pushback from both Congress and industry for its single-award contract structure and stringent requirements potentially skewing the competition toward only the largest cloud vendors, including AWS.

DoD opened its conflict of interest investigation in February, which stemmed partly from a lawsuit Oracle filed last December that alleged a department employee working on JEDI may have had ties to AWS.

“The department’s investigation has determined that there is no adverse impact on the integrity of the acquisition process. However, the investigation also uncovered potential ethical violations, which have been further referred to DOD IG,” Smith said.

The DoD investigation placed a stay on the JEDI effort, delaying the contract award. Smith said the department has requested the stay be lifted as officials are preparing to pick up the proposal process.

“DoD requested the stay in order to complete the investigation. The investigation has been completed, so we will be asking the court to lift the stay,” Smith said. “The stay precludes concluding the protest, not moving forward in the RFP process. Therefore, the department has identified the companies within the competitive range, and those companies have been notified.”

Bloomberg first reported AWS and Microsoft’s advancement in the program, and the results of the DoD investigation.