Amazon [AMZN] filed a motion in court on Wednesday to pause Microsoft’s [MSFT] work on the Pentagon’s potential $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud program until the court makes a final decision on its protest of the contract award.
The move to seek a ‘stay’ on the JEDI cloud program arrives as Microsoft is set to begin initial JEDI cloud activities with the Pentagon by mid-February.
“It is common practice to stay contract performance while a protest is pending and it’s important that the numerous evaluation errors and blatant political interference that impacted the JEDI award decision be reviewed,” an Amazon Web Services (AWS) spokesperson told Defense Daily. “AWS is absolutely committed to supporting the DoD’s modernization efforts and to an expeditious legal process that resolves this matter as quickly as possible.”
Microsoft beat out AWS for the JEDI cloud contract in October, following two years of program delays, allegations of conflict of interest, pre-award protests and congressional and industry pushback over the Pentagon’s decision to go with a single-award approach.
Amazon announced in November that it would be protesting the contract award, claiming the evaluation process included “deficiencies, errors, and unmistakable bias,” ultimately deciding to file a lawsuit with U.S. Court of Federal Claims rather than challenging the decision with the Government Accountability Office (Defense Daily, Nov. 15).
A protest through GAO would have resulted in an automatic ‘stay’ on the program, while a decision to pause the program during a pending lawsuit is up to the Pentagon’s discretion.
The move on Wednesday to file a motion for a ‘stay’ on JEDI is a reversal from the company’s initial decision to allow the Pentagon to begin program activities with Microsoft, according to AWS , adding that was originally an accommodation made at DoD’s request.
“We will not comment on the specific claims in the litigation at this time. The Department of Defense will continue to fight to put this urgently-needed capability into the hands of our men and women in uniform as quickly and efficiently as possible,” a Pentagon spokesperson told Defense Daily. “The department remains confident in the JEDI award. Our team’s duty and sole focus must remain on equipping our warfighters for an increasingly complex and challenging battlefield environment.”
DoD Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy told reporters recently the department plans to stand up the unclassified environment for the JEDI cloud by mid-February, adding the program also has 14 early adopters lined up for cloud projects, including the Navy, U.S. Transportation Command, Special Operations Command and Joint Special Operations Command (Defense Daily, Dec. 12).
Microsoft told Defense Daily the company had no comment at this time, and referred all JEDI-related questions to the Pentagon.
Oracle [ORCL] also has a pending appeal in place for a previous lawsuit challenging the JEDI contract, with the company calling for the competition to be re-bid after suggesting the Federal Claims Court did not address several flaws in the acquisition process.