The Pentagon on Friday issued direct solicitation requests allowing Amazon Web Services [AMZN], Google [GOOG], Microsoft [MSFT] and Oracle [ORCL] to submit proposals for the department’s new multi-billion dollar, multi-vendor Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability (JWCC) enterprise cloud computing effort.

The solicitation invites followed a market research period with five eligible hyperscale cloud service providers, with IBM [IBM] as the sole firm on DoD’s consultation list not to receive a request to submit a proposal.

JWCC is the Army’s replacement for the former single-award JEDI cloud program which was shuttered in July after the department said it determined that “due to evolving requirements, increased cloud conversancy, and industry advances” the program no longer met its needs (Defense Daily, July 6). 

Microsoft originally beat out Amazon Web Services for the JEDI cloud contract in October 2019, but the program then stalled following AWS’ legal challenge, which included allegations that former President Trump interfered in the award decision.

Initial contracts for JWCC are set to be awarded around next April, with Pentagon officials noting that receiving a solicitation request does not mean a firm will necessarily receive a deal to compete for work under the program. 

John Sherman, DoD’s acting CIO when JWCC was announced and who has since been nominated for the full position, said in July the department’s plan is to begin with direct awards in 2022 to stand up an initial capability before holding a full and open competition likely around 2025 for an enduring multi-vendor enterprise cloud capability.

“Just as a reminder, what JWCC is going to bring us is a multi-cloud capability at all three security levels, unclassified, secret and top secret, all across the enterprise from CONUS, the continental United States, all the way out to the tactical edge. That’s something we don’t have right now and it’s something that’s critical for JADC2,” Sherman has said previously.