Oracle’s [ORCL] protest of the Pentagon’s $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract has been denied, with the Government Accountability Office ruling the department’s decision to go with a single-award approach complies with procurement standards.
Ralph White, GAO’s managing associate general counsel for procurement law, announced the decision Thursday allowing DoD to move forward with JEDI which has faced pushback from Congress and industry over its strict requirements and potential for skewed competition toward only the largest cloud vendors.
“GAO’s decision concludes that the Defense Department’s decision to pursue a single-award approach to obtain these cloud services is consistent with applicable statutes (and regulations) because the agency reasonably determined that a single-award approach is in the government’s best interests for various reasons, including national security concerns, as the statute allows,” White said in a statement.
Oracle filed its protest of the JEDI request for proposals in August, arguing the contract goes against the precedent of using multiple vendors on IDIQ contracts over $112 million and citing a lack of effort on DoD officials to consider conflicts of interest associated with the procurement effort.
The protest followed a period of criticism from industry cloud providers questioning the department’s decision to go against a multi-vendor approach and potentially tailor the competition to a select company, likely Amazon [AMZN] Web Services.
White said the GAO found DoD’s RFP was compliant with applicable procurement regulations and cited that Oracle’s conflict of interest allegations were insufficient to sustain the protest.
The decision clears a hurdle towards a potential JEDI award in early 2019, with the GAO still considering a second protest filed by IBM [IBM] two days before the RFP’s Oct. 12 deadline.
GAO is expected to announce its decision on IBM’s protest by Jan. 18.
Lawmakers from the House Appropriations committee have also called on the DoD inspector general to investigate the JEDI procurement process and allegations of potential connections between certain Pentagon officials and a specific unnamed contractor, likely Amazon Web Services (Defense Daily, Oct. 23).
Microsoft [MSFT] has also submitted a bid for JEDI, according to a statement last month from the company’s president (Defense Daily, Oct. 29).