Two Republican lawmakers on the House Appropriations Committee are requesting the Pentagon inspector general investigate the department’s proposal process for the controversial $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud contract
Reps. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) and Tom Cole (R-Okla.) sent a letter Monday to the DoD IG expressing concerns that the Department of Defense remains committed to a single-award contract structure for JEDI going against industry best practices and in light of potential Pentagon official connections to a specific unnamed contractor.
“Of particular concern are the ‘gating’ or restricting provisions and the structure of the proposed contract, that seem to be tailored to one specific contractor,” Womack and Cole wrote in their letter. “The department has not provided any adequate explanation as to why they continue to insist on a contract structure that has been widely criticized by Congress and industry.”
JEDI has faced scrutiny from both Congress and industry that its strict requirements and single-award contract structure have tailored the cloud computing search towards a specific contractor, Amazon [AMZN] Web Services.
Womack and Cole do not name Amazon in their letter, but reference an “unnecessary” JEDI requirement that a provider meet DISA Impact Level 6 security levels to host top-secret information. AWS is currently the only provider cleared to meet the requirement.
The two lawmakers also reference media reports citing relationships between current and former DoD employees and the unnamed favored contractor.
“It has come to our attention through media reports that individual who held, or hold, high ranking positions in the department have significant connections to the specific contractor,” Womack and Cole said. “Our current understanding is that these individuals, in direct contrast with Federal Acquisition Regulation and DoD Ethics Policy, had involvement in the DoD JEDI program.”
Womack and Cole are calling for the DoD IG the investigate the RFP process in light of these circumstances and the ongoing criticism from both Congress and industry.
The recently passed fiscal year 2019 defense appropriations bill included a provision for the Secretary of Defense to inform Congress on how the department plans to implement is massive enterprise cloud computing effort.
“The department has not provided any adequate explanation as to why they continue to insist on a contract structure that has been widely criticized by Congress and industry,” Womack and Cole wrote.
JEDI proposals were due on Oct. 12, with the original deadline being pushed back several times following protests from Oracle [ORCL] (Defense Daily, August 8) and IBM [IBM]. An award is expected in early 2019.
Womack and Cole’s letter was first reported by Politico Pro.