Defense Department re-examines $10B JEDI cloud contract

Storm Clouds and lightening
The JEDI contract was originally intended to be awarded in September 2018. A new award deadline of August 2019 is now also in question. (Pixabay)

Competition for the Pentagon’s $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract came to a screeching halt last week because President Donald Trump has complained the process may have unfairly favored Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Public cloud providers have been vying for the Pentagon’s huge cloud contract for more than year. In April, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that AWS and Microsoft Azure were in the final running.

RELATED: Microsoft, Amazon still in the running for Pentagon's $10B JEDI contract


Like this story? Subscribe to FierceTelecom!

The Telecom industry is an ever-changing world where big ideas come along daily. Our subscribers rely on FierceTelecom as their must-read source for the latest news, analysis and data on the intersection of telecom and media. Sign up today to get telecom news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.

But now, the new Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he will re-examine the finalists. Esper took his post on July 23. 

"Secretary Esper is committed to ensuring our warfighters have the best capabilities, including artificial intelligence, to remain the most lethal force in the world, while safeguarding taxpayer dollars," Elissa Smith, a Pentagon spokesperson, said in a statement to Politico on Thursday.

The company that is eventually awarded the contract will provide all the cloud computing for Department of Defense (DoD) data including personal statistics and intelligence information. Currently, the U.S. military uses more than 500 discrete clouds for sensitive information.

AWS vs Microsoft

Trump has been butting heads with Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. Bezos also owns the Washington Post, which Trump has called a “lobbyist newspaper.”

Of the JEDI process, Trump said in July, “I never had something where more people are complaining,” according to a story by CNBC. “We’re getting tremendous complaints from other companies. Some of the greatest companies in the world are complaining about it."

RELATED: Trump mulls stepping into Pentagon's JEDI cloud contract that AWS, Microsoft are pursuing

Re-examination of the the contract might be good news for Oracle Corporation. Oracle and IBM were both in the running during the original request for proposal. Since being eliminated from the running, Oracle has been pushing for the Pentagon to adopt a multi-cloud strategy. According to CNN, Oracle has been lobbying aggressively to turn Trump away from Amazon. In a presentation at the White House, Oracle lobbyists argued that the Department of Defense was unfairly in favor of Amazon. 

A Pentagon spokesperson replied to this allegation, announcing last week that it considered Oracle’s push “the subject of poorly-informed and often manipulative speculation.” But it was enough to get Trump to step in to the process typically handled inside the DoD.

The JEDI contract was originally intended to be awarded in September 2018. A new award deadline of August 2019 is now also in question.

Suggested Articles

Analyst Scott Raynovich says that Cisco's newly announced ASIC is a big gamble for its business model, and could impact other areas of revenue.

Orange Digital Ventures is the lead investor in a financing round of $24.3 million for software-defined cloud interconnect (SDCI) vendor InterCloud.

After years of aligning optics, silicon and software elements, Cisco announced its "Internet for the Future" strategy at an event in San Francisco.