President Donald Trump has raised the possibility that he may look into the Pentagon's $10 billion JEDI cloud contract for either Amazon Web Services or Microsoft.
During a Thursday press pool at the White House with the prime minister of The Netherlands, Trump said he was going to take a closer look at the contract.
“I never had something where more people are complaining,” Trump said, 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."
The CNBC story said that Trump cited Microsoft, Oracle and IBM. Trump didn't mention Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos by name, according to CNBC, during the press pool. Trump has been critical of how The Washington Post, which is owned by Bezos, covers his administration. The Post's coverage of Trump also seems to be the impetus for Trump going after Amazon for the shipping prices it pays the U.S. Post Office and for not paying enough taxes.
Last year the Pentagon put out an RFP for one vendor to manage its cloud needs, which includes a primary data repository for the military services worldwide.
Back in April, the U.S. Department of Defense ruled that Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure were the finalists for the JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) project because they best met the Pentagon's minimum criteria. Microsoft and Amazon were the front-runners for the JEDI contract due to the depth of their cloud technologies and higher government security clearances, but Oracle and IBM objected to being excluded from the contract, and questioned the entire selection process.
The JEDI contract, which was supposed to be awarded in September of last year, has seen its share of controversy with some of the companies contending that AWS has an unfair advantage. The process was slowed after investigations and a legal battle.
The Pentagon found potential ethical violations by a former Amazon Web Services employee who had worked on JEDI during a stint at the Defense Department, according to a New York Times story. Those potential violations were referred to Office of Inspector General for further investigation. The Pentagon spokeswoman said that employee had “no adverse impact on the integrity of the acquisition process.”
In December, Oracle filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims that alleged there were conflicts of interests and unfair requirements in the contract process.
That lawsuit came on the heels of companies, including Oracle, lobbying the Defense Department to split the contract among several cloud providers instead of awarding it to just one. The Defense Department previously said splitting up the contract would slow down the process and cause a delay in providing the new capabilities to the military branches.
“IBM has long raised serious concerns about the structure of the JEDI procurement," IBM said in a statement yesterday to CNBC. "We continue to believe that the Department of Defense and our men and women in uniform would be best served by a multi-cloud strategy.”
Last week, Oracle lost a court challenge where it had contended that the contract was tainted by conflicts of interest, according to CNBC.
The date for announcing the contract winner has been pushed back several times, but CNBC reported that an announcement could be made next month.