Microsoft Or Amazon For JEDI Contract
Microsoft Corp. and Amazon are now the only standing competitors for the Pentagon JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) $10 billion contract, after the elimination of other giants which includes IBM and Oracle.
It was expected that Pentagon should select the contract winner this month but they claim this decision is delayed by the investigation of alleged conflict of interest which led to a legal battle as initiated in December 2018 by Oracle.
According to DoD (the Department of Defense) spokeswoman Elissa Smith, the soonest the contract will be awarded is mid-July due to the delay.
Pentagon announced that only Amazon and Microsoft met “the minimum requirements” for the JEDI project. Hence, only the two can remain in the competition for the award. These leading giants have attained higher-level federal security clearances which placed them on the frontline, even from the early phase of the JEDI contract tussle.
This announcement was however, made amidst the court case with Oracle, which filed a lawsuit in December in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims alleging that the contract was marred by conflicts of interest and unfair requirements which they claim was designed by Deap Ubhi, a former employee at a high-level Pentagon technology unit – in the interest of Amazon, due to his business ties.
Ubhi, who was also a former Amazon Web Services employee, disclosed to the Defense Digital Service in October 2017 that his restaurant reservation company, Tablehero, was discussing a partnership with Amazon. He however resigned from DoD few weeks later and that is claimed to have relieved him of the JEDI contract procurement involvement.
The government argued in court documents that Ubhi was involved in the JEDI procurement only in the very beginning of its development and a “robust debate” about the acquisition strategy continued after he left.
The Department of Defense also emphasized that their investigation “determined that there is no adverse impact on the integrity of the acquisition process,” and ask the court to lift a stay in the case that it had requested to review the allegations.
Tech companies which includes Oracle, IBM, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Dell in an alliance, had been lobbying to have DoD share the contract among multiple suppliers. Pentagon on the other hand; said that making multiple awards under current acquisition law would be a slow process that could prevent it from quickly delivering new capabilities to warriors.
This shows to a great extent that the contract remains as a winner-take-all.