DOD to clarify its cloud plans with industry day

cloud questions 

The Defense Department’s cloud steering group announced it will host an industry day March 7 to discuss its planned Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud acquisition.

JEDI aims to deliver a cloud services solution that can support unclassified, secret and top secret requirements across DOD. The contract, which some industry observers have said could hit $2 billion, has prompted questions and speculation for months over whether DOD would go with a single cloud service provider.

Those concerns were amplified in December when DOD acquisition chief Ellen Lord hinted that the department was finalizing a solicitation on the matter.

"We are, no kidding, right now writing the contract to get everything moved to one cloud to begin with and then go from there," Lord said during a December panel discussion at the Reagan Defense Forum in Simi Valley, Calif.

The Air Force also fanned the flames with a redacted contract award that named Amazon Web Services cloud solution as “a DOD priority per the Secretary of Defense Memorandum.”

DOD officials in December walked back Lord's suggestion that the military might emulate the intelligence community's single-source Amazon Web Services partnership. Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan subsequently reorganized the cloud steering group, adding acting CIO Essye Miller and having Deputy Chief Management Officer Jay Gibson replace Lord as chair.

Materials released Feb. 14 along with the industry day announcement stress that JEDI will be a full and open competition, and that "the cloud adoption initiative will continue to evolve." A list of frequently asked questions addressed the sole-source speculation, noting that a much-discussed JEDI document "does not mention sole source award; it mentions a single award. … [The steering group] is still in the analysis and fact finding phase of this process to determine how many contracts will best meet DoD's needs."

The FAQ also notes that JEDI "is intended to be additive to other ongoing cloud efforts," rather than a replacement for existing cloud solutions. And it states that DOD still plans to make an initial contract award in fiscal year 2018, although the "anticipated value is still being determined."

Other cloud-related contracts have continued to spark speculation, however. 

DOD in early-February awarded a $950 million contract to REAN Cloud LLC -- an AWS Premier Consulting Partner -- for services to help defense agencies migrate legacy systems to the cloud. And a much smaller contract, awarded in January to Eagle Harbor Solutions to support the steering group and Defense Digital Service in DOD’s cloud migration efforts, is currently under protest.

The deadline to register for the March 7 JEDI industry day is Feb. 28. The event will be held at the Sheraton at Pentagon City in Arlington, Va., and will feature presentations from the Joint Staff, U.S. Cyber Command, Defense Digital Service, and DOD’s Office of the CIO.

Correction: This article was updated to note that Amazon won a single-source cloud contract with the intelligence community after a competitive process.

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is a staff writer at FCW covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at, or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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