DOD drops second take on JEDI cloud RFP

Thunderbirds’ Thunder Diamond formation (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez)

The Defense Department published the second draft of its planned multiyear cloud solicitation on April 16, indicating that the updated version will "substantially" reflect the final version.

In a memo released with the contracting documents, Program Manager Lt. Col. Kaight Meyers said that the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure program isn't going to encompass other Pentagon cloud projects.

"JEDI Cloud is intended to be available enterprise-wide and complementary to other existing cloud initiatives," Meyers wrote. "It will not preclude the release of future contracting actions."

The Meyer's memo also clarifies DOD’s intent to use JEDI as a means to maximize weapons and business systems capabilities and work with existing cloud initiatives.

The draft’s release follows comments from Defense Secretary James Mattis that emphasized that the competition for the two-year JEDI cloud contract was full and open, contrary to speculation.

The release also comes as Congress intensified its questions on DOD’s cloud acquisition strategy. In the omnibus spending bill passed March 22 to avoid a government shutdown, Congress stipulated the Defense Department report a request for proposal to defense committees within 45 days of passage and a justification for a single-award within 60 days.

DOD provided answers to 1,030 questions from vendors and other stakeholders.

Many questioners wanted to know if the playing field in the single-award structure was tilting the procurement toward Amazon Web Services or Microsoft. Others specified that the top-secret security requirements impinged on the ability of uncleared cloud providers to compete.

In comments reviewed by FCW, the IT Alliance for Public Sector at the Information Technology Industry Council expressed concern that the requirement that a vendor be cleared for secret material six months after the award and for top-secret material nine months after the award
"will effectively prevent all but one vendor from bidding on this contract."

Another commentator wrote, "Please allow adequate time for multiple [cloud service providers] to achieve all necessary accreditations."

DOD didn't budge. In reply comments, DOD disagreed "that the requirement is overly restrictive," and the security requirements are remaining as stated in the initial solicitation.

DOD, however, specified in the Q&A that the solicitation permits partnerships between multiple cloud service providers, saying “any kind of teaming/partnering arrangement” could be proposed as long as the solution met solicitation requirements.

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 lwilliams@fcw.com, or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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