JEDI survives Oracle protest

cloud migration 

A bid to freeze the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year cloud deal stalled as the Government Accountability Office denied a protest from Oracle that claimed the procurement was stacked in favor of a particular vendor and flawed on other competitive grounds.

The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, designed as a single-cloud solution to support warfighters across the globe, has proved controversial among vendors, many of whom argue that its classification requirements and other details appear to be designed to favor Amazon Web Services.

GAO decided that the Department of Defense is within its rights in conducting a single-award procurement. Ralph O. White, GAO's managing associate general counsel for procurement law, said DOD reasonably decided "a single-award approach is in the government’s best interests for various reasons, including national security concerns."

GAO also said that allegations of conflicts of interest among participants in the design of the procurement "do not provide a basis for sustaining Oracle's protest."

A second protest, filed by IBM, is due to be decided on Jan. 18, 2019.

Opposition to JEDI has been stoked by vendors, industry groups and lobbyists looking replace the single-cloud procurement with a multicloud deal that would allow for multiple contract winners.

DOD officials have staunchly backed the single-award approach throughout the process. Even Defense Secretary Jim Matthis was grilled by members of Congress about the deal in April.

Two senior Republican members of the House Appropriations committee want the Defense Department's Office of Inspector General to probe the development of the JEDI requirements.

Bids on the deal were due last month. Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and Amazon all submitted bids. Google, another big player in government cloud, opted not to participate.

"Oracle believes that both the warfighter and the taxpayer benefit most from a rigorous and truly competitive process.  We remain undeterred in our commitment to bring tremendous value and flexibility to our customers, including the Department of Defense,"Oracle's head of global corporate communications said in a statement. "Oracle's JEDI bid represents a forward-thinking, next generation cloud focused on security, performance, and autonomy and a move away from the legacy cloud infrastructure that seems to be favored in the RFP."

IBM's protest focuses on competition issues but also pushes on the risks and technical limitations of a single-cloud environment."

"No business in the world would build a cloud the way JEDI would and then lock in to it for a decade," said Sam Gordy, head of IBM U.S. Federal, in a recent blog post.

Separately, DOD announced it was shifting gears on its planned $8 billion back-office cloud procurement. Rather than have the Defense Information Systems Agency lead the cloud buy, it is moving to the Schedule 70 vehicle at the General Services Administration. DISA will handle the integration.

This article was updated to include a statement from Oracle.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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