Judge issues stay in JEDI protest case

cloud migration 

Oracle's lawsuit against the Department of Defense looking to stop its $10 billion cloud buy is being frozen temporarily while DOD probes conflict-of-interest allegations.

Judge Eric Bruggink of the Court of Federal Claims issued a stay in the case Feb. 19, in response to a motion from the DOD. According to the brief order, DOD is reconsidering "whether possible personal conflicts of interest impacted the integrity of the JEDI Cloud procurement."

The DOD's motion seeking the stay remains under seal.

The conflict-of-interest allegations stem from the participation of two individuals in the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure procurement with strong ties to Amazon Web Services, the vendor widely seen as having the inside track in this procurement because of its work provisioning classified cloud services for the intelligence community.

In a Feb. 12 filing seeking a judgment in the case, Oracle argued in part that the procurement was tainted by the involvement of Deap Ubhi, a member of the Defense Digital Services team, and Anthony DeMartino, who served as chief of staff to then Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, who launched the JEDI procurement.

Ubhi worked at AWS before joining DOD for a stint of a little more than a year, where he worked on the JEDI procurement. Ubhi then returned to Amazon. According to Oracle's filing, the contracting officer on JEDI did not sufficiently probe potential conflicts of interest. Oracle also argued that Ubhi was a strong advocate for the single-award approach in the procurement -- a position that Oracle argued is not supported by procurement law.

DeMartino was a consultant to Amazon before joining DOD as deputy chief of staff in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In March 2017, DeMartino became Shanahan's chief of staff. According to Oracle's filing, DeMartino was advised by the Standards of Conduct Office not to participate in the JEDI program.

In the Feb. 12 filing, Oracle indicated it did not "object to a stay of this particular allegation" pending the completion of the ongoing conflict-of-interest probes.

In his order, Judge Bruggink directed DOD to file a status report within five days of a determination in the conflict investigation.

Oracle's lawsuit covers a lot of ground outside of the allegations of conflict of interest. The company alleged that the Pentagon ignored the intent of Congress in establishing JEDI as a single-award indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contract.

"JEDI is a classic IDIQ technology contract of the very type that led Congress to enact provisions favoring task order competition," Oracle argued in its motion for judgment.

Additionally, Oracle asserted that the Pentagon's claims of more than $500 million in increased overhead and multiple years of delay as a result of moving JEDI to a multiple-award vehicle were concocted by contracting officers essentially out of thin air. Oracle also argued that certain requirements, involving security certification and data center locations, were established to knock most potential competitors out of the running.

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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