Defense

DOD responds to JEDI ruling

pentagon cloud 

The Defense Department is pushing back on a legal opinion in a recently concluded lawsuit on the agency's planned $10 billion cloud acquisition.

The Court of Federal Claims ruled in the Defense Department's favor in a lawsuit brought by Oracle alleging conflict of interest and rigged requirements in the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure procurement. But Judge Eric Bruggink also ruled that a provision in the contract allowing DOD to include future cloud services under the current fixed-price structure of JEDI stretched the limits of contracting regulation.

DOD wanted the option of obtaining services over the life of the contract as they are invented and adopted by the chosen cloud services provider. The request for proposals included a technology refresh provision to account for new services and stipulated that the Pentagon could acquire these under JEDI.

"In an ordinary reading, prices for specific services must be 'established' at the time of contracting," Bruggink wrote. "Prices for new, additional services to be identified and priced in the future, even if they may be capped in some cases, are not, by definition, fixed or established at the time of contracting."

DOD doesn't see it the same way.

"While DOD disagrees with the Court's analysis on the Department's use of the fixed price justification for the single award determination, we also note the Court upheld DOD's companion justification for a single award," Department of Defense spokeswoman Elissa Smith said in a July 28 statement.

The planned cloud acquisition has been generating significant attention and scrutiny in recent days. President Donald Trump weighed in from the White House, and the new Pentagon chief has pledged to take a look at the procurement.

"I've heard from everybody about the … JEDI contract, and that's one of the things I want to take a hard look at," newly installed Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at a July 24 press conference.

An award is expected in August with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft in the running.

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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