After years of legal fighting, the Department of Defense, Pentagon has been canceled a potentially $10 billion cloud-computing deal with Microsoft.
The Pentagon’s contract to develop a cloud-computing system was the subject of a protracted court fight, with Amazon alleging that it was passed over for the lucrative contract owing to political considerations.
The Pentagon did not mention the legal fight, instead stating that the contract was terminated due to changing requirements, technological advancements, and different demands than when it was initially offered.
“With the changing technology landscape, it has become obvious that the long-delayed JEDI Cloud contract no longer fulfills the criteria to satisfy the Department of Defense’s capability shortfalls,” a DoD spokeswoman said in a statement.
The Jedi Cloud is the military’s classified equivalent of Apple’s iCloud, allowing information to be safely saved and shared across the military’s computer system.
The elimination of the Jedi contract, according to John Sherman, the Department of Defense’s chief information officer, was motivated by the rising need for a “multi-cloud strategy,” which would have been the case even if there had been no legal fighting.
According to Sherman, the Pentagon would submit contract solicitations to Amazon and Microsoft in October after a few months of investigation. He expects to have the contracts in place and operational by April of next year.
Toni Townes-Whitley, Microsoft’s president of US Regulated Industries, said on her blog that the firm is dedicated to aiding the Pentagon and that the Pentagon is in a tough situation as a result of the protracted legal process.
“We understand the Department of Defense’s reasoning, and we stand with them and every service person who needs the mission-critical 21st-century technology that JEDI would have delivered,” Townes-Whitley said. “The Department of Defense was confronted with a tough decision: continue with what might be a years-long legal struggle, or find another way ahead. The security of the United States is more essential than any one contract, and we know that when the country does well, Microsoft will do well as well.”
Policymakers, according to Townes-Whitley, should change the “protest procedure” that caused the technological improvements to be delayed.
“The 20 months since the Department of Defense picked Microsoft as its JEDI partner shows concerns that demand politicians’ attention: when one business can postpone essential technology improvements for people who protect our nation for years, the protest process requires change,” Townes-Whitley wrote. “Amazon filed its objection in November 2019, and it was believed that the matter would take at least another year to fight and reach a judgment, with possible appeals.”
In a statement to ABC News, an Amazon Web Services representative stated the firm agrees with the Department of Defense’s decision.
“We understand and support the Department of Defense’s decision. Unfortunately, the contract was awarded based on outside influence rather than the merits of the bids, which has no place in government procurement “According to the spokesman. “Our commitment to helping our country’s military and ensuring that our warfighters and defense allies have access to the finest technology at the best pricing has never been greater. We look forward to continuing to support the Department of Defense’s modernization initiatives and developing solutions that assist them in achieving their essential objectives.”