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US Department of Defense Cancels the Controversial $10B JEDI Cloud Contract

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The U.S. Department of Defense today announced the cancellation of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract awarded to Microsoft in 2019. The $10 billion contract, which was supposed to overhaul the DoD's cloud infrastructure, will be replaced by the Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability (JWCC) contract instead.

JEDI was controversial from the start. The single-vendor contract was supposed to be awarded in 2018, but complaints about that process delayed the selection to 2019, and in 2020 a judge issued an injunction against Microsoft because Amazon claimed it lost the contract as a result of President Donald Trump's bias against former CEO Jeff Bezos.

This back-and-forth prevented any progress from being made on the DoD's cloud infrastructure. Not that you'd know it from today's statement — the DoD instead said it "has determined that, due to evolving requirements, increased cloud conversancy, and industry advances, the JEDI Cloud contract no longer meets its needs."

So now it's moving on to the JWCC contract. The DoD said this contract will differ from its predecessor in that it's "a multi-cloud/multi-vendor Indefinite Delivery-Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract." Rather than relying on a single provider (and therefore risking another legal battle) it will use multiple cloud services vendors.

It also seems like JWCC was intended to settle things between Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, and the DoD from the start. As the DoD explained in its statement:

"The Department intends to seek proposals from a limited number of sources, namely the Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft) and Amazon Web Services (AWS), as available market research indicates that these two vendors are the only Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) capable of meeting the Department’s requirements."

It would be surprising if IBM, Oracle, and other cloud services providers allowed that claim to go uncontested, but at least for now it seems the DoD's primary concern is appeasing Microsoft and Amazon Web Services so they can finally start work on a technological overhaul that was supposed to have been underway since 2018.

Microsoft expressed a similar sentiment in a blog post. "Because the security of the United States through the provision of critical technology upgrades is more important that any single contract," it said, "we respect and accept DoD’s decision to move forward on a different path to secure mission-critical technology."

  • punkncat
    Reading stuff like this makes my mind wander to slush funds and off record missions ala Jason Bourne.

    "Oh, THAT $10B? That's classified"
    Reply
  • Makaveli
    Microsoft must be pissed.
    Reply
  • jp7189
    If at first you don't win, cry until someone hands you a participation trophy?
    Reply
  • Co BIY
    Eisenhower warned about something along these lines.

    But Biden owes Amazon/Bezos.

    Nice how the controversy is not about there being a $10B contract.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    "a multi-cloud/multi-vendor Indefinite Delivery-Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract."

    So....no end state.
    We'll just keep paying forever.
    Reply
  • velocityg4
    Couldn't they have called the new one.
    Services Integrated Telemetry Holders (SITH)

    I'm sorry. I could care less if MS got the contract first or how they got it. JEDI was an awesome acronym. For that reason they should've been able to stick with the original plan and provider.

    On a sci-fi related note. Biden needs to use an executive order to transfer Admiral James Kirk from the Navy to the Space Force. Bring the Enterprise shuttle out of mothballs and make him the commander. Trump missed his chance when he was still Captain James Kirk. At least keep him around long enough to transfer from the USS Ronald Reagan task force to the USS Enterprise task force when CVN-80 is commissioned in 2025. I mean what are the odds of the Navy ever again getting a Captain or Admiral James Kirk to command the Enterprise?
    Reply
  • TJ Hooker
    Co BIY said:
    Eisenhower warned about something along these lines.

    But Biden owes Amazon/Bezos.

    Nice how the controversy is not about there being a $10B contract.
    Why do you think a $10B contract is inherently controversial? The US spends 100s of billions on defense procurement every year, and even 100s of billions on individual programs (spread out over multiple years). The F35 may end up costing over $1T when everything is said and done. But a program that costs $10B over 10 years is what signals the rise of the military industrial complex that Eisenhower warned about?

    And why does Biden owe Amazon/Bezos?
    Reply
  • Co BIY
    TJ Hooker said:
    Why do you think a $10B contract is inherently controversial? The US spends 100s of billions on defense procurement every year, and even 100s of billions on individual programs (spread out over multiple years). The F35 may end up costing over $1T when everything is said and done. But a program that costs $10B over 10 years is what signals the rise of the military industrial complex that Eisenhower warned about?

    And why does Biden owe Amazon/Bezos?

    Certainly not the rise of the Military industrial complex, or a even a peak , but perhaps a regular routine part of the complex that should not go uncommented on. That they addressed Amazon's complaint that the contract was unfairly awarded by creating a new contract with only two vendors allowed to even tender bids is probably the most concerning part to me.

    TJ Hooker said:
    And why does Biden owe Amazon/Bezos?

    Amazon Web Services played a very key role in the unified tech censorship of Biden's presidential rival and his continued suppression. The destruction of Parler by AWS was the worst part of the whole episode. I believe this was a very bad act with extremely negative consequences for the free flow of thought and information in our society. A former President and billionaire can still be heard but hundreds of millions have had their voices threatened and many rightly fear that with a "wrong" comment they can be "erased" from the internet without any recourse.

    If someone argued that Biden didn't owe Amazon but feared them based on the example made of the previous occupant of his office I would be sympathetic to that line of argument.
    Reply