News

Pentagon might scrap JEDI contract if AWS wins legal challenge

The DoD is being put off by the prospect of protracted legal dispute, suggesting it might be simpler to start from scratch

The US Department of Defense (DoD) might scrap the entire Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract and start from scratch if AWS is successful in its legal challenge.

The $10 billion Pentagon contract, first announced in 2018, lasts a decade and is supposed to provide a means for the US military to modernise its technology infrastructure. Microsoft secured the contract in October 2019, but this decision was challenged by AWS.

The DoD’s CIO John Sherman has since told Congress that a significant ruling on this case is expected within the coming weeks and that the US administration is preparing for all eventualities.

Critically, should the court rule in AWS’ favour, Sherman has hinted that the DoD might scrap the contract and begin again from scratch.

Related Resource

Security analytics for your multi-cloud deployments

IBM Security QRadar SIEM solution brief

Security analytics for your multi-cloud deployments - whitepaper from IBMDownload now

This is because the charge AWS is fighting must be “substantively litigated”, and might involve protracted proceedings including requests for depositions of senior White House and DoD officials, including former officials.

These proceedings will be complex and elongate the timeline significantly, further pushing forward the potential start date for the “urgent” work.

The DoD is prepared to proceed with the JEDI contract should the government win its motion to dismiss Amazon’s challenge, which is the case currently being considered.

This is because subsequent proceedings might only last “four or five months”. If the government loses its motion, however, the prospect of a lengthy court battle which could stretch into years threatens the future of the JEDI deal.

“Regardless of the JEDI Cloud litigation outcome, the Department continues to have an urgent, unmet requirement,” the memo said. “Specifically, the Department’s need for an enterprise-wide, commercial cloud services for all three classification levels, extending from the homefront to the tactical edge, at scale.

“We remain fully committed to meeting this requirement—we hope through JEDI—but this requirement transcends any one procurement, and we will be prepared to ensure it is met one way or another.”

Amazon has consistently argued that the $10 billion JEDI contract was unfairly awarded to Microsoft, claiming the decision was “politically corrupt” in December last year, for example. This is despite an eventual DoD review backed the original decision, finding that the contract was, in fact, fairly awarded to the Windows operating system developer. 

Oracle, another cloud giant that had been in the running for the agreement, also failed in its own efforts to appeal the decision in September 2020. 

AWS has a much stronger claim than Oracle, however, and has vowed to continue fighting the Pentagon decision until it’s exhausted all legal avenues. 

The Court of Federal Claims (COFC), which is considering a government motion to dismiss Amazon’s case, is expected to make a significant ruling in the coming weeks. 

Featured Resources

The ultimate law enforcement agency guide to going mobile

Best practices for implementing a mobile device program

Free download

The business value of Red Hat OpenShift

Platform cost savings, ROI, and the challenges and opportunities of Red Hat OpenShift

Free download

Managing security and risk across the IT supply chain: A practical approach

Best practices for IT supply chain security

Free download

Digital remote monitoring and dispatch services’ impact on edge computing and data centres

Seven trends redefining remote monitoring and field service dispatch service requirements

Free download

Recommended

Four reasons your digital transformation project could fail
digital transformation

Four reasons your digital transformation project could fail

7 Jun 2021
What is digital transformation?
Business strategy

What is digital transformation?

1 Dec 2020

Most Popular

Best Linux distros 2021
operating systems

Best Linux distros 2021

11 Oct 2021
Apple MacBook Pro 15in vs Dell XPS 15: Clash of the titans
Laptops

Apple MacBook Pro 15in vs Dell XPS 15: Clash of the titans

11 Oct 2021
HPE wins networking contract with Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games
Network & Internet

HPE wins networking contract with Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

15 Oct 2021