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Supreme Court denies Oracle appeal over JEDI contract

Denial of petition marks the end of the DoD's JEDI debacle

The US Supreme Court has denied Oracle's petition against the Pentagon's vendor selection for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract. 

The petition, filed in January 2021, followed the failure of Oracle's legal appeal in federal court. After Microsoft won the JEDI contract, Oracle argued the awarding of the contract to a single source was unlawful according to Congressional restrictions on single-source awards. 

The company also accused federal circuit courts of taking a hands-off approach when evaluating the complaint and said several Pentagon officials had conflicts of interest concerning Amazon, which also bid on the project. 

"Federal contracting is rife with potential corruption, and nowhere is that truer than in defense procurements," its petition concluded. "Each year, billions of dollars of governmental contracts are tainted by the misconduct of agency personnel." 

The rejection was a foregone conclusion given the Pentagon scrapped the $10bn project following another protracted legal fight. Amazon challenged the Microsoft win twice, alleging political interference by then-president Donald Trump, who had a long-standing grudge against Amazon's CEO, Jeff Bezos. The contract was crippled after AWS won its legal battle. 

The Department of Defense decided to divide the work on future cloud computing systems between multiple bidders. Changing technical needs played a large part in the decision to scrap the project, said Pentagon officials in July, citing new initiatives like the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2), which will be a single network connecting sensors from all the military services. 

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JEDI's successor is the Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability (JWCC), which will involve multiple cloud service providers. The Pentagon will consider both AWS and Microsoft. It said these were the only two providers that could meet its requirements. 

The federal circuit court had said that the original decision to award JEDI to a single vendor had not affected Oracle, which would not have been considered under a multi-vendor award. 

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