Despite not being included in the Pentagon’s finalists — a short-list including only Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure — for the much-touted Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract, Oracle won’t stop fighting for a piece of the $10 billion.
Oracle’s battle began last fall, a few months after the contract became up for grabs.
Its first protest, filed with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), claimed that the request for proposal (RFP) provisions seeking a single-award contract were against regulation and that the agency didn’t consider conflicts of interest.
After this protest was denied by the GAO, it escalated the claim to the Court of Federal Claims. This lawsuit focuses on the conflicts of interest claim, stating that two people involved in the procurement process have close ties to AWS, giving that cloud provider an unfair advantage.
Glueck continued to raise this concern in his interview with Bloomberg, stating that the RFP “screams Amazon,” and “emphasizes all the things Amazon is very good at.” This narrowed criteria, he said, restricted the competition of the contract, making it close to impossible for other providers to compete. AWS responded to these claims by joining the lawsuit as a defendant in December.
Oracle’s legal challenge was paused in March so the military investigated the company’s complaints about conflicts of interest, but the block was lifted in mid-April after the military determined that its integrity in the process was sound.
Now the lawsuit is alive and well, but Oracle has been eliminated from the bidding process entirely. In fact, Glueck said that the cloud provider didn’t make it past the first evaluation gate and that the Pentagon only read eight of its nearly 1,000 pages.
However, none of this seems to matter to the company as it continues with its lawsuit. In letters to the leaders of the congressional Appropriations and Armed Services committees, Glueck continues to ask for “full and fair consideration of four competing JEDI proposals.”
Oral arguments for the lawsuit are scheduled for July 8 with the contract expected to be awarded July 19.
The Much Attested JEDI Contract
Oracle isn’t the only party involved that has problems with the contract. IBM filed a similar protest, though it took the angle that locking the military into a single cloud provider for 10 years raised security concerns. A spokesperson told SDxCentral at the time that “no business in the world would build the cloud envisioned by JEDI, and neither should the Department of Defense.” This protest was also shut down by the GAO.
Google Cloud withdrew itself from the cloud contract, stating that the work involved may not support the company’s artificial intelligence (AI) principles, and that segments of the contract were outside of the scope of its government certifications. Some Microsoft employees agreed with the first part of Google’s reasoning and wrote a letter protesting Microsoft’s bid. Though the provider filed anyway and is now a finalist, Microsoft offered to give employees averse to the bid alternative employment options.