Microsoft’s JEDI Cloud Proposal Clears Pentagon Re-evaluation

Ramish Zafar
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After taking nearly four months to re-evaluate its decision of awarding Microsoft Corporation with the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract, the United States Department of Defense (DoD) has confirmed today that the original award continues to provide the U.S. government with the best value. Today's decision comes after the Defense Department requested the Federal Court in March to provide it with at least 120 days to re-evaluate the decision. The same court had ordered the agency to suspend work on the contract in February, after, Inc, which had originally been expected to win the order challenged the Defense Department's decision in court.

Microsoft Won't Be Able To Commence Work On JEDI Cloud Despite Successfully Clearing DoD Re-evaluation

Even as it successfully clears the Pentagon's re-evaluation, Microsoft will be unable to commence its responsibilities under the contract worth $10 billion due to the Federal Court's February injunction that stopped the JEDI cloud from going live a day before it was scheduled to do so. The court had granted the injunction based on its evaluation of Amazon's technical challenges to the award, which dealt with the Pentagon's evaluation of data storage capabilities.

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The 120-day period was granted by the court in May, with Amazon having claimed earlier that the Defense Department's re-evaluation criteria failed to address all of the aspects that the company believed were necessary to reconsider for the contract award. Amazon had argued that the JEDI request for the proposal's technical standards for storage were not met by Microsoft's order and that the DoD's decision to re-evaluate only one of the six award criteria that Amazon believed were pertinent for reconsideration would end up only reaffirming the contract award to Microsoft.

DoD spokesperson Lt. Col. Robert Carver defended the Department's decision back then by claiming that the award was "based upon a fair and unbiased source selection process" and that any re-evaluation would also be conducted in a similar manner. His department's decision to maintain the contract's award to Microsoft was confirmed today in a press release which reads:

The Department has completed its comprehensive re-evaluation of the JEDI Cloud proposals and determined that Microsoft's proposal continues to represent the best value to the Government.  The JEDI Cloud contract is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract that will make a full range of cloud computing services available to the DoD.  While contract performance will not begin immediately due to the Preliminary Injunction Order issued by the Court of Federal Claims on February 13, 2020, DoD is eager to begin delivering this capability to our men and women in uniform.

In addition to challenging the decision award in court, Amazon also filed a protest with the Defense Department in May. The bid protest surrounded "ambiguous aspects" of the contract's revised solicitation which the company stated prevented a common understanding of the Department's requirements.

Microsoft, in a reply to Amazon's latest protest, stated in a blog post that the protest demonstrated Amazon's "record of putting its own interests ahead" of DoD warfighters. A spokesperson for Amazon countered the accusation by stating that his company's cloud computing capabilities were superior to the ones offered by Microsoft and that Amazon would welcome a full reveal of Microsoft's performance evaluation for the award.

The scope of the contract, which is spread out over ten years, aims at consolidating the Pentagon's cloud computing needs. Through JEDI, all of the Department's cloud data will be consolidated under a single vendor, and the cloud will also assimilate data across multiple clearance levels. Through the new infrastructure, officials have expressed hope that U.S. fighters in distant areas will be able to improve their technological access and that the country will gain a significant advantage in the computing arena over China.

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