Microsoft Wins DoD’s Coveted JEDI Cloud Contract

Just a few days after announcing that the Defense secretary would recuse himself from the decision, the Pentagon announced today that Microsoft has won the coveted Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure Program, or JEDI, cloud storage contract.

“Today the Department of Defense has taken another step forward in the implementation of our Cloud Strategy with the award of an enterprise general-purpose cloud contract to Microsoft,” DoD said. “This continues our strategy of a multi-vendor, multi-cloud environment as the department’s needs are diverse and cannot be met by any single supplier. This contract will address critical and urgent unmet warfighter requirements for modern cloud infrastructure at all three classification levels delivered out to the tactical edge.”

“This award is the conclusion of a process that began with the release of the first RFI to industry nearly two years ago. Throughout that time, the department’s focus never wavered from the need to support our warfighters with this essential capability.”

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in August that he would review the current contracting process after President Trump told reporters on July 18, “I’m getting tremendous complaints about the contract with the Pentagon and with Amazon.” Trump said complaints about the process had come from “some of the greatest companies in the world” including IBM, Oracle and Microsoft.

Finalists for the cloud computing contract were Amazon and Microsoft; Oracle was eliminated earlier in the process and challenged the decision in court. IBM lost an appeal on their contract rejection in December. In February, the Defense secretary’s son Luke Esper began working as a digital strategy consultant with IBM Services; on Tuesday, the Pentagon said Esper had “removed himself from participating in any decision making” on the contract.

Amazon is a frequent target of criticism by Trump, as CEO Jeff Bezos also owns The Washington Post.

Amazon said in a statement today that Amazon Web Services, which won a CIA contract in 2013, “is the clear leader in cloud computing, and a detailed assessment purely on the comparative offerings clearly lead to a different conclusion.”

“We remain deeply committed to continuing to innovate for the new digital battlefield where security, efficiency, resiliency, and scalability of resources can be the difference between success and failure,” the statement added.

The Defense Department statement said the acquisition process “was conducted in accordance with applicable laws and regulations” and “cleared review by the GAO and Court of Federal Claims.”

“At the outset the competition included four different offerors. All offerors were treated fairly and evaluated consistently with the solicitation’s stated evaluation criteria. Prior to the award, the department conferred with the DoD Inspector General, which informed the decision to proceed,” DoD continued. “The base contract period is two years with a $1 million guarantee. The department projects that user adoption will drive an estimated $210 million of spending during the two year base period. The DoD will rigorously review contract performance prior to the exercise of any options.”

The department added that “additional contracting opportunities are anticipated” as they continue “to assess and pursue various cloud contracting opportunities to diversify the capabilities of the DoD Enterprise Cloud Environment.”

“The National Defense Strategy dictates that we must improve the speed and effectiveness with which we develop and deploy modernized technical capabilities to our women and men in uniform,” Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy said in a statement. “The DoD Digital Modernization Strategy was created to support this imperative. This award is an important step in execution of the Digital Modernization Strategy.”

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Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a senior fellow specializing in terrorism analysis at the Haym Salomon Center. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15, a private investigator and a security consultant. She is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

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