The 10-year contract known as JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure) – a multibillion-dollar cloud computing initiative – that will store and process massive amounts of classified information and enable the U.S military to use AI (Artificial Intelligence) to speed up war planning and capabilities, had set off a bidding process among top companies for the right to transform the US’s military cloud computing systems. Some of the innovating giants that were involved were IBM, Oracle, Google, Amazon and Microsoft.
The Pentagon’s efforts to modernize its technology is of great importance and they’ve been running their systems on 80’s and 90’s computer systems, which so far have proven successfully operational. But due to the fact that they’ve spent billions of dollars trying to make them communicate with each other, the time has come to evolve into a new technological era.
The Reaction so far on Microsoft’s win
The fact that Microsoft came out on top for the JEDI opportunity, was a shock to some including Amazon because they were expected to be the ones to take on this great responsibility. The reason being is because back in 2013, Amazon had built cloud services for the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) and was certified at the highest existing security clearance level.
President Trump raised concerns regarding the JEDI contract. Some believe that Microsoft won the contract based on the merits and there is no concern about possible presidential corruption. Back in July, prior to Pentagon preparing to announce a decision on JEDI, Mr Trump announced that he was looking at intervening in the contracting process.
In the meantime, Amazon’s cloud platform, named AWS (Amazon Web Services) said in a statement that they were surprised by the decision, also expressing:
AWS is the clear leader in cloud computing, and a detailed assessment purely on the comparative offerings clearly led to a different conclusion.
The Defence Department responded that all bidders were treated fairly, adding:
The acquisition process was conducted in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. 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.
Possible Amazon challenge over JEDI
Now that Microsoft has secured the JEDI contract, they are in a prime position to earn approximately $40bn that the federal government is probably going to spend on cloud computing over the next few years.
As it stands right now, Amazon must decide whether they will protest the Pentagon awarding the JEDI cloud computing contract to Microsoft.
Also, the fact that Amazon and CEO Jeff Bezos has been the victim of President Trump’s criticism, could possibly be used in a protest procedure. The comments from Mr Trump were clearly inappropriate and improvident, according to Steven Schooner, professor of government procurement law at George Washington University, even though these comments applied any pressure that would make a difference.
Amazon now has the right to ask the Pentagon to debrief the company on why they chose Microsoft instead and if they are not satisfied with the explanation, they may file a formal protest with the Government Accountability Office, which has 100 days to review the case. The case could also be taken further for a dispute to the U.S Court of Federal Claim.
Meanwhile, Microsoft appreciates the fact they were chosen and are in the final stages of getting the accreditation needed to handle the U.S governments top classified data. They are also committed to reaching all JEDI requirements.