Advocacy group warns Trump about JEDI contract with tabloid ad
The Department of Defense's planned cloud procurement landed in the New York tabloids this week, as an advocacy group ran a full-page advertisement alerting President Donald Trump that Amazon Web Services could win the multibillion-dollar contract.
The New York Post ad was placed by Less Government, a non-profit devoted to reducing the size and influence of government. Addressed directly to the president, it warns, "Your Defense Department is set to award a no-bid, ten-year contract for all its IT infrastructure to Administration-enemy Jeff Bezos' Amazon."
DOD released a draft solicitation for its Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud acquisition in early March, and it hopes to make an award by September. It is not in fact a no-bid contract, and DOD officials have stressed that there will be a full and open competition. But there have been complaints from other vendors about DOD's plan to make a single award and concerns that the requirements are being written in a way that gives Amazon the inside track.
Trump is a frequent critic of Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post. The ad seems intended to focus the president's attention on the JEDI contract, which to date has not drawn any official comment from the administration.
Congress, however, already has registered its concerns. In the just-passed omnibus appropriations bill, DOD is instructed to produce "justification, to include cost considerations, for executing a single award contract rather than creating an infrastructure capable of storing and sharing data across multiple cloud computing service providers concurrently."
Troy K. Schneider is editor-in-chief of FCW and GCN, as well as General Manager of Public Sector 360.
Prior to joining 1105 Media in 2012, Schneider was the New America Foundation’s Director of Media & Technology, and before that was Managing Director for Electronic Publishing at the Atlantic Media Company. The founding editor of NationalJournal.com, Schneider also helped launch the political site PoliticsNow.com in the mid-1990s, and worked on the earliest online efforts of the Los Angeles Times and Newsday. He began his career in print journalism, and has written for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times, WashingtonPost.com, Slate, Politico, National Journal, Governing, and many of the other titles listed above.
Schneider is a graduate of Indiana University, where his emphases were journalism, business and religious studies.
Click here for previous articles by Schneider, or connect with him on Twitter: @troyschneider.