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Oracle ramps up JEDI cloud conflict accusations

Oracle is pushing hard for the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to force the Defense Department to turn over more information on how it evaluated potential conflicts of interest involving the massive JEDI cloud computing procurement.

But so far, the federal judge isn’t buying Oracle's arguments and has turned down two of three specific requests for broader access to a Google Drive, plus notes and drafts from interviews DOD conducted as part of its investigation into possible conflicts of interest.

The judge ordered DOD turn over documents in the Google Drive that investigators looked at, but not access to everything in the drive.

DOD investigated the claims and issued a report that there was no adverse impact on the development of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure solicitation. At least two DOD employees, Deap Ubhi and Anthony DeMartino, worked the JEDI procurement and previously worked for Amazon Web Services before coming to DOD. Ubhi left DOD to return to AWS.

DeMartino says he was only tangentially involved in JEDI’s development. Ubhi said he recused himself when AWS began considering whether to buy a company Ubhi founded. He went to work for AWS after leaving the Pentagon.

In newly-redacted court filings, Oracle raises the stakes on its accusations of conflicts of interest on Ubhi’s part. Oracle is challenging both Ubhi’s and DOD’s contention that he recused himself immediately. Instead, Oracle claims Ubhi continued to work on JEDI and push the single award strategy while negotiating with Amazon for a new job.

Oracle cites emails and Slack chat messages as evidence of how involved he was in advocating for a single-award strategy.

This is one of the reasons Oracle wanted access to the entire Google Drive to be able to look at the dates and timing of documents, emails and other communications involving development of the solicitation.

JEDI's single-award strategy has come under heavy criticism from many in industry as well as on Capitol Hill, but DOD has stuck to the plan. The procurement is now a run-off between Microsoft and Amazon Web Services.

Oracle and IBM also submitted proposals, and Oracle filed its protest before the downselect. IBM is essentially out of the fray. Big Blue could return though, I suppose, if the court does something drastic such as sending DOD back to the drawing board.

Oracle has also filed a new motion for judgment which reinforces many of its earlier allegations: the single-award strategy violates the law and procurement regulations, the solicitation is structured to restrict competition, and how DOD hasn’t adequately resolved conflict of interest allegations.

To those original arguments, Oracle has added that the downselect decision was improper.

Oracle also is asking for a permanent injunction to stop DOD from moving forward with an award.

The Court of Federal Claims hasn’t ruled on the new motion but it has directed DOD to add more information on DeMartino’s involvement, if any, after March 2018. The court also wants more information added to the record on DeMartino’s departure from DOD. He left in July 2018 before the final JEDI solicitation was released.

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