pentagon cloud puzzle

Cloud

JEDI announcement slated for end of August, Pentagon says

The Defense Department is preparing to re-announce the winner of its $10 billion cloud contract, the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure program, in August. 

Dana Deasy, DOD's CIO, told reporters the department is expected to re-announce its "intentions to award" by the end of August "barring any last minute unforeseen additional issues that are raised."

The contract was initially awarded to Microsoft last October, sparking multiple legal and oversight probes regarding how the solicitation was handled and if there was undue influence from the White House. 

A judge gave DOD a 120-day stay expiring Aug. 17 to reconsider portions of the JEDI contract and collect revised bids from Microsoft, which won the award in October) and Amazon Web Services, which has filed a lawsuit and protests contesting technical requirements. 

"Cloud has always been much more than JEDI," Deasy told reporters July 30. 

Deasy conducted the call with reporters remotely using DOD's Commercial Virtual Remote platform, using a version of the Microsoft Teams platform. 

DOD launched and increased its use of the CVR environment to cope with the maximum teleworking mandates issued early during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, use has approached a million users, Deasy said, and encouraged conversations about using the expanded capability to facilitate classified work and to divest of physical workspaces. 

The next step, Deasy said, will be to move CVR from "an [impact level] 2 to an [impact level] 5 environment that has all of the robust capabilities you would expect where you could do much more secure types of collaboration."

The challenge will be maintaining the features that have made CVR successful, so DOD is now piloting solutions to help pivot CVR to a classified-friendly environment scheduled to wrap up by the end of the year. 

"The trick in doing that is you don't want to lose the goodness of how we've been able to allow people to work off-net, so to speak, from their home, from their own types of devices. How do you now transition to an IL-5 world which locks down things in a lot more restrictive way," the CIO said. 

Deasy also said there are active conversations about "what does a sustained teleworking environment look like," and whether DOD should consider downsizing office space to save money and reinvest in higher priorities. 

"There's no doubt that we will be able to leverage [CVR] in the event that the future requires us to," but also around cost-savings, he said.

A longer version of this article was first posted to FCW, a Defense Systems partner site.

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is a staff writer at FCW covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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