Appeals court rejects Oracle's JEDI challenge
- By Adam Mazmanian
- Sep 07, 2020
A panel of federal appellate judges affirmed a lower court decision denying a protest by Oracle in the Defense Department's Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure procurement.
Oracle was one of the original bidders for the $10 billion contract, but contracting officers determined that the company’s bid did not meet JEDI’s base cloud capacity and security requirements.
Oracle filed a pre-award protest, alleging that the Pentagon wrote the contract to favor Amazon Web Services, that three individuals who worked on or close to the procurement had organizational conflicts of interest and that the department's top acquisition official violated law and agency policy in designing a single-source contract.
In July of last year, the Court of Federal Claims agreed with the government and ruled that Oracle hadn't made enough of a case with any of its arguments to restart the procurement.
On Sept. 2, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit released a decision agreeing with the lower court judge that there were some missteps on the part of the government and evidence of organizational conflicts of interest, but that these weren't sufficient to take JEDI back to square one.
"While we share the views of the contracting officer and the Claims Court that some of the conduct at issue is troubling, at the end of the day we agree with the Claims Court that the conflict of interest problems of those three individuals had no effect on the JEDI Cloud solicitation," Judge William C. Bryson wrote. His decision also stated that there were legal issues with DOD's plan to create a single-source procurement, the "error was harmless" because in other respects Oracle would not have been able to advance in the bidding on JEDI because of its inability to meet certain requirements, "which the Department would have imposed regardless of whether the procurement was conducted on a single-source or multi-source basis."
Oracle had argued more recently that its current level of cloud security accreditation would have made it eligible to advance in the JEDI procurement, but the appeals court stated that any events subsequent to Oracle's initial bid are irrelevant.
This article was first posted to FCW, a sibling site to Defense Systems.
Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.
Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.
Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.