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DOD names cloud contenders for JEDI replacement

The Defense Department has invited Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Google and Oracle to compete for its massive warfighter cloud program.

According to a presolicitation notice updated Nov. 19, the Defense Department "anticipates awarding two [indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity] contracts -- one to Amazon Web Services, Inc. and one to Microsoft Corporation -- but intends to award to all cloud service providers that demonstrate the capability to meet DOD's requirements."

The contract would start with a three-year base period with two one-year extension options. Ceiling costs for the cloud program were not listed, but DOD “anticipates that a multi-billion dollar ceiling will be required."

The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract, which this Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability replaces, was estimated at $10 billion.

Microsoft was originally awarded the controversial JEDI cloud program contract that Amazon Web Services and Oracle contested in subsequent lawsuits. DOD announced earlier this year its plans to pivot away from JEDI and switch to a multicloud, multivendor approach with JWCC.

"Market research indicates that a limited number of sources are capable of meeting the Department's requirements. Currently, the Department is aware of only five U.S.-based hyperscale CSPs," the solicitation states, adding that right now only AWS and Microsoft are capable of meeting DOD's security classification requirements.

The Nov. 19 presolicitation invites Google and Oracle to submit proposals for the JWCC.

The final hyperscale cloud service provider, IBM, is not mentioned in the announcement.

The announcement comes after Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian spelled out the tech giant's intentions to bid, if invited, on the JWCC. Kurian wrote in a recent blog post that while Google wasn't technically capable of meeting JEDI's requirements at the time, it's ready now after taking up various defense cloud programs requiring high levels of security.

"When the JEDI RFP was issued, Google Cloud was not in a position to bid" because of "various classification levels and other technical requirements necessary to compete," Kurian wrote, adding that the single award structure of JEDI meant that "there would be certain projects the DOD would pursue that were incompatible with Google's AI Principles."

Deborah Hellinger, senior vice president at Oracle, said that the company "is delighted to be included in the Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability RFP." She added: "We are committed to delivering the highest level of security, performance, and value in enterprise cloud applications and cloud infrastructure in support of DOD's warfighter mission."

Oracle was the first to protest the JEDI contract, after it had been eliminated from contention before the final decision in a down-selection process that narrowed the field to AWS and Microsoft in 2019.

An Amazon Web Services spokesperson said via statement that the company's "commitment to supporting our nation’s military...is stronger than ever. We look forward to continuing to support the DOD’s modernization efforts and building solutions that help accomplish their critical missions.”

This article was first posted on FCW.

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is senior editor for FCW and Defense Systems, 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.


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