Department of Defense seeks to reevaluate JEDI cloud-contract bids after Microsoft win paused

The Pentagon is seeking to obtain revised bids from AWS and Microsoft for its winner-take-all $10 billion JEDI contract, in the latest twist in the ongoing DoD cloud makeover.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

On March 12, the U.S. Department of Defense requested the right to obtain revised bids from AWS and Microsoft for the $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Initiative (JEDI) contract, a couple of weeks after work on it was suspended. Though Microsoft was awarded the JEDI win in October last year, the Pentagon is now seeking to go back and reconsider parts of the bids, according to a motion filed with the Court of Federal Claims today.

In that DoD filing, the Pentagon is seeking to reexamine a pricing clause, in particular. The government wants another four months to reevaluate the bids. (Thanks to Federal News Network for posting ta link to today's filing.)

According to the motion, AWS opposes the Pentagon's request to suspend its legal challenge and reconsider the bids and plans to file a response. Microsoft doesn't oppose the motion. I've asked both Microsoft and Amazon for further comment on today's filing, but no word back so far. 

Update: Microsoft's statement, courtesy of Frank Shaw, Corporate Vice President of Communications:
"We believe the Department of Defense made the correct decision when they awarded the contract. However, we support their decision to reconsider a small number of factors as it is likely the fastest way to resolve all issues and quickly provide the needed modern technology to people across our armed forces. Throughout this process, we've focused on listening to the needs of the DoD, delivering the best product, and making sure nothing we did delayed the procurement process. We are not going to change this approach now.

"Over two years the DoD reviewed dozens of factors and sub factors and found Microsoft equal or superior to AWS on every factor. We remain confident that Microsoft's proposal was technologically superior, continues to offer the best value, and is the right choice for the DoD."

Update (March 13): AWS weighs in.

"We are pleased that the DoD has acknowledged 'substantial and legitimate' issues that affected the JEDI award decision, and that corrective action is necessary. We look forward to complete, fair, and effective corrective action that fully insulates the re-evaluation from political influence and corrects the many issues affecting the initial flawed award," said an AWS spokesperson.

The DoD wants to reconsider "its evaluation of the technical aspects of Price Scenario 6," which involves storage solution pricing, in particular, according to the March 12 motion

In February, a US Federal Court judge granted Amazon Web Services' request that work JEDI be temporarily halted. Microsoft, which won the $10 billion, 10-year JEDI deal, has already started staffing up for JEDI.

Amazon has been contesting the JEDI award since it was announced on Oct. 25, 2019, claiming that politics had played a role in the decision in Microsoft's favor.

Throughout much of the bidding process, Amazon was expected by many to be the triumphant bidder. In the later rounds, Amazon and Microsoft emerged as the two final bidders in the winner-take-all deal. (Google dropped out of the JEDI bidding late last year, while Oracle and IBM were eliminated earlier this year. ) But in August this year, the Pentagon said it was putting the JEDI contract on hold after US President Donald Trump complained about potential conflicts of interest in the process. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has been targeted by Trump as a political thorn because of his ownership of The Washington Post.  

The JEDI contract is designed to upgrade legacy DoD systems with newer cloud services. The JEDI Cloud will provide "enterprise-level, commercial IaaS (infrastructure as a service) and PaaS (platform as a service) to the Department and any mission partners for all Department business and mission operations," the government said.  

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