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Pentagon Weighs End to Cloud Project Amid Amazon Battle

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Pentagon Weighs End to Cloud Task In The Middle Of Amazon Fight

< img src=" https://images.wsj.net/im-335228/social" class=" ff-og-image-inserted"/ > WASHINGTON– Pentagon officials are thinking about pulling the plug on the star-crossed JEDI cloud-computing job, which has actually been stuck in litigation from Amazon.com Inc. and deals with continuing criticism from lawmakers.The Joint Enterprise Defense Facilities contract was awarded to Microsoft Corp. in 2019 over Amazon, which has objected to the award in court since. A federal judge last month refused the Pentagon’s motion to

dismiss much of Amazon’s case. A few days later, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said the department would evaluate the job. “We’re going to have to assess where we are with regard to the continuous lawsuits around JEDI and

identify what the finest path forward is for the department,” Ms. Hicks said at an April 30 security conference arranged by the nonprofit Aspen Institute. Her remarks followed a Pentagon report to Congress, released prior to the most recent court judgment, that stated

another Amazon win in court could considerably draw out the timeline for the program’s application.” The possibility of such a lengthy litigation process might bring the future of the JEDI Cloud procurement into

question,” the Jan. 28 report stated. Ms. Hicks and other Pentagon authorities state there is a pressing requirement to carry out a cloud program that serves most of its branches and departments. The JEDI agreement, valued at up to$ 10 billion over 10 years, aims to enable the Pentagon to consolidate its current patchwork of data systems, give defense workers much better access to real-time info and put the Defense Department on a stronger footing to develop artificial-intelligence capabilities that are viewed as crucial in the future.< div data-layout=" header" data-layout-mobile= "" class =" media-object type-InsetMediaVideo header scope-web|mobileapps article __ inset

article __ inset– type-InsetMediaVideo short article __ inset– header” > < figcaption class=" wsj-article-caption post __ inset __ video __ caption" > Big tech companies are buying information centers as they compete for the$ 214 billion cloud computing market. WSJ explains what cloud computing is, why big tech is wagering huge on future agreements.

Some lawmakers and government-contracting professionals state JEDI should be scuttled due to the fact that its single-vendor, winner-take-all method is inappropriate and outmoded for massive business like the Department of Defense.

These individuals state the Pentagon needs to relocate to a significantly popular method to enterprise cloud-computing that consists of multiple business as participants. Spreading out the work also minimizes the threat of legal difficulties from omitted business, they say.

Rep. Steve Womack (R., Ark.) contacted the Pentagon recently to begin fresh with a brand-new contract-bidding process that would “allow best-in-class ability by focusing on the continuous competition that a cloud environment can promote.”

Ought to the Pentagon scuttle JEDI, the federal government might seek to spot together a new cloud program by broadening several existing Defense Department information-technology agreements, stated John Weiler, a longtime JEDI critic who is executive director of the IT Acquisition Advisory Council, a public-private consortium that recommends federal government and industry on tech-procurement finest practices.

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media-object type-InsetRichText wrap scope-web short article __ inset post __ inset– type-InsetRichText short article __ inset– wrap” readability=” 6″ > SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS Should the Pentagon pull the plug on the JEDI cloud-computing project? Sign up with the discussion listed below.

Microsoft has acknowledged the issues developed by the hold-ups but stated it is ready to continue the project.

” We concur with the U.S. [federal government] that extended lawsuits is damaging and has actually postponed getting this technology to our military service members who require it,” the company said. “We stand prepared to support the Defense Department to provide on JEDI and other objective critical DoD projects.”

Amazon decreased to comment for this post. The business has actually contended in court that then-President Donald Trump put in improper pressure on the Pentagon to keep the contract from going to Amazon since it is led by Jeff Bezos.

Mr. Trump has blamed Mr. Bezos for what he considered as undesirable protection of his administration in the Washington Post, which Mr. Bezos bought in 2013 for $250 million. The Post states its editorial choices are independent.

At the time, the Trump White House referred concerns to the Pentagon, which rejected that Mr. Trump or administration officials had any influence on the choice process.

Prior to the most recent court battle, Oracle Corp.— among the initial bidders– had taken legal action against to stop the agreement granting procedure. Its 2019 suit declared that an Amazon staff member who worked for the Pentagon in 2016 and 2017 assisted steer the procurement procedure to prefer Amazon, which then hired him back.

A judge consequently declined those claims, allowing the bidding procedure to move forward.

Amazon has actually preserved that it got no beneficial treatment from the Pentagon at any point, however the problem resurfaced last week, with Sen. Mike Lee (R., Utah) and Rep. Ken Dollar (R., Colo.) sending out a letter requesting a Justice Department investigation into alleged conflicts by that staff member and others.

Last month, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) composed a letter to Pentagon officials raising issues about the company’s oversight of the task and looking for more details about supposed conflicts of interest and possible improprieties, which some critics and rival companies state may have skewed the preliminary procurement steps in Amazon’s favor.

Several of the concerns raised in both letters had actually been evaluated formerly. A federal judge in 2019 concluded that the previous Amazon staff member “did not taint” the program.

A Pentagon inspector general report in 2015 determined that the Pentagon consultant didn’t violate any ethical responsibilities or provide favoritism to Amazon.

Steven Schooner, a George Washington University law professor who concentrates on federal government contracting, stated early concerns about the Pentagon’s underlying procurement technique for JEDI have actually grown gradually.

” And all of that is prior to this case turned into one of the most jaw-dropping, head-scratching collections of disputes of interest possible,” he stated.

Compose to John D. McKinnon at [email protected]!.?.! Copyright © 2020 Dow Jones & Company,

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