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August 28, 2019

Oracle to challenge DoD JEDI contract again

Oracle has announced it will again challenge the Department of Defence’s (DoD) $10bn Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract.

By Harry Lye

Oracle has announced it will again challenge the Department of Defence’s (DoD) $10bn Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract.

Oracle had previously challenged the decision not to award the contract to the company in federal claims court. It will now appeal that decision.

Oracle’s general counsel Dorian Daley said: “The Court of Federal Claims opinion in the JEDI bid protest describes the JEDI procurement as unlawful, notwithstanding the dismissal of the protest solely on the legal technicality of Oracle’s purported lack of standing.

“Federal procurement laws specifically bar single award procurements such as JEDI absent satisfying specific, mandatory requirements, and the court in its opinion clearly found DoD did not satisfy these requirements.”

The contract is currently under two separate reviews at the DoD, one from the Secretary of Defence Mark Esper and the other from the DoD Office of the Inspector General, as reported by Army Technology.

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The single-source 10-year contract is expected to be won by Amazon as the company has experience in sensitive cloud contracts based on its work on a similar system for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Microsoft is also on the shortlist with Amazon, after the DoD eliminated Oracle and IBM during earlier stages of the process.

Daley added: “The opinion also acknowledges that the procurement suffers from many significant conflicts of interest. These conflicts violate the law and undermine the public trust.

“As a threshold matter, we believe that the determination of no standing is wrong as a matter of law, and the very analysis in the opinion compels a determination that the procurement was unlawful on several grounds.”

Judges dismissed Oracle’s legal challenge saying the company “cannot demonstrate prejudice” against it during the award process of the JEDI contract.

Oracle has claimed that the contract was designed for Amazon to win, citing close relationships between the DoD and Amazon employees as a potential source of conflicts of interest. At least two DoD employees had been in the process of securing jobs at Amazon while working on the JEDI contract.

Despite the ongoing reviews DoD chief information officer Dana Deasy earlier stressed that “the continuation of the JEDI evaluation work has not been paused”.

The DoD already has a multitude of cloud solutions, however the JEDI contract would become an umbrella system allowing easier access to and storage of classified documents and intelligence. The system will house around 80% of the DoD’s existing cloud infrastructure.

In documents, the DoD says the contract will help “support enhanced lethality and strategic readiness” and “enable the war fighter to respond at the speed of operations”.

Competition for the contract has been fierce due to its high value. Research by Gartner revealed there are “five non-Chinese companies seriously competing in the hyper-scale cloud marketplace”; four of these companies applied for the contract.

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