DOD’s JEDI cloud acquisition gets its first protest

DOD's Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud acquisition "virtually assures DOD will be locked into legacy cloud for a decade or more," the company argues.
An entrance at the Pentagon. (DOD / Navy Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kathryn E. Holm / Flickr)

To no one’s surprise, the Defense Department’s massive, single-award commercial cloud contract has received its first protest.

Oracle filed a pre-award bid protest Monday with the Government Accountability Office, alleging that DOD’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud acquisition “virtually assures DOD will be locked into legacy cloud for a decade or more.”

It comes less than two weeks since the Pentagon officially opened the $10 billion contract for bidding.

“The single-award approach is contrary to industry’s multi-cloud strategy, which promotes constant competition, fosters innovation and lowers prices,” says a statement given to FedScoop by an Oracle spokesperson. “The DoD seeks to procure so-called ‘commercial services’ that are wholly inconsistent with the commercial sector and the [determinations and findings section of the contract] falls far from meeting the rigorous legal standards required for a single award contract.”


In the protest, Oracle makes the case that a multiple-award contract for a multi-cloud environment is the best path for DOD and the American taxpayer, and that “standardizing on a single cloud today makes no more sense than standardizing on a single on premise computing architecture decades ago.”

“DoD’s interests and those of the taxpayer are best achieved thorough [sic] the
multiple award process Congress has preferred and, in these circumstances, has mandated,” the protest says. “Significantly, the multiple award process tracks best practices of the cloud market today: namely a multi-cloud approach benefiting from differentiated products, varied expertise, and constant competition to encourage both innovation and lower prices.”

GAO has until Nov. 14 to issue its decision. It’s unclear what that could mean for DOD’s issuance of awards — JEDI proposals are due Sept. 19, but there’s been no word from the Pentagon on how quickly it will move to pick a winner.

Oracle’s protest likely won’t be the last JEDI will face, as the contract has drawn widespread industry scrutiny since it was proposed late last year as a single-award acquisition. The Pentagon has continued to maintain this stance despite pushback from the private sector and Capitol Hill.

Oracle was successful in a recent protest of another DOD cloud services acquisition. In May, GAO sustained the company’s protest of a deal originally worth nearly $1 billion awarded to REAN Cloud to help streamline the Pentagon’s cloud migration efforts through a production other transaction agreement.

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