The Pentagon’s chief is out of the review process for a multi-billion-dollar contract to create a massive cloud system for the Pentagon. The process will go on, despite continued complaints that Amazon has been the favorite to win since day one.
The decision of which company will get a $10-billion-dollar cloud computing contract with the Pentagon will no longer include Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
The two finalists for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure or JEDI deal are said to be Amazon and Microsoft, and the winner will receive a decade-long contract to modernize the Defense Department’s information technology systems.
When Esper took over his role as Pentagon Chief in July, he was supposed to play a crucial role in the process of conducting final reviews to determine which proposal would be chosen to build the JEDI cloud.
But now the Pentagon has released a statement claiming that, “although not legally required to, [Esper] has removed himself from participating in any decision making following the information meetings, due to his adult son’s employment with one of the original contract applicants.”
While the Linked In profile of Esper’s son, Luke Esper, says he has worked as a digital strategy consultant for IBM since February, reports claim the company’s bid for the JEDI contract has been eliminated from the competition.
Although the deal was originally supposed to be awarded in September 2018, there have been ongoing complaints that Amazon has been a long-time favorite to win the contract.
The computer software company Oracle Corporation filed a legal challenge arguing that a former Department of Defense official who worked on the JEDI project failed to disclose that he was also in negotiations for a job with Amazon, while he was reviewing bids from competing companies.
But it was struck down by a judge from the Federal Claims Court, who dismissed Oracle’s “argument that the contract violates federal procurement laws and is unfairly tainted by conflicts of interest.”
The deal for the JEDI cloud has the potential to change not only the way the Department of Defense operates, but it will also significantly increase the level of the impact the winning company has on the software industry.
The system has been described as putting “a single cloud service provider in charge of hosting and distributing mission-critical workloads and classified military secrets to warfighters around the globe.”
As one of the largest federal contracts in US history, there have been numerous concerns about giving the JEDI deal to just one company, as it is supposed to host the Pentagon’s most classified information.