Amazon or Microsoft : who will win the Pentagon cloud-computing contract ?
Earlier this year, the Pentagon announced the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) project, which created a competition between the big US tech companies eager to get this mega contract.
Project JEDI is a $10 billion contract over ten years to help the Department of Defense build a cloud platform which will store classified information and enhance weapons systems.
Only one commercial provider will sign this contract : Amazon and Microsoft are the most likely to win.
Why only one company ? The Pentagon wants to choose only one provider for the entire contract, because they think it will be easier to manage. Dana Deasy, the Pentagon CIO, told the Washington Post that multiple providers would add needless complexity.
Google just gave up a few months ago, justifying ethical conflicts according to their new principles about AI, especially not contributing to develop weapons. This decision is also influenced by Google’s lack of certifications required to host classified data.
Amazon Web Services is likely to win this contract, mainly because it has already got important contracts with US federal agencies, particularly CIA. Amazon is also the only one who has the authorizations to support government sensitive data.
As to Microsoft, they are alongside with Amazon to get this winner-take-all contract. They are expected to get the certification needed to host classified information. They are already working with US armies, which can be in its favor to get the mega contract.
Several companies are against this winner-take-all contract. First, Oracle, Microsoft and Google have been lobbying about multiple sellers contract.
Last month, IBM followed Oracle’s lead in filing an official complaint with the US Government Accountability Office against this single-vendor contract. They’re arguing that, because of the size of the contract, they have to use multiple providers. GAO response was not in favor of what IBM and Oracle expected. Novembre 14th, they rejected all of Oracle’s arguments against a single-vendor.
Ralph White managing associate general counsel for procurement law at GAO said :
“The GAO’s decision concludes that the Defense Department’s decision to pursue a single-award approach to obtain these cloud services is consistent with applicable statutes (and regulations), because the agency reasonably determined that a single-award approach is in the government’s best interests for various reasons, including national security concerns, as the statute allows.”
JEDI Project will be awarded in mid 2019. Until then, the competition is not to its end and is expected a lot of unforeseen developments.