U.S. Pentagon Axes Massive Computing Contract Amid Fights Between Tech Giants

(FreedomBeacon.com)- On Tuesday, the Pentagon ended a cloud computing project worth $10 billion. The program was put to the side because of an ongoing legal dispute between Microsoft and Amazon.

Those companies are still likely to win another multi-billion-dollar deal from the Defense Department to create cloud capability.

In a statement, the department said:

“Today, the Department of Defense canceled the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure Cloud solicitation and initiated contract termination procedures.”

Further, the Pentagon said the reasons they canceled the contract were because “evolving requirements, increased cloud conversancy and industry advances.” They also said the JEDI program “no longer meets its needs.”

The DOD said the baseline and intent of the JEDI program was created several years ago now. Today, though, the department has much different, more in-depth and advanced “cloud conservancy.”

As John Sherman, the acting chief information officer at the Pentagon, told reporters this week:

“In light of new initiatives along with changes in DOD and user requirements to leverage multiple cloud environments for mission needs, our landscape has evolved and a new way ahead is warranted.”

The contract was originally awarded to Microsoft back in October of 2019, but Amazon has been contesting the contract ever since.

When the contract was issued to Microsoft, Amazon filed a lawsuit that alleged the Trump administration interfered in the contract process. It said Trump used “improper influence” to steer the contract to a company other than Amazon Web Services, since President Donald Trump criticized the company and CEO Jeff Bezos often.

Those charges were obviously denied by the Trump administration, and the Pentagon insisted the Microsoft was the company that was best equipped to create the infrastructure the DOD needed.

While the company tried to get the project off the ground over the last year, it was halted when it was put on pause by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. In April of this year, that same court said Amazon’s challenge could continue to move forward.

The DOD tried to review the overall project in the meantime, but now, they will apparently look for an entirely new provider.

That “new provider” won’t really be new, though, as officials with the DOD said they would only consider Amazon Web Services and Microsoft “as available market research indicates that these two vendors are the only Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) capable of meeting the Department’s requirements.”

In essence, then, the DOD went without any cloud computing services they needed over the last year because of fighting between two private companies. Now, those same two private companies will be the ones who will be the finalists for the contract.

Microsoft accepted the DOD’s decision to cancel the contract, but made sure to criticize Amazon in the process. The company said:

“When one company can delay, for years, critical technology upgrades for those who defend our nation, the protest process needs reform.”