Review of the Pentagon’s JEDI contract hits internal watchdog’s desk weeks before planned winner announcement

Kareem Anderson

Despite being only a few weeks from the Pentagon’s estimated unveiling of its Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract winner, it seems the entire project is undergoing an additional round of scrutiny from an internal watchdog.

The Pentagon’s Inspector General stated on August 13, 2019, that the office is currently reviewing claims of potential ethics concerns regarding the JEDI contract worth $10 billion.

We are reviewing the DoD’s handing of the JEDI cloud acquisition, including the development of requirements and the request for proposal process.

A multidisciplinary team is investigating concerns around JEDI referred to us by Members of Congress and through the DoD Hotline. In addition, we are investigating whether current or former DoD officials committed misconduct relating to the JEDI acquisition, such as whether any had any conflicts of interest related to their involvement in the acquisition process,.”

In the two years leading up to recent events, the competition for the JEDI contract went largely unnoticed by the public as Oracle, Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft quietly unleashed a torrent of lobbying power to sway the DoD in favor of awarding their respective companies the lucrative 10-year deal.

However, in the last four months, the JEDI contract has been under increased scrutiny as Oracle recently lost a court decision regarding its claims of a biased evaluation process by the DoD in its attempt to secure the contract. Weeks after the Oracle judgment, President Trump got a whiff of the situation and use the opportunity to assign his newly appointed Secretary of Defense to re-review the JEDI contract which has led to the current state of affairs.

While Amazon seemed like a shoo-in for the JEDI contract, the last few months have proven that mitigating circumstances may be aligning in Microsoft’s favor.

Ideally, the DoD will have the contract review sorted out by the end of August or early September for the sake of all involved.