Oracle to keep up legal fight against $10B JEDI cloud contract

Oracle is going to the next judiciary forum in its fight against the Defense Department's JEDI cloud infrastructure contract.

Oracle is taking its grievances with the Defense Department’s high-profile JEDI cloud computing infrastructure contract one step further in the judicial arena on the heels of an unfavorable ruling.

In a release Monday, Oracle said it has filed a notice of appeal to challenge a July ruling by Court of Federal Claims that denied the company’s protest against the potential $10 billion procurement.

The next step for Oracle in this matter is to go to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which is more widely known for having jurisdiction on patent cases. This move also evidently means Oracle is not waiting for the outcome of two ongoing reviews inside of DOD: one of the JEDI program by newly-installed Defense Secretary Mark Esper, or another by the DOD inspector general looking at potential violations by department employees.

An award of the Joint Defense Enterprise Infrastructure contract to either Amazon Web Services or Microsoft was slated to happen as soon as late August before that review was announced.

Court of Federal Claims Judge Eric Bruggink ruled last month against Oracle’s claims that the JEDI procurement was tainted by conflicts of interesting involving three people who worked for AWS and DOD at different various points as JEDI was being developed and worked on, plus that the solicitation was written to narrow competition.

An investigation by DOD’s contracting officer overseeing JEDI found there was no “organizational conflict of interest” that affected the contract itself, according to the ruling against Oracle that quoted the contracting officer’s report. Either the conflicts did not exist or were not significant, and they had been mitigated even if they were significant.

The judge did find merit in Oracle’s argument that DOD’s decision to make JEDI a single-award contract versus multiple-award violated some procurement rules, but that did not matter because Oracle could not get through gateway requirements to be considered for an award. Oracle admitted it could not meet those requirements when bids were due to DOD last year.

Both Oracle and IBM were eliminated from the competition through a downselect in April that narrowed the competition to AWS and Microsoft, one that analysts increasingly have viewed to be even as the JEDI timeline to award has progressed.

Oracle’s statement to announce the appeal largely reiterates many of the same points the company has already made to the Court of Federal Claims and the General Accountability Office, the latter of which denied a protest by Oracle late last year

"The Court of Federal Claims opinion in the JEDI bid protest describes the JEDI procurement as unlawful, notwithstanding dismissal of the protest solely on the legal technicality of Oracle's purported lack of standing. Federal procurement laws specifically bar single award procurements such as JEDI absent satisfying specific, mandatory requirements, and the Court in its opinion clearly found DOD did not satisfy these requirements,” Oracle General Counsel Dorian Daley said in the statement.

"The opinion also acknowledges that the procurement suffers from many significant conflicts of interest. These conflicts violate the law and undermine the public trust. As a threshold matter, we believe that the determination of no standing is wrong as a matter of law, and the very analysis in the opinion compels a determination that the procurement was unlawful on several grounds."

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