Congress continues scrutiny of JEDI strategy

NOTE: This article first appeared on

House appropriators continue to worry that the Pentagon's 10-year, single-award Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract will lock the department into the same cloud system for a generation despite ongoing improvements in technology.

Though the gavel on the House Appropriations Committee switched from Republicans to Democrats in January, the objections from lawmakers to the $10 billion procurement are consistent with those voiced during the last round of funding legislation.


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In the legislative report accompanying the $690 billion fiscal year 2020 defense appropriations bill recently passed by the defense subcommittee on a voice vote, lawmakers worry that DOD "is deviating from established OMB policy and industry best practices, and may be failing to implement a strategy that lowers costs and fully supports data innovation for the warfighter."

The lawmakers also noted that the CIA is modifying its cloud policy to move from a single cloud to a multivendor approach in a follow-on competition to its 2013 contract awarded to Amazon Web Services. The report quotes market survey language from the CIA, pointing out that the agency is adopting "a multiple cloud strategy to increase access to cloud innovation and reduce the disadvantages associated with using a single cloud service provider."

Appropriators are encouraging the Pentagon "to adopt lessons learned from the CIA's experience implementing cloud computing over the past five years."

The committee intends to prevent the Pentagon from spending money to move data and applications to the JEDI cloud until top defense tech officials spell out a plan to eventually shift the warfighter cloud to a multicloud environment. Appropriators also want the DOD CIO to share details on any commercial cloud contracting DOD plans for the next two years, including specifics on how the contracts will be competed along with estimates of ceiling values.

The JEDI solicitation has been winnowed down to two vendors -- AWS and Microsoft. The two are the only cloud providers deemed to meet the basic requirements with regard to security, availability and capacity set by the Defense Digital Service. The JEDI program is also the subject of an ongoing lawsuit from Oracle alleging that the requirements run counter to law and regulations and were cooked by former AWS insiders to make sure that the web giant would win the final contract.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.

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