Oracle fights on as JEDI court date nears
NOTE: This article first appeared on FCW.com.
- By Lauren C. Williams, Adam Mazmanian
- Jun 28, 2019
JEDI's day in court is fast approaching.
Lawyers for Oracle, the Department of Justice and Amazon Web Services are scheduled present oral arguments in the Court of Federal Claims on July 10 in a long-running dispute over whether the requirements in the Pentagon's $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure procurement were cooked by insiders to favor AWS.
Oracle's latest filing, released June 28 with redactions, continues with two argument tracks: first that the Defense Department's plan for a single-award indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity cloud contract violates the intent of Congress in procurement law and second that individuals with ties to AWS created a set of requirements that tilted the procurement toward the cloud giant -- and that those individuals were paid off with lucrative jobs after the requirements were set.
"The plan worked," the Oracle filing states. "Only the two largest global cloud companies cleared these gates."
The filing takes pains to argue that even if the conflict-of-interest claims are not adjudicated in Oracle's favor, the alleged violations of procurement law should be enough for the court to ask DOD to rewrite the solicitation.
"If the court determines that DOD violated the prohibition against large single source awards or irrationally overrode Congress' multiple awards to the 'maximum extent practicable' direction, the court need not consider the other counts as DOD will have to consider various lawful alternatives to meeting its needs," Oracle's legal team states.
Similarly, Oracle argues that several of the gate requirements that limited final JEDI selection to two candidates – AWS and Microsoft – violated the law whether or not they were consciously designed to favor a particular vendor.
As the case moves ahead, DOD is preparing to make an award.
DOD CIO Dana Deasy told FCW in a statement that an award is expected in late August.
"We anticipate a court decision prior to that time. The DOD will comply with the court's decision. While the acquisition and litigation processes are proceeding independently the JEDI implementation will be subject to the determination of the court," Deasy said.
This statement, supplied to FCW by a DOD spokesperson, clarifies remarks from Deasy at a June 25 press availability at which the DOD CIO indicated that the ongoing legal battle "doesn't impact" JEDI source selection.
In a May 20 memorandum obtained by FCW, Deasy instructed Fourth Estate agencies to adapt ongoing cloud migration plans to reflect the coming of the JEDI cloud and determine which applications are a better fit for JEDI and which will run better on MilCloud 2.0.
Deasy gave defense agencies 30 days – now elapsed – to submit hosting recommendations for JEDI and MilCloud 2.0 and ordered no new cloud contracts be initiated without his approval. The May 20 memo permits Fourth Estate agencies to continue with commercial cloud migrations in progress but said they "must evaluate JEDI as the General Purpose cloud solution" once those contracts have expired.
The memo lays out selection criteria that favor application migration to MilCloud 2.0, including the "use of hardware such as cryptographic modules or custom physical appliances" that can't be added to a general purpose cloud data center environment or a system with "unique functionality" that cannot run in a general purpose cloud in a cost effective manner.
At the June 25 press event, Deasy also offered some of the reasoning behind going with a single cloud structure on the JEDI solicitation.
"So let's say you decide to bring in three or four cloud companies at once," Deasy said. "All of them have to go through certifications, all of them have to go through [the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program] … unclassified, classified, top secret work needs to be tested and set up. Data points. Encryption points. Training. Learning the software tools. The provisioning out to individual cloud providers…. I could go on and on. The reason you want to start with somebody is so you can start to build up a muscle of expertise and talent."
Lauren C. Williams is a staff writer at FCW covering defense and cybersecurity.
Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.
Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at email@example.com, or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.
Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.
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.