AWS wants work stopped on JEDI cloud roll-out

Amazon Web Services will play a card the company has held onto so far in its fight over the Defense Department’s JEDI cloud infrastructure contract: ask for a temporary pause in DOD’s work with Microsoft.

In a six-page joint status report filed Monday, attorneys representing all sides of the case at the Court of Federal Claims said AWS intends to file a motion on Jan. 24 to request that the judge issue a restraining order that prevents DOD from issuing task orders to Microsoft for the project.

That essentially would prevent DOD and Microsoft from rolling out services and other offerings for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure project, which they intended to get underway on Feb. 11.

Lawyers for DOD, AWS and Microsoft have all agreed to an expedited briefing schedule on the issue of whether an injunction on the work should be made or not. Microsoft is participating in the case as an intervenor-defendant given it was selected for the potential $10 billion contract in October.

The attorneys’ proposed schedule would see Judge Patricia E. Campbell-Smith decide on whether to order a halt on the project on Feb. 11 after a series of motions and responses from all sides.

From the November inception of its case, AWS has said it held the right to request an injunction even though DOD agreed to not start any work on the JEDI project beyond discussions and initial preparatory activities until at least Feb. 11.

Attorneys representing DOD indicated they may contest AWS’ push for a ruling to pause the project on grounds that the company could have done so earlier.

In December, DOD Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy said the department wants the unclassified portion of JEDI stood up by mid-February. The classified piece would follow six months later, then the top secret layer after that.

AWS claims the JEDI source selection was affected by political influence, including public comments by President Donald Trump against Amazon and its founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. AWS also claims that influence from Trump and other senior White House and DOD officials made its way into how proposals were evaluated, and hence swayed the final award to Microsoft.

Lawyers for the government have filed the classified portion of the case's administrative record to explain how DOD carried out the JEDI acquisition and source selection process, but the status update indicates there is only a "very small amount" of classified information in the administrative record.

About the Author

Ross Wilkers is a senior staff writer for Washington Technology. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @rosswilkers. Also connect with him on LinkedIn.

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