JEDI corrective action now a waiting game
- By Ross Wilkers
- Apr 20, 2020
Over the next four months, the Defense Department will make a determination one way or another regarding the corrective action for its JEDI cloud infrastructure contract that a Court of Federal Claims judge approved Friday.
Amazon Web Services certainly now has a second chance at wrestling the contract away from Microsoft (who supports the corrective action), at least as far as the procurement’s technical matters are concerned. AWS is protesting how DOD conducted its technical and pricing evaluation, plus says how that took place was influenced by the White House and President Trump.
“In the interests of getting the best technology to our warfighters as quickly as possible, we hope that the DOD’s corrective actions will fully and fairly address all of the issues raised in our bid protest,” an AWS spokesperson said in a statement. “Should the same errors, flaws, and biases fail to be addressed in the re-evaluation, we will continue to seek an objective and comprehensive examination from the court.”
But they will likely have to wait four months or for however long the DOD review takes to raise the broader, non-technical concerns it has about this procurement. In her ruling unsealed Saturday, Judge Patricia E. Campbell-Smith wrote the court is being asked to “evaluate a potential corrective action that has yet to be fully formulated.”
AWS will be able to challenge the corrective action itself and the scope of it at a later date once DOD re-evaluates issues raised by the protestor and details a plan for addressing them, the judge wrote. The company has previously told the court that while it welcomes the corrective action, that re-examination also must explore the alleged wider issues involving political influence.
Whether AWS gets to have its arguments of political interference heard out in court is still to be determined as Campbell-Smith has not given any indication on that front. She decided in early March that AWS was “likely to succeed” in its protest and singled out how DOD evaluated the data storage aspect of Microsoft’s bid, which AWS believes was not complaint with the solicitation and thus resulting in being ineligible.
DOD than proposed its corrective action, which will focus on the bidders’ approaches to application and data hosting, as well as pricing. The department will take limited proposal revisions from both companies on those fronts.
Also subject to the corrective action are online marketplace offerings, of which DOD will reconsider what was offered but for which proposal revision will not be necessary.
AWS also has to wait to see how that remand pans out before further pursuing a claim that DOD is acting in bad faith and simply giving Microsoft a do-over in its bid now that both companies have information on each other’s proposal through a post-award debrief.
For its part, Microsoft is claiming AWS is the one seeking a do-over after having “bid high and lost.” If the corrective action takes the full four months, then that means it will be a month shy of three years since DOD unveiled its enterprise cloud strategy that laid the groundwork for what became JEDI.
Ross Wilkers is a senior staff writer for Washington Technology. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @rosswilkers. Also find and connect with him on LinkedIn.