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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

As troubles mount is JEDI at risk?

The Defense Department’s massive JEDI cloud infrastructure contract apparently is at the center of a preliminary nvestigation.

According to Jason Miller of Federal News Network, a source he spoke to was asked by the FBI and DOD inspector general questions about times and dates of meetings and the role of the Cloud Executive Steering Group in overseeing the procurement.

JEDI is part of a civil lawsuit brought by Oracle to stop DOD from proceeding until a potential personal conflict of interest is investigated and addressed. That lawsuit is on hold while DOD re-evaluates that potential conflict.

The contracting officer also is looking at any potential organizational conflicts of interest as part of the evaluation of proposals.

In Miller’s report, the source says they were asked DOD IG and the FBI are asking about relationships among contractors and government personnel related to JEDI and other procurements run by DOD's Washington Headquarters Service.

Miller is careful to call the investigation as “preliminary,” so apparently it is too early to say there is a full-blown FBI investigation.

But it is easy to wonder whether JEDI as we know it is headed toward a premature end.

Oracle has fought hard against DOD’s single-award strategy but they lost a protest at the Government Accountability Office. When they filed a lawsuit at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Oracle raised essentially the same objections that GAO rejected.

The result has been some skepticism about their Oracle's chances of success.

But the DOD asked for a pause so it could re-examine a potential personal conflict of interest. And now the IG and the FBI are asking questions.

I have no idea whether they’ll find any wrongdoing. But one source told me that the delays are opening the contract to a serious risk of failure, even if it weathers the controversies and is awarded.

DOD's push for the commercial cloud isn’t on hold as JEDI founders. Many service branches and defense agencies are moving forward with cloud initiatives. That raises the question of whether there will be enough interest across DOD in using JEDI.

A second risk from the delays is that many of the people who have been JEDI’s champions will likely have moved on to other projects by the time that contract is awarded and up and running. Their replacements may have different priorities and may not be as interested in working on a vehicle that might be tainted by controversy.

So even if JEDI is awarded, it may never live up to its hype.

But a failed JEDI doesn’t translate into a failure of the commercial cloud push. That ship has sailed and perhaps it’s JEDI that’s trying to catch up.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Mar 05, 2019 at 9:58 AM

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