Pentagon Jedi

Pentagon to reconsider Microsoft’s JEDI contract

Contract to be reconsidere after Amazon protest

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The Pentagon is reconsidering its awarding of a major cloud computing contract to Microsoft after rival Amazon protested what it called a flawed bidding process.

U.S. government lawyers said in a court filing this week that the Defense Department “wishes to reconsider its award decision” and take another look at how it evaluated technical aspects of the companies’ proposals to run the $10 billion computing project.

The filing doesn’t address Amazon’s broader argument that the bidding was improperly influenced by President Donald Trump’s dislike of Amazon and its CEO, Jeff Bezos. Bezos owns The Washington Post, a news outlet that Trump has often clashed with.

The Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure project, known as JEDI will store and process vast amounts of classified data, allowing the U.S. military to improve communications with soldiers on the battlefield and use artificial intelligence to speed up its war planning and fighting capabilities.

The JEDI contract, announced in March 2018, is designed to modernise the Pentagon’s computing infrastructure in the hands of a commercial tech company. Ironically, for more than a year, the Pentagon faced harsh criticism that the procurement was written with Amazon in mind.

Amazon sued the Pentagon after Microsoft won the contract in October. A US federal judge granted Amazon’s request for a preliminary injunction blocking the Department of Defense from proceeding with the contract awarded to Microsoft while the case is litigated.

She also ordered the ecommerce company to put up $42m for costs in case it was ultimately determined that the injunction had been wrongfully issued.

The Pentagon is asking her for 120 days to reconsider “certain aspects” of its decision. Amazon said in a statement it is pleased the government is taking corrective action if it “fully insulates the re-evaluation from political influence and corrects the many issues affecting the initial flawed award.”

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