Pentagon Jedi

US Judge halts Microsoft’s JEDI contract

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A US federal judge has granted Amazon’s request for a preliminary injunction blocking the Department of Defense from proceeding with a $10bn US defence 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 ecommerce group had sued the defence department in November, accusing the Trump administration of having shown “unmistakable bias” in its procurement process and alleging that its division AWS had been denied the cloud computing contract, known as Jedi, because of “escalating and overt pressure” from Donald Trump targeting its chief executive, Jeff Bezos.

Amazon claimed in the lawsuit that the president, who had displayed hostility in the past towards the Bezos-owned newspaper The Washington Post, improperly influenced Pentagon officials. The defence department later awarded the Jedi contract to Microsoft.

In a statement, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Carver said,

[it was] “disappointed with the ruling and believe the actions taken in this litigation have unnecessarily delayed implementing DoD’s modernisation strategy and deprived our warfighters of a set of capabilities they urgently need.

“However, we are confident in our award of the Jedi cloud contract to Microsoft and remain focused on getting this critical capability into the hands of our warfighters as quickly and efficiently as possible,”

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.

In opposing the injunction, Lieutenant General Bradford Shwedo told the court: 

“Any further delays negatively impact our national security, both now and in the future. Our adversaries are employing these technologies and our warfighters need this capability now.”

Microsoft said in a statement,

“While we are disappointed with the additional delay we believe that we will ultimately be able to move forward with the work to make sure those who serve our country can access the new technology they urgently require,”

“We have confidence in the Department of Defense, and we believe the facts will show they ran a detailed, thorough and fair process in determining the needs of the warfighter were best met by Microsoft.”

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