DOD reaffirms JEDI award to Microsoft after corrective action

(DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)

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After taking corrective action on part of the $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract, the Pentagon has reaffirmed its original award to Microsoft.

The Department of Defense said Friday it “completed its comprehensive re-evaluation of the JEDI Cloud proposals and determined that Microsoft’s proposal continues to represent the best value to the Government.” Effectively, the DOD has re-awarded JEDI to Microsoft.

Earlier this year, DOD decided to take corrective action on the JEDI acquisition and re-evaluated the proposals of Microsoft and losing bidder Amazon. Over the course of its ongoing claims court bid protest, Amazon made a strong case for at least one area in the contract where the department erred in evaluating bids. Rather than waiting for the court to decide on the matter, DOD asked for a remand of the protest to “reconsider certain aspects of the challenged agency decision.”

Despite DOD’s re-affirmation of the award, work with Microsoft is still on pause because of a court-ordered injunction. The department said it “is eager to begin delivering this capability to our men and women in uniform.”

A Microsoft spokesperson echoed the department’s sentiments: “We appreciate that after careful review, the DoD confirmed that we offered the right technology and the best value. We’re ready to get to work and make sure that those who serve our country have access to this much needed technology.”

Though DOD called its re-evaluation “comprehensive,” it’s unclear what all it took into account when looking at proposals again. Amazon’s original complaint brought up more than a handful of ways it alleges DOD erred, but the court so far only focused on one of those areas, which it said was probably enough of a misstep that Amazon would likely succeed in its protest.

The company pointed to this in a blog post Friday published after DOD’s announcement.

“Given the DoD did not agree to meaningfully review the many evaluation flaws outlined in our protest, we said the corrective action was likely to result in another contract award based on politics and improper influence and not based on the relative strengths of the two offerings,” the post says. “That is exactly where we find ourselves today, with the DoD’s re-evaluation nothing more than an attempt to validate a flawed, biased, and politically corrupted decision.”

Amazon also noted that its bid was much lower than Microsoft’s this time around “by several tens of millions of dollars.” In the original award to Microsoft last fall, the DOD cited price as a major factor in its decision, according to Amazon.

The company didn’t hold back in opining that it believes DOD’s attempt to take corrective action has been disingenuous and a waste of time: “‘Corrective action’ was used as a way to halt our litigation, delay further investigations and incorrectly give the appearance that only one issue needed to be fixed while giving the impression that the DoD was actually going to fix something. While corrective action can be used to efficiently resolve protests, in reality, this corrective action changed nothing, wasted five months that could have been spent getting to the bottom of these serious concerns, and was designed solely to distract from our broader concerns and reaffirm a decision that was corrupted by the President’s self-interest. When we opposed the DoD’s approach to corrective action, we predicted this would happen, and it has. By continuing to delay, distract, and avoid addressing these very serious issues, the DoD is turning out to be its own worst enemy with regard to speeding things along.”

Now, things go back to court, where the parties involved will discuss next steps and the judge will decide if DOD’s actions are enough to remove the temporary injunction on work.

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Amazon Web Services (AWS), Department of Defense (DOD), Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI), Microsoft
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