DOD weighing options on JEDI with possible changes coming soon, says No.2 Hicks

Kathleen Hicks takes a phone call from a senator shortly before her Senate confirmation hearing for Deputy Secretary of Defense in Washington, D.C. Feb. 2, 2021. (DoD photo by EJ Hersom)

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The Department of Defense could take a new direction by next month on its Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract, Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks said Monday.

Hicks said that while the department is keeping its options open, she expects movement on the stagnant contract soon.

“We are very actively looking at our options,” Hicks said at the DefenseOne Tech Summit Monday. “We will be moving forward in a…direction in the next month or so, but I am not going to get into where we might end up,” she said, citing the ongoing litigation around the contract.

The contract remains stuck in legal limbo as Amazon Web Services continues to protest the 2019 award of the contract, worth up to $10 billion over 10 years, to Microsoft.

Hicks reiterated the importance of getting enterprise cloud into the department, both for emerging warfighting capabilities like Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) and back-office business operations. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin recently signed a new strategy for JADC2 — a new digitally-driven concept of operations that relies on an enterprise cloud to store data and connect weapons in a battlefield.

“The department must have an enterprise cloud solution approach in order to make the most of JADC2,” Hicks said.

One option before the DOD is canceling the JEDI contract and starting fresh; while DOD officials have contemplated the possibility in the past, Hicks did not mention it Monday.

AWS recently scored a victory in court with a federal claims judge agreeing to the company’s requested timeline on hearings in the case and receiving additional documents.

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Cloud, Department of Defense (DOD), Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI), Kathleen hicks
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