Microsoft has said that it will “respect and accept” a decision by the Department of Defense to scrap the $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) procurement contract and instead proceed with a new multi-vendor cloud acquisition for the U.S. military.
In a blog post on Tuesday, Toni Townes-Whitley, Microsoft president of U.S. regulated industries, said that the company understands the Pentagon’s rationale and that it would continue to support them with technology JEDI would have provided.
Amazon Web Services said also in an emailed statement that it understood and agreed with the government’s decision to scrap the contract.
“The DoD faced a difficult choice: Continue with what could be a years-long litigation battle or find another path forward,” said Microsoft’s Townes-Whitley. “The security of the United States is more important than any single contract, and we know that Microsoft will do well when the nation does well.”
Townes-Whitley continued: “The 20 months since DoD selected Microsoft as its JEDI partner highlights issues that warrant the attention of policymakers: when one company can delay, for years, critical technology upgrades for those who defend our nation, the protest process needs reform. Amazon filed its protest in November 2019 and its case was expected to take at least another year to litigate and yield a decision, with potential appeals afterward.”
She was writing after the Pentagon earlier today announced its decision to move on from the program.
A spokesperson for AWS said: “Unfortunately, the contract award was not based on the merits of the proposals and instead was the result of outside influence that has no place in government procurement,” maintaining the company’s stance that political foul play led to Microsoft’s award, though that allegation was never proven.
“Our commitment to supporting our nation’s military and ensuring that our warfighters and defense partners have access to the best technology at the best price is stronger than ever. We look forward to continuing to support the DoD’s modernization efforts and building solutions that help accomplish their critical missions,” they added.
Along with the cancellation, the DOD announced a new direction for its enterprise cloud effort called the Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability (JWCC), a multi-cloud, multi-vendor contract. The department intends to solicit proposals from Microsoft and Amazon Web Services through the contract as “as available market research indicates that these two vendors are the only Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) capable of meeting the Department’s requirements,” the release states.
The Pentagon will also engage industry more broadly in its procurement process to determine whether any other U.S.-based hyperscale vendors can also meet the DOD’s requirements.
This story was updated to include comment from Amazon Web Services.