Amazon Web Services will ask a federal court to block the Pentagon and Microsoft from beginning work on the Department of Defense’s controversial enterprise cloud, according to a Jan. 13 court filing.
The joint status report — filed by the DoD, Microsoft and AWS in the Court of Federal Claims — lays out a timeline for the next few weeks of Amazon’s court challenge of the DoD’s award of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud to Microsoft.
According to the document, AWS plans to file a motion for preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order “to prevent the issuance of substantive task orders under the contract” on Jan. 24. The Defense Department has indicated that task orders for the unclassified portion of the cloud will go out Feb. 11.
A preliminary injunction would serve as yet another significant setback for the DoD, whose IT leadership over the last year have continuously indicated that any delay would negative impact the war fighter and lead DoD components to adopt their own solutions.
Deasy has said that there are 14 early adopters of the JEDI cloud, including the Navy, U.S. Transportation Command, Special Operations Command and Joint Special Operations Command.
AWS alleged in a December complaint that the contract award to Microsoft was influenced by President Donald Trump, who has continuously expressed animosity for Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post. In the complaint, Amazon Web Services lawyers wrote that “basic justice requires reevaluation of proposals and a new award decision."
As part of the court case, Amazon Web Services filed a CD-ROM containing videos of Trump bashing Amazon in a 2016 campaign rally and saying "we’re going to take a look at it [the contract]” in the Oval Office last summer.
At his confirmation hearing in October, DoD CIO Dana Deasy said no one on the source selection team was influenced by the White House. He didn’t deny that senior leadership at the DoD felt any external pressure.
The JEDI cloud, potentially worth $10 billion over 10 years, has been significantly delayed due to several protests by other bidders both inside and outside of federal court.
Microsoft and the Department of Defense will file partial motions to dismiss the same day as AWS’ preliminary injunction motion, according to the complaint.
Andrew Eversden covers all things defense technology for C4ISRNET. He previously reported on federal IT and cybersecurity for Federal Times and Fifth Domain, and worked as a congressional reporting fellow for the Texas Tribune. He was also a Washington intern for the Durango Herald. Andrew is a graduate of American University.