The Department of Defense requested 120 days to “reconsider certain aspects” of its decision to award its controversial enterprise contract to Microsoft.
The request from the DoD in a March 12 court filing comes after Court of Federal Claims Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith issued a temporary restraining order directing the Pentagon to stop all work on its Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud contract, after AWS alleged that the DoD made mistakes in its source selection process.
The court granted Amazon’s request for an injunction Feb. 13. While Amazon challenged both the technical evaluation and political interference, the court’s decision to impose the injunction rested on AWS’ technical challenges to the DoD selection, which included issues with how the Pentagon considered data storage capabilities.
“DoD wishes to reconsider its evaluation of the technical aspects of Price Scenario 6, and intends to issue a solicitation amendment and to accept limited proposal revisions addressing the offerors’ technical approach to that price scenario,” Defense Department lawyers wrote in the document.
In the court filing, the DoD also said it wants to reconsider its evaluation of Microsoft and AWS’ online marketplace offerings and “may conduct” clarifications with the two tech giants. The DoD will reconsider other technical challenges presented by AWS, but “does not intend to conduct discussions with offerors or to accept proposal revisions with respect to any aspect of the solicitation,” other than price scenario six of the RFP, which deals with storage capabilities.
In a statement, Microsoft spokesperson Frank Shaw said the DoD made the “correct decision.”
“However, we support their decision to reconsider a small number of factors as it is likely the fastest way to resolve all issues and quickly provide the needed modern technology to people across our armed forces. Throughout this process, we’ve focused on listening to the needs of the DoD, delivering the best product, and making sure nothing we did delayed the procurement process. We are not going to change this approach now," Shaw said. “Over two years the DoD reviewed dozens of factors and sub factors and found Microsoft equal or superior to AWS on every factor. We remain confident that Microsoft’s proposal was technologically superior, continues to offer the best value, and is the right choice for the DoD.”
The JEDI cloud contract is potentially worth $10 billion over 10 years. This court filing is another significant setback for the DoD, even after the continuous challenges the contract has faced for about two years.
Earlier in the court battle, Amazon sought to depose President Donald Trump, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, DoD CIO Dana Deasy and several other DoD officials involved in the in the final decision. An Amazon spokesperson said the company was “pleased” with the decision.
"We are pleased that the DoD has acknowledged ‘substantial and legitimate’ issues that affected the JEDI award decision, and that corrective action is necessary,” a spokesperson said. "We look forward to complete, fair, and effective corrective action that fully insulates the re-evaluation from political influence and corrects the many issues affecting the initial flawed award.”
A DoD spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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.