Amazon Web Services filed a bid protest directly to the Department of Defense challenging “ambiguous aspects” of the Pentagon’s revised solicitation for its embattled enterprise cloud contract.
AWS’ challenge is in response to a revised solicitation from DoD regarding a specific technical requirement of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud contract that AWS had challenged. Back in mid-April, a Court of Federal Claims judge granted the department’s motion allowing DoD to “reconsider certain aspects” of the JEDI award.
“AWS is committed to ensuring it receives a fair and objective review on an award decision that the court found to be flawed," an AWS spokesperson said. "AWS repeatedly sought clarity from the DoD around ambiguous aspects of the amended solicitation and the DoD refused to answer our questions. We simply want to ensure a common understanding of the DoD’s requirements and eliminate ambiguity that could impact a fair evaluation.”
The JEDI cloud, potentially worth $10 billion over 10 years, was awarded to Microsoft in October last year. Amazon protested the award in the Court of Federal Claims in December and won a temporary restraining order in March preventing the DoD and Microsoft from building out the cloud infrastructure after the court decided that AWS was likely to show that DoD erred in its technical evaluation.
AWS also opposed the DoD’s motion to reconsider specific aspects of the JEDI award because the DoD’s request didn’t account for all six technical errors Amazon alleged were made during the contract’s evaluation process.
"Even if taken at face value, DoD’s proposed corrective action fails to address in any meaningful way how it would resolve the technical issues AWS has raised, or which specific technical challenges it intends to address,” Amazon lawyers wrote in a March 24 court filing.
In response to Amazon’s protest, the content of which is not publicly available, Microsoft spokesperson Frank Shaw wrote in a blog post that the filing by AWS was “disappointing but not surprising.”
“The only thing that’s certain about Amazon’s new complaint is that it will force American war fighters to wait even longer for the 21st-century technology they need – perpetuating Amazon’s record of putting its own interests ahead of theirs,” Shaw wrote May 7.
A spokesperson for AWS called Shaw’s post “not surprising," and touted AWS’ cloud computing capabilities.
“We’re eager to see the full array of mistakes considered and assessed,” the spokesperson said.
Lt. Col. Robert Carver, Department of Defense spokesman, said in a statement that the department is trying to get the JEDI capability to war fighters quickly.
“DoD continues to execute the procedures outlined in the Motion for Voluntary Remand granted last month with the intent of delivering this critically-needed capability to our warfighters as quickly as possible,” Carver said.
This story has been updated with a comment from the Department of Defense.
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.