WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Defense expects to award early next month the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability contract, a multi-vendor, enterprise-wide platform for the acquisition of billions of dollars of commercial computing services, after a predecessor was canceled last year amid allegations of political interference.
Speaking Nov. 7 at an industry engagement event in Maryland, Chief Information Officer John Sherman said the Pentagon is “getting ready to award JWCC in about a month, 30 days-ish, from now,” in line with previous predictions made by defense officials of a decision by the end of the year.
“I am so excited about what we have done with JWCC,” he said, “and in anticipation for the upcoming award here.”
JWCC is seen as the successor to the Pentagon’s failed Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure endeavor, or JEDI, which was awarded to Microsoft and ultimately abandoned in July 2021. The cancellation came amid a feud between Amazon and the Trump administration, which the company accused of tainting the $10 billion competition.
The new cloud computing deal, worth as much as $9 billion, is meant to connect the military’s most remote edge with its farthest headquarters while bridging classifications and other sensitivities. The Defense Department is trying to institute JWCC as pressure builds to more effectively process and pass information to forces across land, air, sea, space and cyber, a notion known as Joint All-Domain Command and Control, or JADC2.
Sherman on Monday said the creation and award of JWCC — previously advertised for April, but now delayed — would not have been possible without the JEDI experience.
“I know JEDI was seen as, you know, something that happened in fits and starts,” he said. “It was the right decision for the right time.”
The complex JADC2 concept is “utterly reliant on having an enterprise cloud capability that operates at all three security classifications, top secret, secret, unclassified, from the continental United States all the way up to the tactical edge,” Sherman said, adding that Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks “has been very clear on this. JWCC, enterprise cloud, is the fundamental pillar of JADC2.”
The JWCC plan comprises a three-year base with one-year options. A competition for a future multi-cloud environment is expected to follow.
Colin Demarest is a reporter at C4ISRNET, where he covers military networks, cyber and IT. Colin previously covered the Department of Energy and its National Nuclear Security Administration — namely Cold War cleanup and nuclear weapons development — for a daily newspaper in South Carolina. Colin is also an award-winning photographer.