WASHINGTON — The Pentagon will soon make its first awards under the $9 billion Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability contract as interest in commercial cloud services booms, according to a Defense Information Systems Agency official.
The Defense Department in December selected Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Oracle for the closely watched JWCC contract, a follow-up to the failed $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure arrangement.
The rival tech giants are expected to compete for work tied to JWCC, which spans unclassified, secret and top-secret designations. Secret-level bidding opportunities, “where the warfighter operates,” will be made available in the coming weeks, said Sharon Woods, director of DISA’s Hosting and Compute Center. Top-secret opportunities will come sometime early this summer.
“We have the first batch of task orders, if you will, that are in the pipeline and getting closer and closer to award,” Woods said March 14 at an online event hosted by Defense One. “And then we have other task order packages that are fast followers.”
“As the demand to learn more about the contract just keeps growing larger, more and more task order possibilities come out from that,” she said. “One of the things we did was stand up a hybrid cloud broker office. It is the single point of entry, the front door, into HACC to understand the full breadth of all of our capabilities and to learn about JWCC. And, I will say, those folks are really busy right now.”
The four companies are each guaranteed only $100,000, though potential orders could total billions, according to terms of JWCC. The contract comprises a three-year base and one-year options, meaning work could be done through 2028.
The cloud capability is meant to serve as a backbone for the Pentagon’s connect-everything-everywhere campaign, known as Joint All-Domain Command and Control, or JADC2. It is also designed to complement cloud initiatives already underway among the military services. The Air Force, for example, has Cloud One and its prospective successor, Cloud One Next.
“By having that unification, I think it starts opening up doors on ‘what does JADC2 to look like’ globally. How do we move applications and data around? How do we achieve the interoperability?” Woods said. “How do we leverage things like APIs and data portability, and all of the things that we talk about, to achieve that interconnected web of all of our applications and data?”
“I think using JWCC as a foundational contract starts moving toward that unification,” she added.
Woods previously said task order competition should take weeks or “maybe a few months,” depending on the details and what officials learn along the way.
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.