AWS Asks Judge To Toss Oracle's JEDI Cloud Challenge
Oracle wants a federal court "to declare that Oracle's admittedly deficient solution is ‘good enough’" for the military, AWS argues in its latest legal motion.
Amazon Web Services on Tuesday asked a federal judge to throw out Oracle's legal challenge to the JEDI cloud procurement process as an attempt "to dictate" to the Department of Defense what the military's needs should be.
AWS, which voluntarily joined the federal government as a defendant in the lawsuit Oracle filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims on Dec. 6, argued Oracle is misstating facts about former military officials with ties to AWS and misinterpreting federal procurement law pertaining to the $10 billion initiative to transform military IT infrastructure through a commercial cloud vendor.
Oracle wants a federal court "to declare that Oracle's admittedly deficient solution is ‘good enough,’” Amazon's cross-motion for judgment on the administrative record reads. Oracle did not comment on the latest legal argument.
Oracle has argued along three pillars that laws and regulations were violated by senior military officials when they crafted the JEDI selection process: the award should not have been designated for a single vendor, three of seven so-called "gate criteria" are arbitrary, and three government employees involved in the JEDI RFP had conflicted relationships with Amazon.
As to those three officials—Deep Ubhi, Anthony DeMartino and an unnamed retired naval officer who joined AWS in 2018—AWS said none of them played an important role in drafting the solicitation package, and none of their relationships with AWS stemmed from their work in the government.
Oracle has particularly focused on Ubhi, who worked for AWS before and after his stint at the Pentagon, and once held discussions about AWS buying his business.
"Oracle's assertion that Mr. Ubhi somehow influenced each decision is not only illogical but a nakedly self-serving attempt to impugn the integrity of the entire Department of Defense," the Amazon filing reads. "Oracle continues to grossly exaggerate his role."
AWS said Ubhi "did not have access to any competitively useful nonpublic information given that his involvement in JEDI was limited to preliminary market research when no actual requirements were yet known."
Oracle also has argued the "indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity" nature of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract puts it under the purview of a law Congress passed in 2008 restricting single-supplier awards. AWS states Oracle is misstating the law.
Contracting Officer Chanda Brooks "identified three separate rationales that each independently required DoD to use a single award," Amazon's motion reads. "Oracle's challenges to those rationales, however, ignore the Contracting Officer's detailed factual findings regarding national security and technological complexity—Oracle simply disagrees as to the best interests of DoD and the United States military."
As to the gate criteria, military officials have already detailed their justifications for why those are necessary "minimum requirements for JEDI Cloud," the motion reads.
Oracle has argued three of the seven "gate criteria" vendors must satisfy are beyond the government's actual needs and solely designed to eliminate Amazon's competitors.
In March, the Pentagon requested Judge Eric Bruggink pause the case so it could further investigate some of the issues raised by Oracle, including allegations of conflicts
The Pentagon later concluded the integrity of its process in selecting an enterprise cloud provider was sound, it simultaneously said it would award the winner-take-all JEDI contract to either Amazon or Microsoft.
The JEDI initiative is only one component of the military's ambitious cloud modernization strategy.
A Cloud Strategy document presented to Congress makes a distinction between the DoD's need for a "General Purpose" cloud, and ones that will be "Fit For Purpose"
The General Purpose cloud that will go to AWS or Microsoft will be the cloud of first-choice, with a "primary implementation bias" for all defense agencies.