AWS Rips Oracle's JEDI Cloud Bid Protest In New Court Filing


AWS is looking to prevent Oracle from accessing internal Pentagon documents around the looming $10 billion JEDI cloud computing contract by arguing its budding cloud rival is misstating key facts about the military's procurement process.

Amazon's partly redacted opposition motion filed last week in federal court challenges Oracle's claims about how decisions were made to go with a single vendor for the entirety of the award, the "gate criteria" that vendors vying for the contract must satisfy, and potential conflicts of interest that have already been investigated.

As such, AWS is asking a federal judge to deny Oracle's motion to review confidential government documents through the discovery process and depose two witnesses alleged to have played a significant role in shaping the RFP in Amazon's favor.

[Related: Dossier Focus Of Smear Campaign Against AWS In Its JEDI Cloud Bid: Report]

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Oracle, based in Redwood City, Calif., filed a lawsuit Dec. 6 against the federal government related to the Department of Defense’s lucrative Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) initiative. The complaint was filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, a court that typically hears monetary claims against the U.S. government.

Neither AWS nor Oracle commented to CRN about the latest document filed in the case.

The flaws in Oracle's claims start with its characterizations of the winner-take-all nature of the award, according to the motion filed by Daniel Forman of Crowell & Moring, a law firm based in Washington D.C.

Choosing a single vendor, as opposed to taking a multi-cloud approach, was a decision approved at high levels of the Pentagon to "Meet the Needs of the Warfighter."

That decision, specifically, was made by the Under Secretary of Defense—and no allegations of bias have been made against her.

As to three of the seven "gate criteria" Oracle argues are beyond the government's actual needs and solely designed to eliminate Amazon's competitors, the Deputy Director of the Defense Digital Services has already justified all of them. He too has not been accused of any bias.

While not named in Amazon's motion, those military officials are Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment; and Tim Van Name, the deputy director of Defense Digital Services.

Finally, a key element of Oracle's complaint is that conflicts of interest tainted the procurement process. Oracle focuses on two government officials: Deap Ubhi and Anthony DeMartino.

The Redwood City, Calif., tech giant alleges Ubhi, who served as JEDI project manager at the DoD, and DeMartino, chief of staff for the Deputy Secretary of Defense, were conflicted by relationships with Amazon Web Services—Ubhi had previously worked for AWS, while DeMartino had served as a consultant to AWS prior to being tapped by the DoD.

But both their roles in the JEDI process are "wildly overstated," AWS contends to the court.

"As Oracle gained access to more documents and information, it stitched together a self-serving narrative from snippets of e-mails and informal Slack messages to create the impression that the purported bias of Mr. Ubhi and Mr. DeMartino impacted the single-award determination and/or resulted in adoption of the purportedly unduly restrictive Gate Criteria," the opposition motion reads.

Oracle's complaint is "replete with mischaracterizations and over-exaggerations of the roles that these two individuals played in the JEDI Cloud procurement."

All the relevant decisions throughout the process, however, are thoroughly, contemporaneously documented in the administrative record, AWS argues.

Oracle is ignoring the "voluminous materials" contained in that existing record, instead opting to recycle in federal court allegations that were already evaluated and rejected by the Government Accountability Office.

Oracle is doing that to create a justification "for broad discovery so that Oracle may investigate its own meritless allegations that two former government officials who were not the decision-makers at issue supposedly acted in a biased manner during the procurement."

In December, AWS, at its own request, became a co-defendant in the lawsuit initially filed only against the federal government.

AWS said in a motion seeking to join the case that it has an interest in intervening to defend itself against Oracle's allegations.