Oracle Again Looks To Court To Shoot Down JEDI Cloud's Single Provider Criteria


Oracle's legal challenges to the Pentagon's JEDI cloud initiative have all so far failed, but the software giant is persisting in its attempts to block the military from awarding the potentially $10 billion cloud contract to a single provider.

The Redwood Shores, Calif.-based company with a budding cloud infrastructure business wants a federal judge to rule that senior officials at the Department of Defense violated federal law throughout the procurement process to justify delivering the entirety of the contract to Amazon Web Services, despite industry best practices that call for a multi-cloud deployment.

A memorandum written by the government's contracting officer on July 17 justifying the winner-take-all approach "violates law and lacks a rational basis," the Oracle filing on Tuesday reads.

[Related: AWS Rips Oracle's JEDI Cloud Bid Protest In New Court Filing]

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Oracle's legal team calls attention to three actions taken by DoD procurement officials that it argues were in violation of law and regulations governing the vendor selection process.

First off, 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, Oracle argued earlier this week in a legal filing.

That law sought to restrict runaway spending by blocking contracts that couldn't establish a fixed price for their future costs.

Oracle argues that because the DoD is looking to continually add new cloud services across its enterprise cloud infrastructure, and public cloud providers are building new capabilities at a rapid clip, JEDI comes with "near constant technology refresh requirements" that put it squarely under the law's restrictions.

Oracle also argues three of seven "gate criteria" that a cloud provider must fulfill are more restrictive than necessary.

Finally, the government hasn't adequately investigated the role two "heavily-conflicted" former officials played in establishing the JEDI contract's onerous requirements, according to Oracle.

Deap Ubhi served as JEDI project manager at the DoD, but previously worked for AWS and has since gone back to Amazon. Anthony DeMartino, chief of staff for the Deputy Secretary of Defense, was a consultant for AWS before being tapped by the DoD.

In a ruling last month, Judge Eric Bruggink denied Oracle's requests to depose those officials and conduct a discovery review of internal Pentagon documents.

Bruggink also found that contracting officer Chanda Brooks did consider appropriate information to determine conflicts of interest did not impact the process, even if "it may be that " she should have considered more information.

Oracle argues that Ubhi was deeply involved in crafting the criteria that favored his former employer, but his role in that process and subsequent rehire by AWS have not been thoroughly probed.

The motion also makes the case that the military has downplayed the role DeMartino played in the JEDI RFP process, both in setting high level policy and in crafting specific details for the project.

Oracle did not immediately reply to a CRN request for comment.

Oracle filed suit against the federal government on Dec. 6 in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, a court that typically hears monetary claims against the U.S. government.

In December, AWS, at its own request, joined as a co-defendant in the lawsuit, saying it had an interest in intervening to defend itself against Oracle's allegations.

Amazon later argued to the court that Oracle's complaint is "replete with mischaracterizations and over-exaggerations of the roles" that Ubhi and DeMartino played in procurement process.

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.