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Pentagon CIO: JEDI Cloud Decision Will Come In August, Despite Oracle's Legal Challenge

Dana Deasy told reporters that the source selection process and Oracle's lawsuit are ‘two disconnected events,’ and the military can't wait much longer to implement a massive cloud transformation initiative.

Oracle's legal challenge to the Pentagon's selection of a single vendor for its JEDI cloud transformation initiative won't stop AWS or Microsoft from winning the potentially $10 billion contract by the end of August, according to the Pentagon's CIO.

Defense Department CIO Dana Deasy told reporters at a breakfast event Tuesday that Oracle's case will be heard in the Court of Federal Claims sometime in July, and the "source selection process" will finalize by the end of August, according to a report of his comments in National Defense Magazine.

The military won't wait for the court's decision on Oracle's lawsuit against the federal government and Amazon Web Services, as they are "two disconnected events," he said.

Oracle did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the CIO's statements.

[Related: Oracle To U.S. Lawmakers: Put Us Back In Running For JEDI Cloud Bid]

It's important for the military's plan to adopt a commercial cloud platform to incur no more delays, he said.

"If JEDI gets delayed, who suffers in all this is the warfighter because there is active sets of programs that several of the combatant commands right now are depending on when that contract gets released," Deasy said.

Further holdups will make it so those divisions within the armed forces have to go build independent cloud solutions—a model that "does not serve the department's interests well, it does not serve the warfighter well."

Last week, Amazon Web Services 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.

Oracle 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, which joined the case voluntarily as a defendant, believes Oracle is misstating the law.

Deasy said the military's IT leaders have been holding discussions in the run-up to a final JEDI decision of a general-purpose cloud with branches of the military.

But without a finalized contract that makes clear the specific technical capabilities that will be at the Pentagon's disposal, its impossible to figure out which solutions will be integrated into that infrastructure.

"There is a significant amount of pent up demand just waiting to use the capability once it comes online," Deasy said.

Oracle filed its lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims on Dec. 6 after losing a challenge to the procurement process with the Government Accountability Office.

The Redwood Shores, Calif.-based tech giant 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.

Deasy said Tuesday his office never considered breaking up the award to multiple vendors, as an industry group suggested is more in accordance with best practices.

In April, the military shortlisted AWS and Microsoft, the industry's two largest providers, for the winner-take-all award after an internal investigation concluded potential conflicts didn't impact the integrity of the selection process.

Cloud providers disappointed in the final selection shouldn't give up, Deasy said. Over the 10-year lifespan of the program, there will be "points where we can renew or we can choose to do something else."

The rapid maturation of cloud will likely bring the need for changes every few years. And each time that happens, the military can reevaluate and decide to "introduce other new players into the solution," he said.

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