Pentagon Delays JEDI Cloud Contract Bidding Deadline


The tech giants battling over a looming $10 billion military cloud contract will have a few more weeks to prepare their bids and advance their protests.

The U.S. Department of Defense on Aug. 30 extended the submission deadline for the JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) Cloud—a multi-billion-dollar initiative to revamp the military's IT infrastructure that has generated a firestorm of controversy.

The previous deadline of Sept. 17 has been pushed back to Oct. 9, the Pentagon said, to give potential contractors more time to address technical requirements updated near the end of August.

[Related: Pentagon Unleashes $10B JEDI Cloud RFP With Single Award In Mind]

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Last month, just weeks into the bidding process, Oracle lodged a protest challenging the winner-take-all nature of the award with the Government Accountability Office. The Redwood Shores, Calif.-based company filed a supplemental protest last week on the same day military officials posted answers to hundreds of questions about the bidding process.

Oracle has repeatedly argued the technical specifications have been engineered to deliver the contract exclusively to Amazon Web Services.

A wider array of tech companies has joined Oracle's fight to keep the entirety of the services contract from ending up in the hands of Amazon.

According to Bloomberg, which cited internal emails, the coalition consists of nine companies: SAP America, General Dynamics Corp.’s CSRA unit, Red Hat Inc., and VMware Inc., which are working with Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, Dell Technologies, and HPE as a group to oppose the terms of the deal as it stands.

Also taking the side of the block opposing Amazon is the Information Technology Industry (ITI) Council's IT Alliance for Public Sector, a consortium that's comprised of all the cloud providers involved in the dispute.

The coalition has argued a multi-cloud approach would adhere to best practices for ensuring price competitiveness and avoiding vendor lock in.

Earlier this year, Bloomberg got hold of figures indicating the government plans to spend $1.63 billion on cloud services over the next five years, starting with $160 million next fiscal year.

Addressing concerns about going with a single provider, the Pentagon previously said it wants submissions to include plans to avoid vendor lock-in so that within two years it can consider switching clouds.

Leveraging application containers is one way, the military believes, it can migrate between providers if it decides not to commit to three- and five-year extensions stipulated in the contract.

But the military's IT leaders have resisted pressure to change the nature of the award to a multi-cloud contract. They have argued that multiple providers will increase security management challenges and make data less accessible to U.S. forces deployed in remote settings, such as naval vessels.

Since releasing its second draft solicitation in July, 16 vendors and a coalition have submitted questions or comments, the Pentagon said on the site it posts solicitations for contracts. The government didn't identify those entities.