DoD IG to consider investigation into Pentagon’s $10B cloud program

The pressure on the Defense Department and its $10 billion cloud procurement known as JEDI turned up a notch.

Reps. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) and Tom Cole (R-Okla.) wrote a letter to the DoD inspector general asking for an investigation into the development and acquisition strategy behind the 10-year Joint Enterprise Defense Initiative (JEDI) cloud program.

“The department has not provided an adequate explanation as to why they continue to insist on a contract structure that has been widely criticized by Congress and industry,” the letter states. “Specifically, our concern is how and why the structure and these provisions, which run contrary to industry best practices and federal acquisition guidelines, were included in the final RFP.”

Cole and Womack are specifically concerned about provisions that restrict competition. The legislators highlight the requirement for the vendor to meet Impact Level 6 under the Defense Information Systems Agency’s security guidelines.

“Currently, this unnecessary requirement, along with many others, can only be met by one specific contractor,” the letter states. 

The contractor Womack and Cole are referring to is Amazon Web Services. In fact, both lawmakers also highlight the possible connection between AWS and former DoD senior executive Sally Donnelly and possibly others.

“In light of these circumstances, we respectfully request that you and your office investigate the development of requirements and RFP process for the JEDI cloud program,” the letter states. “In particular, focusing on how and why the  ‘gating’ requirements were included and why DoD has continued to insist on a contract structure that runs contrary to industry best practices.”

A spokeswoman for the DoD IG said they have received the letter and are reviewing the request.

The request by Womack and Cole are just the latest in a string of attempts by industry to change DoD’s strategy.

As DoD just started to review bids for JEDI, it also faces two protests to the Government Accountability Office from Oracle and IBM.

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