With JEDI court case in home stretch, Oracle lays out contracting officer’s errors

Oracle took one last stab at convincing the Court of Federal Claims that the Defense Department’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure procurement is tainted and should be reconsidered.

In the software giant’s latest and likely final filling before oral arguments on July 10, Oracle made its case to the judge that Chanda Brooks, the contracting officer for JEDI, consistently made bad decisions throughout the year-long procurement. Oracle alleges Brooks also failed to consider the potential and real conflicts of interest presented by former DoD executives and current employees of Amazon Web Services, Deap Ubhi, Victor Gavin, whose name continues to be redacted, and Tony DeMartino in her investigation of JEDI.

And Oracle claims Brooks rational for the single award of a $10 billion, 10-year contract was faulty.

“[T]he contracting officer violated separate statutory and regulatory directives (applicable to all indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity competitions) to favor a multiple award IDIQ acquisition strategy to the ‘maximum extent practicable,’” the June 28 filing states. “[T]he court need not even scrutinize the CO’s dissembling analysis, as the CO’s findings suffer a much more basic problem—the CO reached each finding without weighing the benefits of competition, rendering the decision contrary to the Federal Acquisition Regulations.”

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Oracle’s statement comes after both government and AWS lawyers filed briefs on June 18 asking the court to dismiss Oracle’s protest. Government and AWS lawyers claim Brooks already settled most of the allegations of conflicts of interest and Oracle lacks standing in the case.

In this latest court document, Oracle pushed back against both the government and AWS arguments, saying that not only do they believe the contract award would cause them harm, but the entire process violates the Competition in Contracting Act (CICA) and basic procurement rules that causes harm to the public trust.

“The court need not bless DoD’s unlawful actions based on purported national security interests that Congress already has judged insufficient to place expediency over legality,” the filing states. “This is not an urgent sole source award for ammunition in a combat zone, for which national security concerns might legitimately militate injunctive relief. This is a major, DoDwide commercial item acquisition, which DoD understood from the outset would take more than a year to complete.”

The House version of the defense authorization bill includes language that would place strict guardrails around JEDI.

Benefits of task order contracts

In previous filings, Oracle focused on the conflict of interest concerns about Ubhi, Gavin and DeMartino, but with this one, Brooks is in the firm’s cross-hairs.

Oracle said Brooks failed to weigh the benefits of task order competition that a multiple-award contract would bring, including innovation, quality and maintaining the defense industrial base.

Additionally, the company says Brooks rationale that the cost to administer a multiple award contract was prohibitive is unsupported by fact. Oracle cited the 2013 study by the General Services Administration where the average hours to complete a task order is between 119 and 168 where as Brooks said the average was 1,688 hours per order.

Oracle also claims Brooks investigation and decision that Ubhi, Gavin and DeMartino’s alleged conflicts didn’t taint JEDI is wrong.

“The case does not present mere allegations of wrongdoing. The violations of law have been admitted. The CO has found that two officials, who participated personally and substantially in JEDI while successfully securing employment with AWS violated the FAR and referred both to the IG due to potential Title 18 violations,” Oracles states. “AWS and DoD wrongly claim the court should ignore the misconduct and find no prejudice unless the corrupt officials were the final decision makers. The law, however, does not limit ethical restrictions placed on officials only to the contracting officer, head of agency or their delegate. The standard for ethical conduct in government business is to avoid even the appearance of an impropriety by all government employees participating in a procurement.”

Google drive remains in question

Oracle goes one step further to say even if Brooks could legally decide to ignore the conflicts of interest, her analysis that Ubhi and Gavin didn’t impact JEDI is flawed.

Oracle continues to press the allegation that DoD is withholding information that lives on Google drives. The company says DoD has yet to address the claim that Ubhi made a copy of the Google drive to his laptop.

“The few Google drive documents actually provided also demonstrate the inadequacy of the CO’s investigation,” Oracle writes. “First these documents lack vital information, rendering any of the CO’s conclusions about Ubhi’s involvement and influence reliable. As DoD itself admits, the Google drive data does not ‘show who actually created the document,’ instead it shows who uploaded the document. The edit field relied on by the CO for when and by whom a document was created is useless given the upload glitch.”

Oracle repeated many of the same claims around the gate criteria and the conflicts of interest of AWS hiring Ubhi and Gavin without either executive recusing themselves in a timely manner.

Dana Deasy, the DoD chief information officer, said earlier this week that the Pentagon will abide by the court’s decision and plans an award under JEDI in August if the court lets the procurement continue.

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