Amazon asks court to reject DoD’s JEDI corrective action plan

AWS objection argues DoD's corrective action plan doesn't go far enough, and that it should be forced to reopen and reconsider multiple aspects of the contract.

Amazon Web Services told a federal judge Tuesday that she should reject the Defense Department’s plan to partially revise the JEDI Cloud solicitation that resulted in the contract’s multibillion dollar award to Microsoft.

Earlier this month, the Pentagon asked the court to put AWS’s bid protest lawsuit on hold while procurement officials made some narrow revisions to parts of the contract the judge has already faulted.

But in its written objection, the company told the court the department’s corrective action plan does not go nearly far enough. Attorneys argued it would mainly serve to paper over alleged flaws in Microsoft’s bid without addressing numerous other complaints Amazon has lodged about the procurement.

“Even if taken at face value, DoD’s proposed corrective action fails to address in any meaningful way how it would resolve the technical issues AWS has raised, or which specific technical challenges it intends to address,” they wrote. “Such proposed corrective action, without an explanation that gives AWS and the court comfort that it will be implemented fairly and objectively, should not be accepted by the court.”

In its request for remand, the department said it wanted to reconsider the technical approach it used for a part of the contract called “Price Scenario 6,” dealing with data storage in the JEDI cloud environment.

That’s the part of the contract that formed the basis for Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith’s preliminary injunction that stopped work on JEDI. The judge found AWS was likely to win the underlying lawsuit because DoD accepted a bid from Microsoft that didn’t strictly adhere to that price scenario.

But Amazon said Tuesday that DoD should be forced to reopen at least five of the other evaluation factors the department initially used to consider bids. The company argued it’s unreasonable to ask bidders to submit new proposals for only one part of the contract, since so many of the evaluation factors are dependent on one another.

“If DoD changes the requirements of even one price scenario, those changes would necessarily upset the foundation of an offeror’s unified pricing strategy,” attorneys wrote. “Indeed, DoD’s proposed limitation runs directly counter to the RFP’s requirement that an offeror propose uniform unit prices and discounts across all of the price scenarios.”

DoD and Microsoft have until next Tuesday to respond to Amazon’s objection.

But both parties have expressed confidence that the limited corrective action the Pentagon has proposed is enough to resolve the concerns the judge has expressed.

“We support their decision to reconsider a small number of factors as it is likely the fastest way to resolve all issues and quickly provide the needed modern technology to people across our armed forces,” Frank Shaw, a Microsoft spokesman said in a Mar. 12 statement.

In its own motion this month, DoD said it was possible that the corrective action it’s proposing could make any more litigation over JEDI unnecessary.

The department asked the judge for wide discretion to consider “any further information” it uncovers during the reconsideration process. But for now, it does not plan to enter into new discussions or accept bid revisions on any issues beyond the contested cloud storage issue.

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