Langevin says let’s get on with the JEDI contract

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In the wake of a clean internal review from the Defense Department on its attempt to award a huge contract to provide cloud services to the military, one high-profile lawmaker says “get on with it.”

House Armed Services Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee Chairman Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) told Federal News Radio he’s ready to see the controversial contract, known as JEDI, move forward so DoD can take advantage of the cloud capabilities.

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“For the most part I want to get on with this issue,” Langevin said. “We need to see JEDI developed. We ultimately are going to go down this road in transitioning to cloud. We need to get to a point where using more computing power is as easy as getting additional electricity during the summer months. You don’t do one individual contract for what you need over the next month. We hopefully want to get to a point where we can draw on seemingly additional computing power when we need it, as we need it.”

Langevin said he wants to see the contract is done in a fair way where everyone has a chance to compete, but “eventually these endless challenges have got to end and we’ve got to get on with this issue.”

Langevin is known as one of the foremost advocates for cyber issues in government. His comments come after a DoD investigation, which ended last week, found that the Joint Enterprise Defense Initiative has not been prejudiced by at least two former employees, who previously had worked at or had ties to Amazon Web Services.

“The department’s investigation has determined that there is no adverse impact on the integrity of the acquisition process,” DoD spokeswoman Elissa Smith said in a statement. “However, the investigation also uncovered potential ethical violations, which have been further referred to DoD inspector general. There are two different components of the investigation. First, DoD investigated potential conflicts of interest as they relate to the acquisition process. This portion of the investigation determined that there are no conflicts of interest that affected the integrity of the acquisition process. However, there may be potential ethical violations, which have been referred to DoD IG for further investigation.”

The investigation started after Oracle filed a bid protest with the Court of Federal Claims. Now that the internal investigation is done, DoD will ask the court to lift its stay on the case so it may proceed.

The contract, worth $10 billion over 10 years, is now down to two competitors — Amazon Web Services and Microsoft.

New subcommittee leadership

Now that Langevin is in charge of his own subcommittee, his plans for investigations are vast.

“Our task, our challenge, is to find where we have a strategic and tactical advantage and work to preserve those advantages and identify areas where adversaries have undermined our advantages,” Langevin said.

Some topics Langevin wants to look into include cyber weapons, weapons of mass destruction, electronic warfare and even DNA editing.

“I want to look at certain climate change issues,” he said. “DoD is lacking a mitigation plan and cross analysis. We are going to be looking at IT and cybersecurity.”

Langevin also wants to investigate the defense industrial base, especially when it comes to IT, and cybersecurity of weapons systems and how to bake cybersecurity standards into weapon requirements.

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