The Department of Defense is canceling its $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract. The Pentagon said it “initiated contract termination procedures” in a press release it shared on Tuesday, noting “the Department has determined that, due to evolving requirements, increased cloud conversancy, and industry advances, the JEDI Cloud contract no longer meets its needs.”
With JEDI, the Defense Department had planned to modernize its IT infrastructure, but the contract hadn’t moved forward since the Pentagon awarded it to Microsoft in 2019 on account of a legal challenge from Amazon. One month after JEDI went to Redmond, Amazon filed a formal challenge with the US Court of Federal Claims, when it evaluated the two companies.
When the lawsuit was eventually unsealed later that same year, it came out that Amazon believed it lost the contract due to interference from former President Donald Trump. According to the company, Trump “launched repeated public and behind-the-scenes attacks to steer the JEDI Contract away from AWS to harm his perceived political enemy-Jeffrey P. Bezos.”
Shortly after the Defense Department announced it wasn’t moving forward with JEDI, Microsoft published a on the decision. “We understand the DOD’s rationale, and we support them and every military member who needs the mission-critical 21st century technology JEDI would have provided. The DOD faced a difficult choice: continue with what could be a years-long litigation battle or find another path forward,” the company said. “The security of the United States is more important than any single contract, and we know that Microsoft will do well when the nation does well.”
However, Microsoft went on to say the episode highlights the need for lawmakers to look at the contract challenge process. “The 20 months since DOD selected Microsoft as its JEDI partner highlights issues that warrant the attention of policymakers: when one company can delay, for years, critical technology upgrades for those who defend our nation, the protest process needs reform,” it said.
We’ve reached out to Amazon for its response to the situation, and we’ll update this article when we hear back from the company.
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