AWS Continues Its JEDI Protest After the Pentagon Declares Microsoft the Winner (Again)

A. DeCarlo
A. DeCarlo

Summary Bullets:

  • After a multiple-month JEDI contract re-evaluation process, the Pentagon reached the same decision it had 11 months ago and awarded Microsoft the deal.
  • AWS immediately re-sounded the alarm that the procurement process was inherently inequitable, filing a new protest with the court.

The JEDI battle lines are still as tightly drawn as when Microsoft was declared the winner in October 2019. Amazon didn’t waste any time to raise its continued objections after the Department of Defense (DoD) disclosed it was once again awarding the sought-after multi-billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract to Microsoft. Posting a blog titled “JEDI: Why we will continue to protect this politically corrupted contract award,” AWS outlined some of the issues with both the initial award and the re-evaluation processes.

The AWS blog didn’t mince words, decrying the procurement as plagued by blatant errors, ethics violations, and political interference from the highest office. AWS expressed serious reservations that the “JEDI contract award creates a dangerous precedent that threatens the integrity of the federal procurement system,” adding that others have raised red flags about a trend of defense officials taking action to “please the President, rather than do what’s right.”

AWS also dismissed the DoD’s re-evaluation as “nothing more than an attempt to validate a flawed, biased, and politically corrupted decision.” The cloud giant noted a pattern of President Trump removing “perceived political threats” from their positions, noting the demotion of the Acting DoD Inspector General Glenn Fine days before the release of a report investigating potential ethics violations during the award process.

The cloud giant said the legal process demonstrated AWS’ complaints have merit, noting that in February the Court of Federal Claims ordered work on JEDI to cease temporarily. AWS claims that errors in the Microsoft proposal were so “pervasive” that they were likely to affect all six of the technical evaluation factors.

Pricing was cited as a factor at the time of the award in October 2019. AWS said it offered to lower the price by tens of millions of dollars.

AWS isn’t alone in objecting to the conditions of the award, with Oracle and IBM also filing protests after their JEDI bids failed. A court-ordered injunction issued in April is keeping work from restarting until AWS’ protest is resolved. The expectation is work will not start again until sometime in 2021.

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