President Donald Trump’s acting Department of Defense secretary supports a $10 billion winner-take-all cloud computing contract that conservatives are railing against, a DOD spokesman told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Amazon Web Services and Microsoft are jockeying for position to land the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI), a program angling to be the largest stand-alone technology contracts the federal government’s ever awarded. The DOD is expected to select a winner for the contract in mid-July, media reports show.
“His position is the same as the DoD position,” said Lt. Colonel Joe Buccino, a Public Affairs Officer who speaks on behalf of DOD Acting Secretary Patrick Shanahan. Shanahan is expected to face a tough confirmation hearing next week, and his position on JEDI could roil conservatives who believe it’s a bad idea to unify cloud services into one platform.
It’s become a controversial issue among some Republicans. Reps. Steve Womack of Arkansas and Tom Cole of Oklahoma, for instance, requested a probe in October 2018 into the Pentagon’s handling of the deal after TheDCNF reported in August of that year that a former senior adviser to former Secretary of Defense James Mattis once consulted for Amazon Web Services through her firm.
IBM and Oracle, two of Amazon’s competitors in the cloud industry, filed protests in 2018 of the JEDI contract with the Government Accountability Office.
“It has come to our attention through media reports that individuals who held, or hold, high-ranking positions in the Department have access to the specific contractor,” Womack and Cole wrote in a letter at the time to Department of Defense Acting Inspector General Glenn Fine.
Experts in the tech industry questioned why the Pentagon chose to take the winner-take-all route for JEDI rather than following the standard of leveraging multiple cloud providers. Only Amazon and Microsoft hold the necessary certifications for the contract.
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