The Pentagon revealed Tuesday that it has aborted its USD10 Billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud agreement, almost two years after granting the contract to Microsoft.
The Department of Defense said it “initiated contract termination procedures” regarding the JEDI contract. “The Department has determined that, due to evolving requirements, increased cloud conversancy, and industry advances, the JEDI Cloud contract no longer meets its needs” it said.
JEDI had been meant to modernize the Defense Department’s IT infrastructure, however due to legal obstacles from Amazon, those had been postponed. In 2019 Amazon filed a formal objection with the US Court of Federal Claims, stating that the Pentagon had demonstrated “unmistakable bias” when assessing both companies.
The lawsuit was disclosed later that year, and informed that Amazon had reason to believe that former President Donald Trump was responsible for its loss of the contract. Amazon said that Trump “used his power to ‘screw Amazon’ out of the JEDI Contract as part of his highly public personal vendetta against Mr. Bezos, Amazon and The Washington Post.”
However, after an internal audit, the Pentagon’s inspector general published a report stating that it had not found evidence which linked the Trump Administration to the procurement process. Nevertheless, it did reveal that various White House officials did not cooperate with the probe. Ultimately, it was not able to fully determine if the administration had been involved in the process.
Upon the Pentagon’s announcement, Microsoft wrote a blog post on the issue at hand. “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.”