Amazon asks court to block DOD from work on JEDI cloud

By Justin Doubleday / January 23, 2020 at 12:48 PM

Amazon is asking a federal judge to stop the Defense Department and Microsoft from doing any further work under the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud services contract.

In a sealed Jan. 22 filing, Amazon Web Services asks the Court of Federal Claims to grant a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction until its protest against the JEDI contract is decided.

"It is common practice to stay contract performance while a protest is pending and it's important that the numerous evaluation errors and blatant political interference that impacted the JEDI award decision be reviewed," an Amazon spokesman said in an email. "AWS is absolutely committed to supporting the DOD's modernization efforts and to an expeditious legal process that resolves this matter as quickly as possible."

Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith plans to decide whether to issue the stop work order by Feb. 11, according to a Jan. 15 scheduling order.

The Pentagon awarded Microsoft Azure the potential 10-year, $10 billion JEDI contract in October, but DOD has yet to place any significant task orders.

However, DOD and Microsoft are planning to throttle up work under the contract next month, beginning with the establishment of the unclassified cloud services environment. The Pentagon has lined up 14 "early adopters" to transition to the cloud environment, including the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, U.S. Transportation Command and U.S. Special Operations Command.

Amazon wants to stop work under the contract as it urges the Court of Federal Claims to force DOD to re-evaluate the JEDI proposals and make a new award decision. The company is alleging DOD "took numerous actions to systematically remove" the company's edge in the race to win the massive cloud contract after President Trump publicly criticized Amazon and its chief executive Jeff Bezos.

But DOD officials will argue there is no more time to delay work under the enterprise cloud program, as it has already been postponed due to pre-award protests.

"The National Defense Strategy dictates that we must improve the speed and effectiveness with which we develop and deploy modernized technical capabilities to our women and men in uniform," DOD Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy said in October after the Pentagon awarded the contract to Microsoft. "The DOD Digital Modernization Strategy was created to support this imperative. This award is an important step in execution of the Digital Modernization Strategy."