DOD asks court's permission to reconsider aspects of JEDI cloud award decision

By Justin Doubleday / March 13, 2020 at 12:21 PM

The Pentagon is seeking a federal judge's permission to reconsider technical aspects of its decision to award the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud computing contract to Microsoft last year.

In a filing submitted yesterday, Defense Department lawyers ask to "remand" Amazon's protest lawsuit in the Court of Federal Claims for up to 120 days "to reconsider certain aspects of the challenged agency decision" to award the potential 10-year, $10 billion contract to Microsoft.

Last month, the judge ordered DOD and Microsoft to stop work under the contract. In a redacted filing of the decision posted last week, the judge found Amazon would likely be able to show that DOD erred in its evaluation of the competing contractors' cloud storage solutions.

According to the latest filing, DOD wants to "reconsider its evaluation" of that specific pricing scenario and "intends to issue a solicitation amendment and to accept limited proposal revisions addressing the offerors' technical approach to that price scenario."

DOD also seeks to reconsider its evaluation of both AWS and Microsoft's online marketplace offerings, with the potential to "conduct clarifications with the offerors relating to the availability of marketplace offerings."

The Pentagon will address other technical aspects of AWS' complaint during its reconsideration, according to the filing.

"DOD wishes to reconsider its award decision in response to the other technical challenges presented by AWS," the filing states. "DOD does not intend to conduct discussions with offerors or to accept proposal revisions with respect to any aspect of the solicitation other than Price Scenario."

However, Pentagon lawyers do not address AWS' overarching complaint that President Trump's bias against the company colored DOD's evaluation of the JEDI proposals and forced it to make errors in favor of Microsoft.

According to the Defense Department's filing, AWS opposes DOD's move to remand the case.

"In email correspondence with the undersigned counsel on March 12, 2020, counsel for AWS stated that AWS opposes this motion and will file a response," the filing states.

However, a spokesman for Amazon said the company is happy with DOD's motion.

"We are pleased that the DOD has acknowledged 'substantial and legitimate' issues that affected the JEDI award decision, and that corrective action is necessary," the spokesman said. "We look forward to complete, fair, and effective corrective action that fully insulates the re-evaluation from political influence and corrects the many issues affecting the initial flawed award."

Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw said the company supports DOD's motion.

"We believe the Department of Defense made the correct decision when they awarded the contract," Shaw said in a statement. "However, we support their decision to reconsider a small number of factors as it is likely the fastest way to resolve all issues and quickly provide the needed modern technology to people across our armed forces. Throughout this process, we've focused on listening to the needs of the DOD, delivering the best product, and making sure nothing we did delayed the procurement process. We are not going to change this approach now.

"Over two years the DOD reviewed dozens of factors and sub factors and found Microsoft equal or superior to AWS on every factor," he continued. "We remain confident that Microsoft’s proposal was technologically superior, continues to offer the best value, and is the right choice for the DOD."