House lawmakers reject GOP-backed JEDI amendment

By Jaspreet Gill / September 1, 2021 at 1:35 PM

The House Armed Services Committee today in its full mark-up of the fiscal year 2022 defense bill rejected a GOP-backed amendment that would require the Pentagon to hand over any materials related to its failed $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract.

The amendment, offered by Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), would have required the Defense Department inspector general to submit all documentation received in preparation for the final report on the JEDI cloud contract.

“This is a gigantic contract and the way this was handled from the beginning was riddled with all kinds of issues and if we dare not repeat this disaster with JEDI in the future, this committee deserves to know what happened along the way,” Banks said.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) opposed the amendment, saying it would only delay a new DOD enterprise cloud capability because politics would continue to slow down the contracting process.

“The one thing we do not need in the area of cloud computing is to further litigate past issues with the risk of further slowing down any progress and actually moving forward on the contract,” Smith said.

The Pentagon, meanwhile, is pursuing a new multivendor Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability in place of JEDI.

Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI), chairman of the cyber, innovative technologies and information systems subcommittee, said Banks’ amendment “is less about fixing the issue moving forward and more about embarrassing key figures like [former Defense] Secretary [James] Mattis and his staff.”

Several Republican members of the committee backed Banks’ amendment, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who said the amendment asks for documents already in possession of the DOD IG and would not slow the contracting process. Gaetz also accused Smith of making a “pro-Amazon argument.”

“The mere fact that you take the Amazon shot sort of makes my point,” Smith said. “That’s what’s going to happen.”