Oracle files pre-award protest in $10B JEDI cloud competition

By Justin Doubleday / August 7, 2018 at 11:40 AM

Oracle America filed a pre-award protest this week against the Pentagon's Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure solicitation, as the company argues the contract will lock DOD into a “legacy cloud” for the next decade.

The bid protest, filed Aug. 6, comes less than two weeks after the Defense Department issued the formal request for proposals for the JEDI cloud program. The Government Accountability Office has until Nov. 14 to decide on the case.

"The technology industry is innovating around next-generation cloud at an unprecedented pace and JEDI virtually assures DOD will be locked into legacy cloud for a decade or more," Oracle said in a statement. "The single-award approach is contrary to industry’s multi-cloud strategy, which promotes constant competition, fosters innovation and lowers prices. The DOD seeks to procure so-called 'commercial services' that are wholly inconsistent with the commercial sector and the [determination and findings] falls far from meeting the rigorous legal standards required for a single award contract."

The statement refers to a "determination and findings" document signed by Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord authorizing the JEDI program to award such a large indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract to a single source.

Since late last year, controversy has swirled around DOD's plan to make one award for the JEDI program. Despite strong push back from some quarters of industry, DOD stuck with the single-award strategy in the final RFP. Amazon Web Services is seen as the front-runner in the winner-takes-all competition due to its past work with the CIA in deploying classified data to its commercial cloud services.

In a letter released alongside the RFP, DOD Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy wrote the department "will always have a multiple cloud environment, but we need to do better in applying an enterprise approach to that environment."

"To successfully accomplish this, we are looking for an industry partner who will learn with us and help us find the best ways to bring foundational commercial capabilities to our warfighters," he added.

Oracle has been quietly leading the push back against JEDI and other recent DOD cloud plans linked to Amazon. Earlier this year, when the Pentagon inked an award with a ceiling of $950 million for cloud migration services with REAN Cloud, which touts itself as an AWS “premier partner,” Oracle protested.

Even after the Pentagon dialed back the contract ceiling to $65 million, GAO upheld Oracle's protest.

The JEDI contract could last up to 10 years and be worth upwards of $10 billion. DOD officials say it should help warfighters by pooling and sharing information across units, from bases in the United States down to deployed troops in austere environments abroad.

Industry has until Aug. 16 to ask questions about the RFP. Companies have until Sept. 17 to submit their proposals. The RFP shows the contract's base period starting in April 2019.