Pentagon IG reviewing Republican lawmakers' request to investigate JEDI cloud program

October 24, 2018 at 2:35 PM

The Defense Department's inspector general is reviewing two Republican lawmakers' request to investigate the development of the Pentagon's Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud program.

In an Oct. 22 letter, Reps. Steve Womack (R-AR) and Tom Cole (R-OK) ask the DOD IG to investigate the development of the requirements and the request for proposal process for the JEDI cloud program. The program, which closed for bids earlier this month, has generated controversy because of the Pentagon's decision to make a single award for the commercial cloud services contract, worth up to $10 billion over 10 years. IBM and Oracle have both filed pre-award protests challenging the single-award strategy.

In particular, Womack and Cole want the IG to focus on how and why the program included certain "gating" restrictions to limit the competition to contractors who meet certain requirements, such as Defense Information Systems Agency requirements for handling classified data. Womack and Cole, both members of the House Appropriations defense subcommitee, say the gates "seem to be tailored to one specific contractor."

They also highlight how recent legislation has pressed the Pentagon to include opportunities for multiple providers as part of its enterprise cloud computing strategy and expressed concerns about DOD's acquisition strategy for JEDI.

"The department has not provided any adequate explanation as to why they continue to insist on a contract structure that has been widely criticized by Congress and industry," the lawmakers write.

They also cite "media reports" that allege "individuals who held, or hold, high ranking positions in the department have significant connects to the specific contractor," which is not named. Multiple media reports in recent months have suggested senior aides to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis have helped steer the JEDI contract toward Amazon Web Services after consulting on behalf of AWS prior to joining the Pentagon.

"Our current understanding is that these individuals, in direct contrast with the Federal Acquisition Regulation and DOD Ethics Policy, had involvement in the development of the JEDI program," Womack and Cole write.

The offices of both lawmakers declined to provide further information to Inside Defense when asked about the letter and their assertions about the unnamed individuals.

Meanwhile, the DOD IG's office confirmed to Inside Defense it received the letter and said it is "reviewing the request."