DOD IG confirms review of JEDI cloud acquisition, potential conflicts of interest

August 13, 2019

By Justin Doubleday

The Defense Department inspector general has opened a sweeping review into the development of the multibillion-dollar Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud acquisition, including whether any DOD employees had conflicts of interest while they were involved in the program.

In a statement released this morning, the DOD IG office said it has "assembled a multidisciplinary team of auditors, investigators, and attorneys to review matters related to the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud program that were referred to us by members of Congress and through the DOD hotline."

Confirmation of the DOD IG review comes as new Defense Secretary Mark Esper is also assessing the JEDI program, following complaints about its fairness from members of Congress and President Trump.

"We are reviewing the DOD's handing of the JEDI cloud acquisition, including the development of requirements and the request for proposal process," DOD IG spokeswoman Dwreena Allen said. "In addition, we are investigating whether current or former DOD officials committed misconduct relating to the JEDI acquisition, such as whether any had any conflicts of interest related to their involvement in the acquisition process."

DOD officials overseeing the JEDI program had hoped to award the contract this month. But the department says it will not award the contract until after Esper's review is complete.

Meanwhile, Allen said the DOD IG team "is making substantial progress" in its JEDI assessment.

"We recognize the importance and time-sensitive nature of the issues, and we intend to complete our review as expeditiously as possible," she said.

The DOD IG office will issue a report on its findings and will "consider publicly releasing the results, consistent with our standard processes," according to Allen. The investigators will also inform Esper, other DOD leaders and members of Congress of the IG's conclusions.

During a media roundtable last week, DOD Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy said the JEDI program is not on pause, as the department continues to review proposals from Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, the two finalists for the potentially 10-year, $10 billion contract.

Deasy also confirmed his office would be "educating" Esper on DOD's need for an enterprise cloud as part of the new defense secretary's review. He said DOD will not award the contract before Esper completes his review and approves the program moving forward.

Additionally, Deasy said JEDI program leaders will "consult" with the DOD IG's office before making the award.

"If we get to the point where we do not have an IG report, before we would issue any final award, we will obviously have a conversation with the IG, we'll consult with them and in having that consultation, decide if there's anything that they're sharing with us that would give us reason to pause before we continue on with award," he said Friday, prior to confirmation of the DOD IG review.

The DOD IG review, as well as Esper’s examination, are the latest challenges in the controversial JEDI program. Earlier this month, a judge in the Court of Federal Claims shot down Oracle America’s lawsuit, which had argued the JEDI cloud requirements were unfair and illegal and also claimed the procurement was tainted by organizational conflicts of interest related to DOD employees who went on to work for Amazon Web Services.