Oracle appeals Court of Federal Claims ruling in JEDI cloud case

By Justin Doubleday  / August 27, 2019

Oracle America is appealing a U.S. Court of Federal Claims decision that rejected the company’s protest of the Defense Department's pending enterprise cloud contract.

Oracle filed the notice of appeal yesterday, Dorian Daley, the company’s general counsel, confirmed in a statement. The appeal challenges the court's ruling in July denying Oracle's protest of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud services solicitation, allowing DOD to move forward with the potential 10-year, $10 billion award.

Oracle had sued to stop the procurement, claiming the single-award acquisition strategy was illegal and the requirements were unfair. Furthermore, the company alleged several DOD employees involved in the JEDI procurement were biased in favor of Amazon Web Services, with at least two employees engaging in employment discussions with AWS while still working for DOD.  

However, the judge in the Court of Federal Claims ruled Oracle did not have standing to claim prejudice in the JEDI solicitation, as the company did not meet the "gate criteria" DOD set for winning the award. The judge also agreed with DOD's conclusion that while some DOD employees' conduct may have violated ethical standards, it did not amount to an organizational conflict of interest in favor of AWS.

In Oracle's latest statement, Daley pointed to some aspects of the judge's ruling that found DOD violated contracting statutes in setting up the JEDI contract as a single award.

"Federal procurement laws specifically bar single award procurements such as JEDI, absent satisfying specific, mandatory requirements, and the court in its opinion clearly found DOD did not satisfy these requirements," Daley said.

The judge's opinion also "acknowledges" the conflicts of interest, which Oracle alleges "violate the law and undermine public trust," according to her statement.

"As a threshold matter, we believe that the determination of no standing is wrong as a matter of law, and the very analysis in the opinion compels a determination that the procurement was unlawful on several grounds," Daley said.

Oracle's latest lawsuit comes as new Defense Secretary Mark Esper reviews the JEDI procurement, following complaints from lawmakers about the single-award strategy and the potential conflicts of interest. The DOD inspector general’s office is also investigating the conduct of DOD employees, as well as the development of the JEDI acquisition strategy.

DOD had aimed to award the JEDI contract this month, but the ongoing reviews are expected to push the award date into September at the earliest. AWS and Microsoft Azure are the only companies eligible to win the JEDI contract, which calls for a company capable of providing enterprise cloud services at all classification levels and in locations around the world.