DOD issues formal solicitations for JWCC cloud contract

By Jaspreet Gill / November 22, 2021

The Defense Department has invited four major cloud service providers to submit bids for its multivendor Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability effort.

The department announced in an updated Nov. 19 notice it has issued formal solicitations to Google, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Oracle to bid for spots on the cloud effort. The solicitations come after months of market research and direct engagements with cloud service providers.

"The Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability (JWCC) will provide DOD-approved first-party cloud offerings, at all classification levels, from the homefront to the tactical edge, including denied, degraded, intermittent, or limited (DDIL) environments and closed loop networks," according to the notice.

JWCC is intended to replace the failed single-vendor Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud solicitation, which was canceled in July.

The Pentagon in 2019 awarded the potential 10-year, $10 billion single-vendor contract to Microsoft, which was protested by Amazon Web Services.

In announcing JEDI's replacement, DOD issued a statement saying it would be pursuing a multi-vendor strategy for JWCC with "a limited number of sources," namely Microsoft and Amazon Web Services.

DOD also planned to talk to Google, Oracle and IBM.

The updated notice doesn't clarify why IBM was not issued a formal solicitation along with the four hyperscale cloud service providers.

John Sherman, then-acting DOD chief information officer who has been formally nominated for the position, said in a statement announcing the new effort that DOD expects to make awards for JWCC by April 2022. The ID/IQ contract will have three-year base periods with two one-year options.

"We believe this contract period is both appropriately brief for a direct award, but long enough for us to start to leverage the new enterprise capabilities as we fully develop our longer-term plan," he said. "This plan involved a multicloud procurement via a full and open competition, perhaps as soon as early 2025."

Sherman added JWCC will allow the department to leverage cloud technology from headquarters to the tactical edge and "fulfill the promise" of the Joint All Domain Command and Control effort and the new Artificial Intelligence and Data Accelerate initiative.