The Department of Defense (DoD) suggested in a recent communication to Congress that it may consider moving on from its Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract with Microsoft should the lengthy court battle over the contract drag on much longer.
That message came in an “information paper” from DoD to Congress. MeriTalk has verified with DoD the authenticity of the document, which is not signed or dated, and bears no DoD letterhead.
The document states that the Court of Federal Claims (CoFC) will make a “significant ruling” in the coming weeks related to the legal tussle over the $10 billion cloud contract. Specifically, it says the ruling will deal with “the Government’s Motion to Dismiss, in Part, Count Four of Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) protest complaint.” AWS has alleged improper political influence by the Trump administration in the contract award.
DoD said it still has an urgent and unmet requirement when it comes to the need for an enterprise-wide, commercial cloud services for all three classification levels at scale. And the Pentagon said it remains “fully committed to meeting this requirement,” but “will be prepared to ensure it is met one way or another.”
The information paper goes on to lay out two potential scenarios that may stem from the pending “significant ruling” from the court.
Scenario one is that the court grants the motion to dismiss Count Four of the complaint, thus making AWS’ complaint no longer an allegation for the court’s consideration. This would leave three other counts in AWS’ complaint, which DoD said could take four to five more months of litigation to resolve.
Scenario two in that the court denies the motion to dismiss Count Four, and sets into motion a lengthy litigation process. The count, DoD said, would need to “be substantively litigated,” and arguments over further motions – such as a Motion for Discovery – would include requests to depose former senior White House officials, and DoD officials.
“The prospect of such a lengthy litigation process might bring the future of the JEDI Cloud procurement into question,” DoD said in the information paper. “Under this scenario, the DoD CIO would reassess the strategy going forward,” the Pentagon said.