Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said the Department of Defense (DoD) is looking to move forward on solutions for the agency’s enterprise cloud needs perhaps within the next month, as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud services contract continues to be stalled in litigation.
Speaking June 21 at the Defense One Tech Summit event, Hicks declined to comment on the litigation surrounding the JEDI contract.
But she did say “the department must have an enterprise cloud solution approach in order to make the most of JADC2,” or the Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) strategy, which Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin signed and approved last month.
“And again, that’s the warfighting edge,” Hicks said in regard to the enterprise cloud solution. “If you look at the board room edge we still need to have enterprise cloud solutions so that we can do everything from be faster and more timely and more efficient on audit, to inventory control, to HR. So, there’s no doubt we have to have a pathway forward on cloud.”
Earlier this year, DoD warned that it might abandon the JEDI contract altogether because of continuing delays due to legal issues. However, Hicks said on June 21 that the DoD is still “actively looking at our options right now” for the enterprise cloud solution it needs to pursue the JADC2 strategy.
“We have a good sense of what our needs are and we’re working through what the potential solutions are,” Hicks said. “We’ll be moving forward, you know, in a direction over the next, you know, month or so, but I’m not going to get into where we might end up.”
The JEDI contract has been wrapped up in legal proceedings since it was originally awarded in late 2019 to Microsoft, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) protested the award. As a result of that protest, the court put a hold on contract work in February 2020. DoD re-awarded the contract to Microsoft in September 2020, but substantial work on the contract was still blocked.
In April of this year, the court rejected a motion filed by DoJ and Microsoft which had sought to dismiss AWS’ complaint that the Trump administration interfered with the award of the contract to Microsoft. DoD has consistently denied that any interference took place. Legal proceedings are continuing over the contract award in U.S. Court of Federal Claims. In total, the Pentagon has been waiting for nearly three years to get the JEDI contract in place and up and running.