Proceed with Caution on JEDI Procurement | Citizens Against Government Waste

Proceed with Caution on JEDI Procurement

The WasteWatcher

The decision announced today in favor of the Department of Defense (DOD) in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims case challenging the $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract likely means that it will be awarded shortly to a single vendor. 

As Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and other taxpayer groups have argued in a May 16, 2019 letter to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Acting Director Russell Vought, “A contract of this magnitude should not be awarded as a sole source contract.”  The letter cited comments by IT Alliance for Public Sector’s Senior Vice President Trey Hodgkins, who recommend to DOD that its cloud should be composed of “multiple interoperable offerings” that would create competition and the “best value for both the warfighter and taxpayer.”

Private industry-wide best practices call for multiple cloud solutions.  Indeed, the individual military services have rejected single cloud providers.  When the RFP for JEDI was announced, Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Lt. General VeraLinn ‘Dash’ Jamieson said that “multi-cloud” will give the enemy “a targeting problem” and she does not want to use a single cloud solution.  In September 2018, the Navy awarded a multi-cloud, multi-vendor contract of up to $95 million to CSRA, a General Dynamics Information Technology Company, which will be the “the commercial cloud broker for the Navy.”  Both the Army’s Accent contract and the Air Force’s managed services office will be multi-cloud, multi-vendor deals. 

The House Appropriations Committee's May 23, 2019 report to accompany the DOD Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2020 recognized that the single source cloud for JEDI is problematic and included language that would restrict the expenditure of money for the contract.  Funds cannot be “obligated or expended to migrate data and applications to the JEDI cloud until the Chief Information Officer of the DOD provides a report to the congressional defense committees on how the Department plans to eventually transition to a multi-cloud environment.”  This language puts the DOD on notice that Congress is watching its cloud procurement closely and expects a multi-cloud solution.  It also begs the question why a single cloud contract should go forward if the committee is calling for a multi-cloud solution.

The committee noted that other agencies are pursuing the multiple vendor cloud strategy recommended by OMB under the “Cloud Smart” strategy.  For example, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is now pursuing a multi-cloud approach for its new Commercial Cloud Enterprise procurement after six years under its single vendor Commercial Cloud Services contract.  DOD had used the CIA contract as a basis for writing its proposal for JEDI before the single vendor agreement expired. 

The Appropriations Committee deserves credit for recognizing the need for a multi-cloud solution for DOD.  If JEDI is going to be awarded as planned, the Pentagon must respond quickly and inform the committee how it will adhere to its clear and strong recommendations.




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