Progress for DOD Cloud Services | Citizens Against Government Waste

Progress for DOD Cloud Services

The WasteWatcher

Cloud computing should be a top priority for every agency in the federal government.  This was a nascent concept when Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) noted in its two 2011 reports that the cloud can increase efficiency and savings when agencies determine how it fits into overall information technology (IT) strategy and management. CAGW’s proposals included full consideration of the agency’s mission; an assessment of current inventory of equipment and applications; interagency collaboration; strategic technology and contract development; data protection and portability; security and privacy; protective contracting vehicle clauses; backup solutions; effective program management; and user consultation and training. 

While many agencies proceeded without significant roadblocks to adopting the cloud, like many other procurement challenges at the Department of Defense (DOD), cloud computing became problematic.  Beginning in 2018, when the DOD decided that it should procure a sole source cloud services contract for its department-wide Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud procurement that would cost taxpayers nearly $10 billion over 10 years, CAGW has raised concerns over this process.    

CAGW made it clear in its comments on the JEDI program that it should be a multi-vendor contract, like the procurements that were concomitantly being announced for the Air Force, Army, and Navy and commonly used in the private sector.  It took several years for this idea to sink in.   

In July 2021, the DOD announced it was pulling back the sole source contract for JEDI that had been awarded to Microsoft Corporation after a lengthy procurement process that included court challenges related to the initial request for proposals (RFP).  Instead, DOD planned to issue a new RFP for a different cloud services procurement called the Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability (JWCC) contract, which would be a multi-cloud/multi-vendor Indefinite Delivery-Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract.  On December 7, 2022, DOD announced it was awarding the $9 billion JWCC contract to four vendors, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Oracle.  The estimated completion date for the contract is expected to be in June 2028. 

This decision follows private industry-wide best practices for multiple cloud solutions, which both increase security and create competition.  Like other DOD procurements, the JWCC process must be transparent, and Congress must exercise its oversight authority to hold the department accountable.  If everything works as expected, national security will be enhanced, IT systems will be more effective and efficient, and taxpayers will save money.