Court documents filed May 28 indicate the legal battle over the JEDI cloud contract could stretch into October.
The Defense Department is prepared to continue litigation over the long-delayed Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud contract—even after a legal setback in April—according to a court filing May 28.
In a joint status report filing, the Pentagon proposed a schedule that would render a judge’s decision in the protest by October 2021—at the earliest. The department initially awarded the contract to Microsoft in October 2019, but was challenged in court by contender Amazon Web Services. After corrective action, the department selected Microsoft again in September 2020. AWS subsequently continued its legal challenge of the award, and in its own filing favored an approach that would see the court what review additional evidence before a decision takes place.
In January, the Pentagon issued a memo hinting it could abandon the JEDI cloud effort if Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith allowed the court to explore allegations of political influence on JEDI, which she ultimately did in late April. The Pentagon’s latest filing seems to indicate a willingness to let the court battle play out. Meanwhile, the JEDI cloud contract is more than two years behind schedule.
“Any benefit gained by taking additional time to rehash in detail issues that the parties have already explored in depth is greatly outweighed by the ongoing harm to national security or continued delay in fielding these critical capabilities,” the filing states. “The passage of over 18 months since this bid protest was filed serves to increase the urgency of expeditious resolution now, not reduce it.”
In a statement, Pentagon spokesman Russell Goemaere reaffirmed the department’s pursuit of enterprisewide cloud capabilities.
"A Joint Status Report, like the one filed on May 28, is a standard filing in any litigation. The filing merely reflects the proposed schedule for further proceedings in the case, as directed by the Court's April 28, 2021 Order,” Goemaere said. “Nothing about this procedural filing changes our previous statements regarding our commitment to establish an enterprise cloud capability for the Department—we hope through JEDI—but the DoD's requirements transcend any one procurement."