FCW Insider: Jan. 29

The latest news and analysis from FCW's reporters and editors.

Paid family and medical leave for feds in new House bill

House Democrats are looking to extend federal employee benefits with new legislation.

Pandemic response drives DOD's sharp uptick in OTA spending

The Defense Pricing and Contracting Agency recorded more than $16 billion in other transaction agreements in 2020 in the Defense Department's response to the pandemic.

State Dept. can't justify move to open cyber office, GAO finds

The Government Accountability Office says the State Department failed to justify the scope and organizational placement of a new office that was greenlighted in the final days of the Trump administration.

Hassan, Cornyn try again with cyber Guard bill

The bill would allow states to use the National Guard for the purpose of bolstering their cybersecurity.

Quick Hits

*** The Department of Defense is signaling that it could pull the plug on the $10 billion JEDI cloud program if an upcoming federal court ruling doesn't go their way.

A document from the DOD CIO's office indicates that an unfavorable ruling on the count of improper political influence raised by Amazon Web Services in its protest lawsuit could lead to protracted litigation. The document notes that the discovery process and requests for depositions from former White House and DOD senior officials will "elongate the timeline significantly" and in that event, "the DOD CIO would reassess the strategy going forward."

Microsoft won the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract in October, 2019. The award was challenged in court by AWS, and DOD has been operating under a stop work order until the protest is decided.

Left unsaid by the brief communication from OCIO to Congress is whether the Biden Administration is prepared to defend the conduct of the procurement – particularly any actions by former President Donald J. Trump or his senior staff – in court.

The document indicates that a "significant" ruling on the government's motion to dismiss the latest revision of the AWS lawsuit is expected "in the coming weeks".

"Regardless of the JEDI cloud litigation outcome, the Department continues to have an urgent, unmet requirement" for enterprise cloud at the unclassified, secret and top secret levels stretching from the United States to warfighters in the field, the document states.