Microsoft and Pentagon to Kick Off JEDI Cloud Prep 

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Microsoft and Defense Department officials will meet for three days to discuss the cloud project despite Amazon lawsuit.

Officials from Microsoft and the Defense Department will meet in Washington, D.C. over the next three days to begin discussion and preparation for the execution of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract.

The meetings will occur Dec. 11-13, and will include Defense Department Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy, Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella and a cadre of Microsoft executives, including Toni Townes-Whitley, Jason Zander, Tom Keane and Mark Russinovich.

The Defense Department, which awarded Microsoft its hotly-contested JEDI contract in October, will convene the meetings as it faces a lawsuit in the Court of Federal Claims from JEDI competitor Amazon, which seeks to overturn the decision.

Participants in the Pentagon/Microsoft meeting will discuss “requisite activities to prepare the cloud environment,” according to Defense Department spokeswoman Elissa Smith.

“The Department of Defense is confident in the JEDI Cloud Contract award and remains focused on getting this critical capability into the hands of our warfighters as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Defense Department spokeswoman Elissa Smith told Nextgov. “The department's Cloud Computing Program Office continues to work with Microsoft to prepare the JEDI Cloud environment.”

Court documents unsealed Monday indicate the Defense Department has agreed not to proceed with performance under JEDI until at least Feb. 11, aside from “initial preparatory activities.”

“As the selected contractor to support the [Defense Department in its mission to modernize its enterprise cloud, we are diligently working with the Cloud Computing Program Office to bring this critical new technology to our men and women in uniform,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Nextgov.

In its complaint—a redacted version of which was publicly released Monday—Amazon alleges the Defense Department made “numerous and compounding prejudicial errors” in awarding JEDI to Microsoft. Amazon’s complaint takes issue with numerous technical evaluations conducted by evaluators. It further states Defense Department officials were influenced by prolonged political pressure applied by President Donald Trump through Twitter, television and other mediums. 

Deasy has repeatedly defended the integrity of the JEDI award. During his Senate confirmation Oct. 29, Deasy said he felt confident source selection officials were not influenced by external organizations, “including the White House.”