JEDI’s Legal Challengers Make Their Next Moves

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Amazon Web Services asks a federal judge to stop work on the cloud contract and Oracle knocks back assertions that the procurement was fair because Microsoft won. 

Amazon Web Services asked a federal judge to halt work under the Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud contract for the duration of its legal protest.

In a sealed motion filed Wednesday, AWS asked the U.S. Court of Federal Claims for a temporary restraining order and injunction to stop the Pentagon and JEDI winner Microsoft from doing work under the contract.

The motion was not a surprise: AWS signaled its intent to seek an injunction Jan. 13.

However, the filing comes days after the Defense Department awarded a $1 million task order under JEDI to Microsoft for professional services and training work for tactical-edge devices. In previous filings, attorneys representing the government indicated the Pentagon planned to begin work under JEDI by Feb. 11, and attorneys for AWS and the government have asked Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith to rule on the restraining order by that Feb. 11 date.

“It is common practice to stay contract performance while a protest is pending and it’s important that the numerous evaluation errors and blatant political interference that impacted the JEDI award decision be reviewed,” an AWS spokesperson said in a statement. “AWS is absolutely committed to supporting the [Defense Department’s] modernization efforts and to an expeditious legal process that resolves this matter as quickly as possible.”

AWS filed its protest, which alleges political interference and remarks made by President Trump hurt its bid chances, on Nov. 22, approximately one month after the Pentagon awarded JEDI to Microsoft. The award—more than a year behind the Pentagon’s initial timeline—followed a controversial procurement process that began in 2017 and saw several pre-award protests and delays, including a three-month review by Defense Secretary Mark Esper over the summer.

Oracle Appeal Continues

Oracle continued its JEDI appeal this week, countering the government’s argument that JEDI’s award should render Oracle’s pre-award legal action moot. Oracle filed its initial lawsuit against the Pentagon over the JEDI contract in December 2018, about nine months before the Pentagon ultimately awarded JEDI to Microsoft. In filings last month, attorneys for the government and AWS—AWS joined the case because Oracle made allegations against it—argued Oracle’s allegations against AWS are “mooted” since AWS did not win JEDI.

Not so, Oracle said in a Jan. 21 U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Court filing.

“As a factual matter, the procurement is not more trustworthy because AWS' henchman got caught and someone else received the contract. Microsoft's gain does not rectify the loss to the public or the numerous competitors unlawfully blocked from this corrupted procurement,” Oracle said in the filing. “This result is not sought to punish Microsoft, it is required ‘to protect the public’ and other offerors.”

Oracle seeks to overturn the previous legal decision against it and force the Defense Department to rebid JEDI.