Amazon Cites ‘Political Influence’ in Coming JEDI Protest

Beppe Castro/

Amazon will fight over the $10 billion cloud contract that the Pentagon awarded to Microsoft in October.

Amazon Web Services will protest the Pentagon’s decision to award its massive Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract to Microsoft.

AWS provided notice Friday of its intent and will officially lodge its protest within the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

"AWS is uniquely experienced and qualified to provide the critical technology the U.S. military needs, and remains committed to supporting the DoD’s modernization efforts,” an AWS spokesperson told Nextgov in a statement. “We also believe it's critical for our country that the government and its elected leaders administer procurements objectively and in a manner that is free from political influence. Numerous aspects of the JEDI evaluation process contained clear deficiencies, errors, and unmistakable bias—and it’s important that these matters be examined and rectified."

Microsoft was awarded the contract on Oct. 25 after a nearly two-year process that saw significant controversy over the battle to build the military’s war cloud. Four companies initially battled for the contract, with two—IBM and Oracle—filing losing bid protests against alleged unfairness in the contracting process.

The bids of those two companies were tossed out earlier this year after only bids from Microsoft and AWS met the Pentagon’s gate criteria. In the months leading up to the award—while Pentagon officials evaluated the bids—President Trump waded into the contract battle, saying he was “looking into” JEDI after hearing complaints from Microsoft, IBM and Oracle, which had lost an 8-month lawsuit against the Pentagon over the contract. 

At one point, Trump allegedly told former Defense Secretary James Mattis to “screw” Amazon out of the contract, according to a new book by Mattis’ former speechwriter Guy Snodgrass.

In August, Defense Secretary Mark Esper held the JEDI contract for review. In the days leading up to the JEDI award, Esper recused himself from the contract because his son, Luke Esper, worked for IBM. 

Federal Times first reported the news.