Amazon Web Services plans to prevent the US military from beginning work on the JEDI cloud system, as it hopes to reverse Microsoft's contract award.
With its challenge against the award covering the DoD's primary cloud service ongoing, "AWS intends to file a motion for temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction to prevent the issuance of substantive task orders," which were expected to begin on February 11. A decision on whether to grant AWS the delay will be decided on that day.
A hot mess
With the US military maintaining that the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract - which could last 10 years and be worth $10bn - is vital to national defense, further setbacks to the already long-delayed contract are seen as something to try to avoid.
In a filing, the parties involved state that "they have agreed to an expedited briefing schedule on the issue of preliminary injunctive relief, and respectfully request that the Court expedite consideration of the issue."
Together, legal representatives for Amazon and Microsoft proposed a timeline for a series of challenges and counter-challenges. In particular, Amazon will file its motion for the delay on January 24, while on the same day Microsoft and the DoD will file motions to dismiss the case.
Whether the contract is delayed or not, the DoD said that it does not "intend to file an answer to AWS’s complaint" about the JEDI award, as that will be handled in the separate case focusing on Amazon's challenge.
After Microsoft won the contract in October 2019, Amazon filed a protest. "Throughout the JEDI procurement process, based on AWS's depth of experience, superior technology, and proven record of success in handling the most sensitive government data, AWS was the consensus frontrunner to aid DoD in this important modernization effort," a heavily redacted document stated.
"Yet when the time came to make the award, DoD chose Microsoft. Any meaningful review of that decision reveals egregious errors on nearly every evaluation factor, from ignoring the unique strengths of AWS's proposal, to overlooking clear failures in Microsoft's proposal to meet JEDI's technical requirements, to deviating altogether from DoD's own evaluation criteria to give a false sense of parity between the two offerors. These fundamental errors alone require reversal."
One of the main reasons for the DoD's decision, Amazon claims, is due to " improper pressure from President Donald J. Trump, who launched repeated public and behind-the-scenes attacks to steer the JEDI Contract away from AWS to harm his perceived political enemy-Jeffrey P. Bezos, founder and CEO of AWS's parent company, Amazon.com, Inc. ("Amazon"), and owner of the Washington Post."
The Department of Defense denies it was influenced unduly by the President, while Microsoft maintains that it won the contract through a fair procurement process. JEDI has already been delayed several times, due to challenges over its single-award nature, and claims by Oracle-backed groups that the award favored Amazon.