The Department of Defense’s massive multi-vendor cloud contract, the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability (JWCC), has been delayed.

The $9 billion JWCC is open to bids from Microsoft, AWS, Google, and Oracle, and will serve unclassified, secret, and top-secret networks across the DoD.

Army Sgt. Kurt Van De Graaff marches through a cloud of smoke as part of a ruck march event during the 2019 Army National Guard Best Warrior Competition at Camp Gruber in Braggs, Okla., July 18, 2019.
– Kendall James, Oklahoma Army National Guard/DoD

With four vendors vying for different parts of the indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract, the military said that its planned launch of this April was too ambitious, pushing the deadline back to this December.

“As we’ve gotten into this and leaned into it with four vendors, we’ve recognized that our schedule was maybe a little too ahead of what we thought and that now we’re going to wrap up in the fall and we’re aiming to award in December,” DOD CIO John Sherman said.

“I’ve told the team we’re going to make sure we do this right. Take the time that they need so we can stick the landing on this given the imperative of what JWCC is for the Department of Defense.”

The JWCC was created after its precursor, the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract spectacularly fell apart.

First announced in 2018, the entire $10bn contract was set to go to one company. Throughout a lengthy and oft-delayed procurement process, lawsuits and lobbying saw companies like Oracle claim that the contract was designed for Amazon Web Services.

As the contest dragged on, reports swirled that then-President Donald Trump might cancel the contract, and he called for an investigation into it. Trump was “obsessed with Amazon," five sources told Axios.

“I’m getting tremendous complaints about the contract with the Pentagon and with Amazon," Trump told reporters at the time.

Then Microsoft was awarded JEDI in 2019, forcing Amazon to pivot to be against JEDI. It alleged "blatant political interference" from the President had stopped it from winning the contract, launching lawsuits.

The next year, Amazon had successfully won an injunction on the contract - meaning that the DoD could not start using Microsoft Azure's JEDI until the whole case is concluded.

Instead, the DoD scrapped the whole contract, reworking it as the JWCC. Initially announced in July 2021, it was set to see Microsoft and AWS compete for different parts of the wider contract. That was later amended to add Google and Oracle. But it too has been beset by delays, this most recent one its second pushback.

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