The bidding process for the Pentagon’s coveted multibillion dollar cloud contract has been fraught with controversy and drama, so much so that some lawmakers think the entire process should be restarted.
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Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said the U.S. government should not “tolerate” potential conflicts or the appearance of conflicts during a government contracting process, in an emailed statement to FOX Business.
The contract in question is the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud storage $10 billion contact – a single-source job that could span as many as ten years. Currently, Amazon and Microsoft are the remaining two companies in the running after Intel and Oracle failed to meet stated minimum requirements.
However, Oracle has filed complaints regarding the JEDI contract, including over purported connections between Amazon employees and Department of Defense officials – and an alleged unfair bias toward the e-commerce giant. It also protested the agency’s decision to award the contract to a single company.
Now, Grassley is saying the Department of Defense should just “start over.”
“Restart the whole process, rewrite what’s been done to ensure it’s handled correctly and by the book … The Defense Department should, at the very least, hold off on awarding the contract until the inspector general has had a chance to conduct a thorough investigation and report on their findings,” Grassley said.
The Defense Department intended to announce a winner next month – and has already begun identifying programs that could be transitioned to the JEDI infrastructure.
Spokespeople for Amazon and the Pentagon did not immediately return FOX Business’ requests for comment.
While the Government Accountability Office (GAO) initially dismissed Oracle’s claims, oral arguments for a court case are expected to begin this week in D.C.
Amazon was viewed as an early frontrunner due to its other standing cloud deals – including a $600 million cloud contract with the CIA. That indicates the company already has the approval to handle sensitive government data.
Last year, search giant Google pulled its bid for the JEDI contract, amid concerns the job does not align with the company’s artificial intelligence principles. Google has dealt with employee protests and concerns over producing technology for the U.S. military.