Republicans ask Trump to delay awarding $10B Pentagon cloud contract

A group of Republican lawmakers sent a letter to President Trump this week, asking him to request that the Pentagon delay declaring either Amazon or Microsoft a winner in the race for a lucrative cloud contract.

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The contract in question is the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract, a winner-take-all job that is valued around $10 billion.

The Office of the Inspector General is looking into the contract because of potential conflicts of interest among employees who worked for the Department of Defense and Amazon – one of two companies left in the race alongside Microsoft.

“We request that your administration instruct DoD not to award JEDI until the OIG has had an opportunity to complete and report on its investigation,” the lawmakers wrote. “Given that the contract is worth $10 billion and that the OIG is investigating conflicts of interest, we strongly feel that this is the appropriate course of action.”

Last week, Trump said he was going to look at the contract because he was receiving “tremendous complaints.”

“I’m getting tremendous complaints about the contract with the Pentagon and with Amazon, they’re saying it wasn’t competitively bid,” Trump told reporters. “We’re looking at it very seriously, it’s a very big contract, one of the biggest ever given.”

Trump said the complaints were coming from other “great companies,” like Microsoft, Oracle and IBM.

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio sent a letter to the president citing concerns that the race has been anti-competitive.

Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said the procurement process should be restarted, also citing potential conflicts of interest.

Signatories on the most recent letter include Wisconsin Republican Rep. Sean Duffy, Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz and California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter.

There have been concerns raised about alleged connections between Amazon employees and Defense Department officials – and a purported unfair bias toward the e-commerce giant. Oracle has filed complaints citing these claims.

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The Defense Department intended to announce a winner next month – and has already begun identifying programs that could be transitioned to the JEDI infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is dealing with another potential contract issue. On Thursday, Boeing withdrew its bid for a lucrative defense contract to replace the country’s intercontinental ballistic missiles, citing concerns about anti-competitiveness. The company allegedly believes its sole competitor for the job – Northrop Grumman – was given an unfair advantage.