Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Oracle will compete for the Pentagon’s huge modernization project

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The Pentagon has invited Amazon, Microsoft, Google (Alphabet) and Oracle to submit proposals for a new cloud computing initiative to replace JEDI – the giant planned project that was canceled in the summer after many clashes. The new initiative is called JWCC, Joint Warfighting Cloud Capabilities. In doing so, the Pentagon is changing its approach: one provider that was supposed to be responsible for modernizing the US State Department’s information systems over the course of a decade – to multiple vendors working in parallel.

“The government expects to award two IDIQ (Contractual Quantity Framework and Delivery Time Contracts), one to Amazon Web Services and one to Microsoft Corporation, but it intends to award a contract to any cloud service provider that demonstrates the ability to meet Department of Defense requirements,” it said. In the official publication of the Pentagon.

It is further noted that each contract is intended to last up to 36 months as a base period, with two extension periods of 12 months. “The government is still appreciating the ceiling of the contract, but expects it to reach billions of dollars.” The leading candidates, announced as early as July, are Amazon and Microsoft, which the announcement says are the only two companies “capable of meeting all requirements at this stage, including the provision of cloud services at all levels of security classification.”

The JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) contract, valued at about $ 10 billion, was canceled last July after being at the center of a long and complicated legal battle between Microsoft and Amazon. Microsoft won the contract in 2019 and defeated Amazon, which sued the court on the grounds that the Pentagon’s considerations were irrelevant and stemmed mainly from the hostility of then-US President Donald Trump to Amazon’s founder and chairman Jeff Bezos.

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Instead of waiting for a court ruling (after a tedious process that could have taken years), the Pentagon rescinded the contract, arguing that “due to changes in cloud requirements and capabilities, and industry developments,” the JEDI project “no longer meets the required needs.”

It should be mentioned that Google initially competed for the JEDI tender, but withdrew from it as early as 2018 following protests from thousands of its employees, who opposed the integration of the company’s artificial intelligence technologies in the military. According to a CNBC report, the topic of the new tender came up for discussion at Google’s weekly online meeting last Thursday (the day before the Pentagon announcement), after many employees expressed questions and concerns in the organization’s internal system.

“If we are selected as one of the vendors that meet the requirements, we will be proud to work with the Department of Defense to help modernize their operations,” Google’s Cloud Department Manager Thomas Corian said at the meeting, according to the press release. “There will be many areas where we can apply our product capabilities without conflicting with Google’s artificial intelligence principles.”

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