Pentagon Seeking Partner to Run JEDI Program Office
The Defense Department is looking for a partner to manage the office overseeing its $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, cloud contract.
The Cloud Computing Program Office, or CCPO, “requires highly skilled services to support program office operations and delivery of a modern enterprise cloud services solution,” according to a request for information released April 9. The CCPO opened in fall 2017 to oversee the JEDI procurement, and employs 15 civilians and 11 military personnel.
With a decision on JEDI on the way, the Pentagon intends to hand off the day-to-day operation of the CCPO to a contractor. The Defense Digital Service will remain involved as the chief technical adviser to the CCPO and JEDI, according to a spokesperson.
The Pentagon is seeking a contractor capable of performing a range of services requiring both commercial and technical expertise, including business operations and leadership support, engineering, security, strategic communications, user engagement, and program execution, according to the RFI.
The winning vendor’s primary responsibility will be managing the JEDI contract and overseeing the cloud service provider and subcontractors. The vendor will also support Pentagon agencies as they migrate their systems to the commercial cloud, develop common standards and tools, and coordinate between industry and Pentagon leadership.
To head off potential conflicts of interest, no company involved in the JEDI cloud program, either as a cloud service provider or as a subcontractor, is eligible to compete for the CCPO management contract. All contractor personnel must also hold clearances to handle top secret and sensitive compartmentalized information (TS/SCI).
Interested parties have until April 23 to respond to the RFI.
No Disturbance in the Force, the Pentagon Finds
The release of the RFI coincides with the Pentagon’s determination that the JEDI procurement wasn’t biased by a former DOD staffer in favor of Amazon Web Services Inc., as was alleged in a lawsuit by Oracle Corp.
Following a month-long internal investigation, officials “determined that there is no adverse impact on the integrity of the acquisition process,” Pentagon spokesperson Elissa Smith said in a statement to Bloomberg News. The investigation uncovered evidence of unethical conduct that will be referred to the DOD inspector general for a separate review.
The department will reportedly ask Judge Eric Bruggink of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to lift a stay in the case, which would allow it to move forward with the acquisition, setting the stage for a decision in the coming weeks.
According to Smith, only two companies remain in competition for JEDI, Amazon and Microsoft Corp. The Pentagon could issue an award as early as mid-July.
In addition to the pending legal challenges, the Central Intelligence Agency’s decision in March to use multiple vendors and clouds for its Commercial Cloud Enterprise (C2E) program led some commentators to speculate whether the Pentagon might rethink its winner-take-all approach for JEDI.
Pentagon officials have maintained that JEDI will be one of many cloud programs in its portfolio, albeit the largest one.
“The scope and complexity of DOD’s mission requires multiple clouds from multiple vendors,” said Smith. “JEDI is one element of DOD’s overall multi-cloud strategy and part of larger efforts to modernize information technology across the DOD enterprise.”
Chris Cornillie is a federal market analyst with Bloomberg Government.
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