Pentagon puts $10bn JEDI contract on hold

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The Pentagon is postponing the award of the $10bn heavy cloud computing contract, after the country’s president, Donald Trump, said his office was investigating possible prefential treatment towards one bidder.

The contract is called JEDI, which is short for Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure, and is part of the Pentagon’s wider push into the modernisation of its infrastructure.

Four large cloud providers supplied their bids for the contract: IBM, Oracle, Microsoft and Amazon, with the first two dropping out relatively early in the process.

Oracle, however, couldn’t accept defeat that easily and aggressively lobbied, saying that it had its worries with the award process. Allegedly, a former Amazon employee was working for the Defence Department and recused himself because of possible conflicts of interest. Later, he left the Department and re-joined Amazon within AWS.

Pentagon spokeswoman Elissa Smith said Defence Secretary Mark Esper, who assumed his role on July 23, was reviewing accusations of unfairness.

“Keeping his promise to Members of Congress and the American public, Secretary Esper is looking at the Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure program,” Smith said in a statement on Thursday. “No decision will be made on the program until he has completed his examination.”

AWS and Oracle are so far quiet on the matter.

Recently, four Republican lawmakers urged Donald Trump to move forward with the contract, saying any further waiting will only hurt the country.