The US secretary of defense (Pentagon) will review a $10 billion cloud contract over which President Trump has expressed skepticism. According to the Washington Post, Pentagon decision comes at the direction of the white house over concerns that the deal could go to Amazon. The entire contracting process involved bids from companies like Oracle, Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM, has been steeped in controversy over the past few weeks.
First Google dropped out of the race after employees petitioned against the contract, raising concerns over the ethics of supplying its technology to the military. But tensions rose late last month when President Donald Trump suggested that Amazon was involved in a conspiracy to win the deal and create a “Ten-Year DoD Cloud Monopoly.”
This announcement throws a major set back to one of the most closely watched tech deals, which until recently was considered all but assured to go to Amazon Web Services, the retailer’s tremendous cloud computing business. The theory was similar to one created by Oracle’s executive vice president, Ken Glueck, along with one of the company’s Washington lobbyists. In the December Lawsuits, Oracle has raised some similar serious concerns against the Defense Department, claiming that the Pentagon requirements for the contract were created in a way that favored Amazon.
It makes it easier for the e-commerce and cloud-computing giant to win the bidding process. Elissa Smith, who is a Department of Defense spokeswoman, said to Business Insider that no decision would be made until Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has completed an examination. The award was supposed to be made later this month because the timeline is unclear. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have also gotten involved in the process in coming weeks.
It will send letters to the president requesting for the contract to be delayed until officials could examine the awards process. This contract has already been delayed for a year in investigations and court filings. However, further delays DOD fall behind and DOD needs this technology now. The cloud makes the military a more lethal, agile and innovative force. Among all of this, President Trump has signaled an interest in revisiting the deal, pointing concerns raised by Amazon’s cloud rivals.
There are also indications he’s considering the possibility of personally intervening in the JEDI award process. Apart from the JEDI contract, Trump has had loud and public disagreements with Amazon and its CEO Jeff Bezos. In December, he accused the company of scamming the Postal Service on delivery rates. More recently, Trump told The Washington Post newspaper which is also owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos as a “Russian asset” for coverage he perceived as unfavorable.
Some people of the Capitol Hill has urged Trump to allow JEDI to continue on schedule, it cites national security concerns if the contract award were delayed further.