Jul 08 2021

DOD Pivots to New Cloud Approach After Cancelling JEDI

The Defense Department is embracing a multi-cloud approach for its enterprise cloud capabilities.

There will be no return of the JEDI. In the end, the Defense Department decided on July 6 to cancel its single-cloud, Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract and has indicated it will pursue a multi-cloud approach.

The JEDI contract, which would have been worth up to $10 billion and provided enterprise Infrastructure as a Service cloud capabilities for the DOD, had become entangled in a contentious legal battle between Microsoft, which the Pentagon had awarded the contract to, and Amazon Web Services, which alleged that political interference prevented it from winning the contract.

In its place, the DOD says it will pursue a new cloud contracting vehicle, dubbed the Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability (JWCC), which will be a multi-cloud/multi-vendor contract. The DOD is seeking proposals from Microsoft and AWS and is giving other cloud vendors only until July 20 to send in “capability statements” for the JWCC, as Federal News Network reports.

"We are launching what we call the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability, or JWCC, which will be based initially on direct awards to fill our urgent, unmet requirement for a multi-vendor enterprise cloud spanning the entire department in all three security levels with availability from CONUS to the tactical edge, at scale,” Acting DOD CIO John Sherman said during a media discussion at the Pentagon on July 7.

The JWCC will support such warfighter capabilities including joint all domain command and control, or JADC2, and the DOD’s artificial intelligence and data acceleration initiative, or ADA.

While neither Microsoft or AWS will automatically win contract awards, the DO expects that by October both companies will “receive direct solicitations from the department requesting proposals on how they might participate in JWCC,” according to the DOD.

Alex Rossino, a federal market research analyst at Deltek, says he does not think the pivot to the JWCC “will have any broader effect on the federal cloud market other than to ensure that SaaS solutions must now be compatible with each other in order to run successfully.”

What will complicate the picture for the DOD is “the issue of interoperability between the new systems,” Rossino says, adding that the Pentagon “will need to ensure that the data in one cloud can be easily accessible to the other.”

“The new JWCC will need to incorporate the flexibility that DOD says it needs,” he says. “Shaping that flexibility is the responsibility of the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, which is developing the requirements that the new JWCC will need to implement. Once those come out we’ll all have a better idea of the steps needed in order to make the all-domain concept a reality.”

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