After years of disputes over the decision to award a 10-year, $10-billion cloud contract to a single vendor, the Department of Defense announced Tuesday that it has canceled the JEDI contract awarded to Microsoft in 2019 and will seek multiple vendors to modernize its infrastructure.
According to multiple reports, the Pentagon still plans to upgrade its enterprise tech infrastructure in the near future, but it will solicit new bids from Microsoft and AWS for that work. The two cloud infrastructure leaders were the finalists for the original JEDI contract, which was disputed by AWS based on claims of improper interference by the Trump administration in the selection of the winner.'
The decision ends years of squabbling over which big enterprise tech vendor was most qualified to provide services to the military, which decided early in the process that it wanted a single vendor to manage what will eventually be one of the biggest enterprise tech overhauls ever undertaken. After multiple vendors submitted bids as far back as 2017, Microsoft and AWS were chosen as finalists in April 2019, and Microsoft was awarded the deal in October 2019.
However, just as Microsoft was all set to begin work on the contract in February 2020, AWS won a court ruling pausing work on the contract until the court could hear its claims that former President Trump's documented disdain for Amazon founder and former CEO Jeff Bezos influenced the Pentagon's decision. That dispute is still ongoing, although it's unclear how the process will unfold now that the original deal is off.
The new contract will be called the Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability and will run five years, according to Bloomberg. Some portions of the military, notably the U.S. Air Force, have already moved ahead with their own multiple-vendor modernization projects while the JEDI dispute dragged on.
"One contract has never, and will never, define our relationship with the DoD or any customer. Our decades-long partnership with the DoD will continue – and we stand ready to support our nation's men and women in uniform as they address our national security needs," Microsoft said in a blog post
This story was updated to include new information and background.