The Department of Defense (DoD) has formally opened bidding among the big names of Silicon Valley for a contract involving Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability (JWCC). Amazon Web Service (AWS), Google, Microsoft and Oracle have all been named as candidates.

The JWCC’s contract is intended to replace the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract and will give America’s military more reliable cloud-based data access when its members are deployed in remote locations. One major difference between JWCC over JEDI is that the former has been made open to more than one provider of cloud data services.

JEDI, speculated to be valued at $10 billion over a decade, was given to Microsoft in October of 2019. AWS protested the decision and argued that the Pentagon’s choice was influenced by then-President Trump’s disdain for Amazon and Jeff Bezos. The Pentagon cancelled the contract in July, basically expressing that the contract was simply inadequate for what the DoD needed.

While the value of a JWCC contract remains unclear, the DoD anticipates the need for a multi-billion dollar ceiling to the bidding. The Pentagon will be awarding the winning bidders with an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quality (IDIQ) contract for demonstrating their ability to meed the DoD’s service needs.

It should be noted that the General Service Administration’s notices expresses that, of the four names involves, only AWS and Microsoft have the ability to satisfy the Pentagon’s needs. One of the most important among those needs would be providing cloud computing services to every level of national security.

A spokesperson for the DoD expressed that the award would happen according to an acquisition schedule established by itself, intending to award the IDIQ contracts in the third fiscal quarter of next year. Each of thee contracts is planned to have a three-year starting period plus two year-long option periods.

Deborah Hellinger, a spokesperson for Oracle, expressed that her company was delighted to be included in the bidding. She added that Oracle was committed to delivering the best possible “security, performance and value” in cloud applications for the “DoD’s Warfighter mission.”

Elsewhere, a spokesperson for Google has drawn attention to a recent blog post that confirms the company would certainly make a bid on the JWCC contract if able. The spokesperson went on to express a desire to modernize operations and even incorporate AI Principles.

Furthermore, a spokesperson for AWS expressed their company’s desire to support the US military and secure that warfighters and defense partners have the best, most valuable technology it can have. They went on to express a desire to continue supporting modernization of the DoD and assist in successfully completing vital missions.

A Bit More On JEDI

The JEDI contract was planned to be a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) means of incorporating technology while providing a scalable economy to the DoD. While it was initially offered to the same four companies that will be bidding on the JWCC contract, Google dropped out of its bidding due to violations of its business ethics. When it seemed like AWS was all but certain to win the bid, Oracle contested the decision and argued for a conflict of interest as one of its employees, Deap Ubhi, was a former employee for the DoD; Eric G. Bruggink, a senior judge with the Federal Claims Court, placed a hold on the bidding. Come August 2019, President Trump requested the bid be placed on hold again so that Amazon would have no conflict of interest, ultimately resulting in Microsoft winning the bid on October 25, 2019.

One day before Microsoft was to begin work on its JEDI contract, AWS filed a challenge to the decision. Patricia Campbell-Smith, a federal judge, agreed to hold up the contract and the DoD reopened bidding. Come September 4, 2020, Microsoft was once again verified as the winning bid, with an assessment of their doings indicating that Microsoft offered the greatest gain to the government.