A federal judge has decided to dismiss Oracle’s claim that there was an impropriety in the tendering practices for a ten-billion-dollar Pentagon contract, stating that the issues raised by Oracle in their case were unfounded. The eight-month long legal battle saw Oracle claim that the choice of Amazon’s AWS services as an eligible partner for the deal was tainted due to a series of employees leaving the Defense Department to work in Amazon. The ruling now clears the way for the defense department to decide which of the two eligible partners, Microsoft or Amazon, will get the coveted contract.
In a statement released to the press, Elissa Smith, spokeswoman for the Defense Department, stated that the ruling reaffirms the DOD’s position on “fair, full, and open competition.” She further stressed the critical need that the Defense Department has to get these capabilities in place, citing several military services needing deployment of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) framework.
The JEDI is a cloud-computing infrastructure that the Defense Department intends to use as a springboard for artificial intelligence programs that individual departments may utilize as the need arises. Additionally, the framework is designed to allow for the secure sharing of information between command centers and deployed personnel. Each department would have its own cloud connected to work alongside JEDI so that information can quickly be passed between departments as well, increasing the efficiency of sharing of pertinent information.
A Time-Consuming Road Block
While Oracle didn’t manage to block the award of the contract entirely, the investigation into the matter pushed back the award of the contract and has led to a revised timeline for the project’s completion. The Defense Department intends to award the contract in August – a delay of about four months from its initial estimates. An email sent to the press by an AWS spokesperson states that Amazon, “stands ready to support and serve what’s most important — the DoD’s mission of protecting the security of our country.”