Microsoft, AWS tussle over US$10bn cloud contract for Dept of Defence

Citing a "shifting technology environment", the US Department of Defence (DoD) is ending a multibillion dollar cloud computing contract with Microsoft.

The implementation of the Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure (JEDI) contract, agreed in 2019, has been long delayed by ongoing litigation from Amazon Web Services over the DoD's original procurement process - a delay that was set to continue for at least another 12 months. By cancelling the contract and starting again, the DoD hopes to move forward with refined programme requirements. 

John Sherman Department of Defense CIO"JEDI was developed at a time when the Department’s needs were different and both the technology and our cloud [fluency] was less mature," explained John Sherman, acting DoD Chief Information Officer. "In light of new initiatives like Joint All Domain Command and Control and Artificial Intelligence and Data Acceleration, the evolution of the cloud ecosystem within DoD, and changes in user requirements to leverage multiple cloud environments to execute mission, our landscape has advanced and a new way-ahead is warranted to achieve dominance in both traditional and non-traditional warfighting domains." 

The DoD continues to have "unmet cloud capability gaps for enterprise-wide, commercial cloud services at all three classification levels that work at the tactical edge, at scale" - and will be inviting proposals from both Microsoft and AWS for a new programme that will be a multi-cloud/multi-vendor Indefinite Delivery-Indefinite Quantity contract. 

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