If you are following President Donald Trump through news channels or twitter, then you must be aware of how outspoken he is when it comes to Amazon and its owner Jeff Bezos. On several occasions, President Trump made comment on Amazon being a threat to the United States’ economy, vanishing small-town jobs and a financial loss to U.S. Post Office. He took the stage again in mid-2019 against Amazon, this time for the JEDI contract.
I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2018
The JEDI Saga
Department of Defense (DoD) announced Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) in 2017 to escalate its modernization effort. Since then, the JEDI contract is in limelight.
When it came into existence, it was proclaimed as the biggest ever cloud deal for the Department of Defense (DoD).
As the bidding process took place over two years, the deal got strangled by various bid protests facilitated by Oracle, alleged political intervention by President Donald Trump, and numerous changes in the released RFP by DoD regarding the requirements of the deal.
On 25th Oct. 2019, DoD awarded the crucial deal to Microsoft. The announcement was taken as a storm by the entire industry, as Amazon was seen as the frontrunner to aid DoD in this modernization effort via the JEDI contract. After the announcement, Microsoft replied to be happy to grab the deal and promised to meet all the expectations; however, Amazon responded with a lawsuit filed in the United States Court of Federal Claims.
Amazon is not ready to take a setback
The 103-page documents submitted by Amazon scrutinizes every point that proves, according to Amazon, the DoD’s prejudice towards Microsoft. Amazon attorneys filed the document, which also paints AWS’s proposal for up to $10 billion cloud contract as an obvious choice on a purely technical basis.
The radicated document was made public on Monday to proceed with the hearing to settle the ongoing protest.
In the document, there are a total of 234 arguments put forward by Amazon to criticize the selection criteria by the DoD’s selection committee and clearly stating the “improper pressure” by President Donald Trump to influence the decision.
Out of those 234 arguments, the majority of them were about President Donald Trump. The arguments reflected President Donald Trump’s alleged public statements, tweets, and interviews that prove his enmity towards Jeff Bezos (Founder & CEO, Amazon), leading to an unfair deal in favor of Microsoft.
The fierce lawsuit filed by Amazon
Amazon argued, as per the radicated document,
“DoD’s substantial and pervasive errors are hard to understand and impossible to assess separate and apart from the President’s repeatedly expressed determination to, in the words of the President himself, “screw Amazon.” Basic justice requires a re-evaluation of proposals and a new award decision.”
“The Defendant has represented that DoD will not proceed with performance of the JEDI Contract beyond initial preparatory activities until at least February 11, 2020. Accordingly, AWS and Defendant have agreed that a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction are not necessary at this time. AWS reserves the right to move for such immediate injunctive relief if DoD decides to proceed with performance in advance of this Court’s resolution of AWS’s protest.”
Amazon also asked the question, “whether the President of the United States should be allowed to use the budget of DoD to pursue his own personal and political end.”
What Amazon requested in the lawsuit?
Amazon, as a Plaintiff submitted Prayer for Relief requesting following points:
“A. Declare that DoD’s rejection of AWS’s proposal and award to Microsoft is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with the law.
B. Enjoin DoD and Microsoft from commencing performance on the JEDI Contract pending re-evaluation and a new award decision.
C. Direct DoD to re-evaluate proposals or, in the alternative, re-open discussions with Microsoft and AWS, solicit and reevaluate revised proposals, and make a new best value decision.”
Everybody is praying for a quick and happy ending
Amazon also put forth the argument that Amazon Web Services (AWS) has the advantage in almost every area; be it in-depth service portfolio, technical capabilities, industry expertise, global outreach and innovations meeting all the pre-requisites to implement the contract over 10 years.
It will be interesting to see how many turns will this contract take. As the legal proceedings take place, few questions still need to be answered. Will the alleged political influence continues to affect the DoD’s effort to modernize national security? Even after two years, how long will it take for DoD to put everything into action regarding the JEDI contract? Is the JEDI contract going to change the law process of awarding federal contracts?