The Department of Defense has announced its $10 billion, Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud services contract will stay single sourced, the Washington Business Journal reported Thursday.
The DoD revealed the decision in their final request for proposals. Single sourcing the award has been highly controversial among defense contractors and information technology companies, ever since the first RFP was released earlier this year.
Under the award, a commercial company will migrate a range of sensitive DoD data to their cloud, enabling warfighters to rapidly scale data-driven decision-making. The move represents the department’s plan to modernize IT infrastructure and break free from outdated, legacy systems.
“Rapidly providing DoD access to underlying foundational technologies, like cloud computing and data storage, on a global scale is critical to national defense,” said Dana Deasy, the DoD’s chief information officer, in a memo.
He added, “To successfully accomplish this, we are looking for an industry partner who will learn with us and help us find the best ways to bring foundational commercial capabilities to our warfighters.”
The report detailed that Amazon Web Services is seen as the top contender, but IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and other cloud services provider will also submit bids for the award.
In fall, AWS unveiled its Secret Region cloud platform for the intelligence community, able to house software and data with a Secret classification. The DoD has already begun moving some classified data and applications to the service.
The contract recipient has to be able to host classified data within 180 days of receiving the award, and Secret and Top Secret data within 270 days. Given that AWS is the only cloud provider able to currently meet these requirements, the company has emerged as the industry front-runner. However, Microsoft and IBM claim they’re very close to supporting these requirements.
“IBM has proudly supported the U.S. military for decades, and we look forward to submitting a thoughtful, comprehensive proposal for a JEDI cloud that will serve the long-term needs of America’s men and women in uniform,” commented Sam Gordy, general manager of IBM’s federal business.
Competitors say single sourcing the award generates security issues and makes it difficult for new technologies to enter the national defense market. However, DoD officials said the award will go to the best-suited vendor after a fair and open bidding process.
Different contractors working on several areas of the department’s cloud infrastructure would render the process unnecessarily complex, the officials add.
The award features a two-year base, followed by two three-year options, as well as a final two-year option. Bids must be submitted by Sept. 17th.