Trimming corners: Earlier this year, the US Department of Defense canceled a JEDI contract that it had with Microsoft more than two years ago and was worth about $ 10 billion over ten years. The cancellation was prompted by several factors, from evolving technical requirements to a seemingly endless cycle of protests from Microsoft’s competitors. The division quickly followed the cancellation by releasing an updated multi-vendor initiative designed to meet their technical needs while expanding the pool of potential cloud providers.
New Multi-Billion-dollar Warfighting Cloud Capability Sharing Request (JWCC) was officially shipped to several major cloud providers on Friday. The request was sent to AWS, Microsoft, Google and Oracle following a previous assessment by the Department of Defense of several cloud service providers and their technical ability to meet the new procurement requirements.
The JWCC contract aims to provide cloud services similar to those used in the previous JEDI contract, as well as new capabilities identified after the cancellation of the contract. The new program is also intended to cover other next-generation programs such as Joint Domain-Wide Command and Control (JADC2) and Artificial Intelligence and Data Acceleration (ADA) initiatives.
The publication of the request does not mean that the government is already ready to write big checks to these cloud providers. Recipients must provide targeted quotation responses to the JWCC RFQ. Once submitted, these responses will be evaluated by the Department of Defense’s procurement and legal departments using a formal structured review process to determine which provider (s) are best suited to provide the requested services.
All proposals are evaluated according to the same criteria to determine the suppliers with the highest probability of success, the lowest possible risk, and the most realistic cost estimate. This is one scenario where a cheaper deal does not necessarily mean a better deal.
The final contract will be awarded to successful cloud providers on an unspecified delivery / unspecified quantity (IDIQ) contract.
The IDIQ contract means that successful suppliers can supply an unlimited number of products or services (at the request of the government) for a fixed period of time. The award itself does not guarantee work or funding to the supplier, but rather serves as a hunting license enabling the prequalified recipient to provide service for any work awarded under this IDIQ contract.
While the JWCC request might be a “JEDI check in” script trying to get cloud support under a new name, there is no guarantee that the purchase will not experience the same types protest delays that have plagued previous JEDI efforts. The Department of Defense’s goal is to negotiate any IDIQ awards with qualified suppliers by the third quarter of 2022. But when billions of dollars are at stake, you can bet that the benevolent loser doesn’t exist. Just ask Amazon.