UPDATED 14:57 EDT / NOVEMBER 19 2021


DOD invites Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Oracle to bid for JWCC cloud program

The U.S. Department of Defense has asked Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp., Google LLC and Oracle Corp. to submit bids for the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability cloud computing procurement program.

The decision was made public today. Officials reportedly estimate that the value of the cloud contracts issued through the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability program, or JWCC as it’s commonly known, could reach “multiple billions of dollars.”

JWCC replaced an earlier DOD cloud procurement initiative known as the JEDI, or Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure. JEDI would have been worth up to $10 billion over 10 years. It was scrapped this past July in favor of the current JWCC program. 

One of the main differences between the two programs is the number of cloud providers expected to be involved. JEDI was a single-provider contract. Through the JWCC program, in contrast, the DOD plans to source solutions from not one but multiple cloud operators.

The DOD’s decision to request bids from Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Oracle follows a market research process that concluded a few weeks ago. Going forward, the DOD plans to issue what are known as indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity, or IDIQ, contracts to the cloud providers that make winning bids. An IDIQ agreement gives the purchaser access to an unlimited quantity of services for a certain amount of time. In the case of JWCC, contracts will run for a three-year performance base period with the option to add a two-year extension.

The task of negotiating the upcoming cloud procurement agreements’ terms is still ahead. The DOD reportedly anticipates that the process will be completed by April. From there, services procured through the JWCC program are expected to become available for unclassified workloads within 30 days of the contracts being awarded. Secret-level and top-secret services are set to become available within 60 days and 180 days, respectively.

“The Government anticipates awarding two IDIQ contracts — one to Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS) and one to Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft) — but intends to award to all Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) that demonstrate the capability to meet DoD’s requirements,” the U.S. General Services Administration said in a statement. 

The DOD’s requirements for the JWCC span multiple areas. “At a high level, the JWCC requirements include providing capability and parity of service at all three classification levels, integrated cross domain solutions, global availability of tactical edge environments and enhanced cybersecurity controls,” stated Danielle Metz, the DOD’s deputy chief information officer for the Information Enterprise.

“Our commitment to supporting our nation’s military and ensuring that our warfighters and defense partners have access to the best technology for the best value is stronger than ever,” an AWS spokesperson said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to support the DoD’s modernization efforts and building solutions that help accomplish their critical missions.”

Unlike the three other companies that have been asked to submit bids as part of the JWCC program, Google didn’t compete for the DOD’s earlier JEDI cloud contract. The search giant indicated that it does intend to compete this time. 

“If we are invited to be part of the JWCC contract, we will absolutely bid,” Google Cloud Chief Executive Officer Thomas Kurian wrote in a blog post last week. “And if selected as one of the compliant vendors, we will proudly work with the DoD to help them modernize their operations following the process we have in place for working with our customers, including the processes we’ve developed around our AI Principles.”

Oracle has also indicated that it’s looking to participate. Unlike Google, the company did compete for the earlier JEDI contract.

“Oracle is delighted to be included in the Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability RFP,” the company told CNBC. “We are committed to delivering the highest level of security, performance, and value in enterprise cloud applications and cloud infrastructure in support of DOD’s Warfighter mission.”

Photo: gregwest98/Flickr

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