The Department of Defense’s (DoD) Inspector General’s Office concluded in a report that the process to determine the winner of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract was ” consistent with applicable law and acquisition standards” The JEDI contract is a $10 billion government contract for cloud computing services. The Inspector General’s Office noted that while there were some potentially questionable potential conflicts, the contract process was fair and President Trump did not influence the decision.
Previously, Amazon filed a complaint after Microsoft was awarded the contract, arguing that Microsoft was underqualified, the DoD made mistakes in its evaluation and that President Trump influenced the decision. Amazon then won a preliminary injunction in the case. Judge Patricia E. Campbell-Smith noted that she believes Amazon was likely to succeed. In March the DoD filed a motion for voluntary remand, after which, Amazon opposed the DoD’s motion.
In addition to concerns about undue influence from the Trump administration, questions were also raised due to the number of former or future Amazon employee s involved in the process if they had “undue influence on the contents of the RFP or if former Secretary of Defense showed favor to Amazon, which ultimately did not even win the contract, and that one of Mattis’ under secretaries, in fact owned stock in Microsoft,” who was awarded the JEDI contract.
The investigation examined the process, not the award itself. The report stated, “In this report, we do not draw a conclusion regarding whether the DoD appropriately awarded the JEDI Cloud contract to Microsoft rather than Amazon Web Services. We did not assess the merits of the contractors’ proposals or DoD’s technical or price evaluations; rather we reviewed the source selection process and determined that it was in compliance with applicable statutes, policies, and the evaluation process described in the Request for Proposals.” Ultimately, the Inspector General determined that those who awarded the contract were not influenced or pressured by the Trump Administration or DoD officials. The report does not address if the DoD made the right choice by awarding Microsoft the contract.
While investigators indicated that the White House did not cooperate with the investigation, enough information was gathered to continue the probe. The investigation concluded that there was no undue influence from the White House. Instead, it blames the media for proposing the possible influence. “Yet, these media reports, and the reports of President Trump’s statements about Amazon, ongoing bid protests and “lobbying” by JEDI Cloud competitors, as well as inaccurate media reports about the JEDI Cloud procurement process, may have created the appearance or perception that the contract award process was not fair or unbiased.”
While the Inspector General concluded that the process was conducted fairly overall, Amazon’s suit is ongoing and the project is on hold until the suit concludes.