We're protesting over Pentagon's $10bn winner-take-all JEDI cloud deal — IBM

Angelica Greene
October 11, 2018

Amazon Web Services is now the only company to have achieved an IL-6 security authorization, besting other competitors including Microsoft, Oracle Corp. and International Business Machines Corp. Gartner has also projected that the public cloud market will grow by more than 21% to reach $186.4 billion in 2018, when the same figure a year ago was a little over $153 billion. Amazon is largely considered a front-runner because it has been the CIA's primary cloud-service provider for years. In the post, IBM said the Pentagon's single-vendor approach for the JEDI contract would further undermine the department's cybersecurity posture. While large institutions adopt multi-cloud strategies for reasons of security, Gordy said, "the Pentagon is moving in precisely the opposite direction".

Finally, the JEDI solicitation restricts the field of competition.

Bids are due Friday, and Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, IBM and Oracle are expected to compete for the contract. In his post, Gordy notes that the requirements "arbitrarily narrow the field of bidders". No business in the world would build a cloud the way JEDI would and then lock in to it for a decade. Having been unable to obtain assurance that JEDI would not be used in this way, the company made a decision to pull out. "America's war fighters deserve better". The aim is to power data-sharing between headquarters and forward-deployed personnel, artificial intelligence and machine learning applications, as well as advanced cybersecurity in order to see warfighters "dominate in the battlefield". Unfortunately, JEDI, as outlined in the final solicitation, would not provide the strongest possible foundation for the 21st century battlefield. That would seem to be very well timed for a JEDI bid. Department leaders routinely meet with industry partners to discuss innovative technologies.

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The contract could last up to ten years and the victor of the bid is expected to be announced at the end of the year. Google is not bidding on the JEDI contract since the company is not confident that the contract would align with its AI principles and there were several areas in the contract that were out of scope with present government certifications. "Finally, we are bringing an array of new hybrid and edge capabilities to government to ensure that government customers have full access to the technology of the intelligent edge and intelligent cloud era".

Meanwhile, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, met with the officials in Washington to try to restore the company's relationship with the military during employee petition. Badly done, DoD, badly done.

Other reports by GizPress

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