Tired of Microsoft and Amazon’s Bickering, Pentagon Cancels $13 Billion JEDI Contract

Tired of Microsoft and Amazon’s Bickering, Pentagon Cancels $13 Billion JEDI Contract
Photo: STAFF / AFP, Getty Images

JEDI is officially dead, folks. At least, for now, it’s dead.

The contract for the Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure project — an expansive, $US10 ($13) billion effort to help overhaul and modernise the Pentagon’s IT operations in the U.S. — has been cancelled, officials with the military agency told media outlets on Tuesday.

JEDI, which would’ve involved the migration of massive amounts of DoD data to a commercial cloud system, had been the subject of intense corporate competition, lawsuits, and delays for years.

“With the shifting technology environment, it has become clear that the JEDI Cloud contract, which has long been delayed, no longer meets the requirements to fill the DoD’s capability gaps,” said a DOD spokesperson, in a statement shared with the media.

The contract, which would have assured IT work with the Pentagon for over a decade, was first conceptualized back in 2017 and was initially the object of an intense bidding war between some of the world’s biggest tech companies — including Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle, and others. The field of contenders eventually narrowed to just Microsoft and Amazon, with the latter seeming (for a time) to be likely to win the contract.

However, in 2019 the DoD announced it had awarded JEDI to Microsoft — a result that Amazon did not take particularly well. The company published a diatribe against the decision, accusing the award of being politically motivated and unduly influenced by then President Donald Trump (who apparently hates Jeff Bezos). The company subsequently filed a lawsuit on the basis of that argument.

Now, it would appear, all of that drama was for naught.

It seems that all the fighting and lawsuits have led to the JEDI plan becoming outdated, a DOD spokesperson told reporters that “with the shifting technology environment,” the contract “no longer meets the requirements to fill the DoD’s capability gaps.” While JEDI may be dead, the Pentagon simultaneously announced a new cloud initiative on Tuesday — the Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability, or JWCC, described by Defence One as “a multi-cloud, multi-vendor indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract” that is specifically calling for bids from Microsoft and Amazon, as they are apparently the only companies with substantial enough resources to meet the Pentagon’s needs.