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Google picks principles over $10bn Pentagon deal

11 October 2018

The Pentagon is now looking for bids of their Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud (JEDI).

IBM is contesting the single-vendor requirement and argues that some requests favor a single vendor.

Project Maven, also known as the Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Function Team, was developed with an aim to integrate computer-vision algorithms to help military and civilian analysts with full-motion video data to help with counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations. And also the fact that they had doubts they would be able to get the necessary certifications. In his post, Gordy notes that the requirements "arbitrarily narrow the field of bidders".

"Throughout the year-long JEDI saga, countless concerns have been raised that this solicitation is aimed at a specific vendor".

With businesses looking to digitally transform and monetize their data, Opal said he's seeing an uptick in SWC commercial clients using the Microsoft government cloud to deliver services.

This is the second huge defense contract from which Google has withdrawn. Oracle filed a complaint a few months ago to challenge that, telling the government that dividing a massive contract between several companies "promotes constant competition, fosters innovation and lowers prices".

It is no secret that DOD has steadfastly refused to budge from its strategy of awarding the contract to a single cloud service provider. This suggests that Microsoft, as expected, is planning to bid on the JEDI contract.

The Defense Department has made the case that using more than one provider would add needless complexity.

"No business in the world would build a cloud the way JEDI would and then lock in to it for a decade. Starting with a number of firms while at the same time trying to build out an enterprise capability just simply did not make sense", Deasy said. For a $10 billion contract, Google could acquire the right company to bolster in-house capabilities, but the main point of ignoring this tender is focused on the alignment of values, morals and principles.

The announcement comes on the same week as the request for proposal response deadline for the Department of Defense's potentially $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud contract.

The JEDI contract attracted widespread interest from technology companies struggling to catch up with Amazon in the burgeoning federal government market for cloud services. Amazon is seen as the likely frontrunner for the award, in part because of its work supporting classified activities for the CIA and the intelligence community.

Google picks principles over $10bn Pentagon deal