Pentagon Releases Second Draft RFP For Multibillion Dollar JEDI Cloud

The final JEDI draft request for proposal includes answers to more than 1,000 questions industry posed in the first draft RFP.

The Pentagon released its second draft request for proposal for its Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud, an acquisition that could be worth as much as $10 billion.

The draft RFP—the last before a final one is issued in May—includes answers to more than 1,000 questions posed by industry and government in March after the Defense Department released the first draft RFP for a cloud contract that could be valued at up to $10 billion.

The second RFP is one of the final steps in a procurement that began less than one year ago after Defense Secretary James Mattis visited the headquarters of several large tech firms, including Google and Amazon. 

The latest draft RFP confirms the contract will be a single award and “captures the totality of the JEDI Cloud requirement to date and previous iterations should not be referenced,” according to the posting on the government’s Federal Business Opportunities website.

The Defense Department tasked a Cloud Executive Steering Group with putting together an enterprisewide cloud procurement, and ultimately the internal team made the controversial decision to award the contract to a single cloud provider. For months, experts have considered Amazon Web Services the front-runner for the contract because of its existing contract with the CIA and ability to host secret and top-secret data. 

Congress has also weighed in, requesting the Defense Department to produce two reports in the coming months that outline both its cloud strategy and why it favors a single-award solution. In its revised draft RFP, the Defense Department describes why it wants to move to an enterprisewide cloud.

“The Department of Defense’s lack of a coordinated enterprise-level approach to cloud infrastructure makes it nearly impossible for our warfighters and leaders to make critical data-driven decisions at ‘mission-speed’, negatively affecting outcomes,” the Defense Department explains in its new statement of work. “In the absence of modern services, warfighters and leaders are forced to choose between foregoing capabilities or slogging through a lengthy acquisition, rollout, and provisioning process. A fragmented and largely on-premise computing and storage solution forces the warfighter into tedious data and application management processes, compromising their ability to rapidly access, manipulate, and analyze data at the home front and tactical edge.”

The Defense Department, however, declined to publish a written justification outlining its rationale in awarding the contract to one cloud provider. 

The revised RFP also suggests the JEDI cloud will be “complementary” to other existing cloud initiatives.

“It will not preclude the release of future contracting actions,” the RFP states.

The Pentagon explains that “offerors may propose any kind of teaming/partnering arrangement so long as the proposed solution meets the requirements of the solicitation,” suggesting it will accept bids from a variety of cloud service providers and potentially other IT contractors.

Further industry questions must be submitted by April 30.