A senior federal claims court judge on Monday lifted the stay on the Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure acquisition process, bringing the department one step closer to awarding the $10 billion cloud computing contract.
The stay was put in place in February to allow Defense Department officials to investigate whether an Amazon Web Services employee who previously worked for the department “impacted the integrity” of the procurement process. While investigators found the individual, Deap Ubhi, had possibly committed multiple ethics violations, they determined those actions did not improperly impact the JEDI procurement.
“The department’s investigation has determined that there is no adverse impact on the integrity of the acquisition process,” Defense spokeswoman Elissa Smith told Nextgov on April 10. “However, the investigation also uncovered potential ethical violations, which have been further referred to DOD IG.”
The decision to lift the stay could deal a lethal blow to the ongoing bid protest filed by Oracle, which hinges partly on Ubhi’s alleged conflicts of interest and other allegations that have been previously shot down by the Government Accountability Office. In his order, Judge Eric Bruggink said Oracle must file a supplemental complaint by April 26, and the court would hold oral arguments on July 8.
Per Bruggink’s order, the Pentagon cannot award the contract before July 19.
The ruling clears the path for Defense Department officials to make their long-awaited decision on JEDI, which will charge a commercial company with building a cloud to analyze and process troves of classified and sensitive military data. Last week, the Defense Department narrowed the competition for JEDI to two companies: AWS and Microsoft. Bids from IBM and Oracle did not meet the Pentagon’s competitive range determination.