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Author: Subject: DOD Announces Enterprise General Purpose Cloud Contract Award
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[*] posted on 29-10-2019 at 11:53 AM
DOD Announces Enterprise General Purpose Cloud Contract Award


(Source: US Department of Defense; issued Oct. 25, 2019)

Over the last two years the Department of Defense has awarded more than $11 billion across 10 separate cloud contracts. As we continue to execute the DOD Cloud Strategy, additional contracts are planned for both cloud services and complementary migration and integration solutions necessary to achieve effective cloud adoption.

Today the Department of Defense has taken another step forward in the implementation of our Cloud Strategy with the award of an enterprise general-purpose cloud contract to Microsoft. This continues our strategy of a multi-vendor, multi-cloud environment as the department’s needs are diverse and cannot be met by any single supplier. This contract will address critical and urgent unmet warfighter requirements for modern cloud infrastructure at all three classification levels delivered out to the tactical edge.

This award is the conclusion of a process that began with the release of the first RFI to industry nearly two years ago. Throughout that time, the department’s focus never wavered from the need to support our warfighters with this essential capability.

The acquisition process was conducted in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. The process cleared review by the GAO and Court of Federal Claims. At the outset the competition included four different offerors. All offerors were treated fairly and evaluated consistently with the solicitation’s stated evaluation criteria. Prior to the award, the department conferred with the DOD Inspector General, which informed the decision to proceed.

The base contract period is two years with a $1 million guarantee. The department projects that user adoption will drive an estimated $210 million of spending during the two-year base period. The DOD will rigorously review contract performance prior to the exercise of any options.

The Department continues to assess and pursue various cloud contracting opportunities to diversify the capabilities of the DoD Enterprise Cloud Environment. Additional contracting opportunities are anticipated.

“The National Defense Strategy dictates that we must improve the speed and effectiveness with which we develop and deploy modernized technical capabilities to our women and men in uniform,” DOD Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy said. “The DOD Digital Modernization Strategy was created to support this imperative. This award is an important step in execution of the Digital Modernization Strategy.”

DOD will continue to partner closely with industry to bring the best of commercial innovation to bear on behalf of our nation’s warfighters.

(ends)

Pentagon Contract Announcement

(Source: US Department of Defense; issued Oct. 25, 2019)

Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, Washington, has been awarded a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with a ceiling value of $10,000,000,000 over a period of 10 years, if all options are exercised.

The JEDI Cloud contract will provide enterprise level, commercial Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) to support Department of Defense business and mission operations.

Work performance will take place at the awardee's place of performance.

Fiscal 2020 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $1,000,000 are being obligated on a task order against this award to cover the minimum guarantee.

The expected completion date is Oct. 24, 2029, if all options are exercised.

Washington Headquarters Services, Alexandria, Virginia, is the contracting activity (HQ0034-20-D-0001). Task Order HQ0034-20-F-0009 was awarded for the minimum guarantee of $1,000,000. Task Order HQ0034-20-F-0010 was awarded for $0.00 for Cloud Computing Program Office (CCPO) Program Management (PM) Support.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 29-10-2019 at 08:23 PM


Amazon Vs. Trump: How A JEDI Protest & Impeachment Intertwine

If Amazon protests the Pentagon’s award of the $10 billion JEDI contract to rival Microsoft — and they almost certainly will — the president’s public feud with CEO Jeff Bezos will be central to their case.


By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.

on October 28, 2019 at 11:53 AM


Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in the control center of his space launch company, Blue Origin, before the first test launch of its New Shepherd rocket.

UPDATED with Berteau analysis WASHINGTON: The JEDI saga is far from over. Microsoft may have won the long-delayed cloud-computing award announced on Friday, but losing bidder Amazon is all but certain to protest – and the ongoing impeachment process against President Trump will be a crucial factor in their case.

“There’s not much precedent for the President placing a thumb on the scale on a procurement of this magnitude,” said Steven Schooner, a GWU Law professor and outspoken critic of how JEDI has been managed. The closest thing he can think of, he told me in an interview, is Obama’s public hints he preferred the domestic contender for the Air Force’s refueling tanker, Boeing, over EADS-Airbus.

“But this is by no means a slam dunk,” Schooner warned. “The challenge for Amazon will be proving – with more than hearsay — that the pressure was applied and proving that the pressure worked — i.e. that the President’s bluster and blather wasn’t ignored.”

“I can’t recall any similar involvement by the President in a major DoD contract in recent memory,” agreed CSIS expert Andrew Hunter, a former Pentagon and congressional staffer. “The one potential exception is contracts for systems like Air Force One and Marine One aircraft which are so closely tied to the Presidency — not the case with JEDI — and even on those systems, Presidents have steered clear of commenting on an ongoing contract competition.”

Running Out Trump’s Clock?

Now, Hunter doubted the ongoing JEDI wrangle would turn up evidence of “high crimes and misdemeanors” that could influence the ongoing investigation in the House or a potential Senate trial: “The matter of the JEDI contract seems far afield of where the impeachment inquiry is currently focused.”

But the impeachment process will definitely influence JEDI.

Inside a courtroom, allegations that President Trump tried to strongarm the government of Ukraine into investigating a political rival give added ammunition to any argument by Amazon that he improperly meddled in the JEDI award as well.

Outside a courtroom, the possibility of Trump’s impeachment, resignation, or defeat in next November’s election means Amazon can try a strategy of running out the clock on his administration. Amazon doesn’t necessarily have to convince the Government Accountability Organization, the Federal Court of Claims, or anyone else to overturn the award to Microsoft. They could just keep the question unsettled long enough for the next administration to give them another shot.

Or the Pentagon, which is desperate for the long-delayed cloud-computing capability JEDI would provide, could lose patience and offer Amazon a share of the work in exchange for dropping its case. There’s plenty of precedent for such a deal, Schooner said, and “that doesn’t seem like a crazy – or necessarily a bad – outcome here, where one of the most common critiques of the government’s acquisition strategy focused on DoD’s preference for a winner-take-all, single contractor award.”

So “this may be one of those cases where it’s worth litigating to [stall] the procurement for a few months or longer,” Schooner told me. “If Amazon perceives that there is any chance that, in the foreseeable future, the President may be impeached or choose to resign, they would want DoD to be in a position to re-evaluate proposals or even amend the solicitation.”

An Amazon protest to the Government Accountability Organization – and such protests have become common for losing bidders on major government contracts – would probably result in a three-month hold while GAO reviewed the matter.

UPDATE BEGINS Technically, the Defense Department could declare the JEDI contract so important that work had to proceed even as the GAO reviewed the award, said David Berteau, president of the Professional Services Council. But “that’s rare.

It’s much more rare now than it was in decades past,” he said. “I would not expect that” on the already controversial and closely watched JEDI contract.

The normal process Berteau would expect to be followed here, he explained to reporters this afternoon, allows the losing bidders — in this case, Amazon — to request a debriefing from the government on exactly why they lost. That debrief could happen as early as tomorrow, he said, given that both Amazon and the Pentagon are probably primed and ready after all the delays. After the debrief, Amazon would have 10 days to file a protest, after which it would get 10 days to do initial discovery — a process which often digs up additional problems the company can raise in an amended protest, he said.

So, Berteau said, keep an eye not only on whether Amazon files a protest this week or next, but whether it files an amended protest within the 10 days after that. While some protests to GAO are pro forma and easily overturned, he said, “the government’s success rate when an amended protest is filed is very low.” UPDATE ENDS

If GAO overrules Amazon’s protest over the award to Microsoft, as it did Oracle’s protest over being disqualified from the competition, Amazon could follow Oracle’s example and file suit in the Court of Federal Claims. (The irony here is that Oracle’s claim was that the JEDI procurement was unfairly slanted in favor of Amazon). It took the court seven months to decide Oracle’s case. If the whole GAO plus CFC process takes the same amount of time for Amazon, 10 months, that keeps the contract up in the air until August 2020.

But with clever legal tactics and some legal luck, Amazon might keep the case alive even longer, right through the presidential election. A GAO protest could drag on for “approximately four to six months,” Hunter told me.


The Pentagon’s plan to consolidate many — but not all — of its 500-plus cloud contracts into a single Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI). Note the suggestion that the single “pathfinder” contract for JEDI might evolve into multiple JEDI contracts.

On What Grounds?

Now, the GAO and the court would address the case in very different ways. While a congressional agency exempt from presidential oversight, GAO still prefers to limit its inquiry to narrow technical matters as much as possible, focusing on whether the agency awarding the contract followed its own rules. The Federal Court of Claims has much more leeway to look at wider matters.

UPDATE GAO is unlikely to look at President Trump’s public statements at all, argued Berteau, whose decades of experience in the Pentagon and defense industry has put him on both sides of GAO protests in the past.

“We don’t actually know what the president’s involvement in the decision was,” Berteau told reporters this afternoon. “We know the president’s comments that have been made publicly, [but] GAO ignores that….I don’t see that it plays a role at all.”

That is, Berteau emphasized, the president’s vituperations are irrelevant to a GAO review — but “it might be a different case in a lawsuit,” he went on. “It depends on the basis of the suit, the allegations, and the remedies sought.” UPDATE ENDS

“There is nothing that would stop Amazon from protesting at GAO first on issues that GAO traditionally examines, and then making a broader claim to the Court of Federal Claims second,” Hunter told me.

“A GAO protest would examine whether DoD had sufficient justification for its evaluation of the bidders. I’m not sure the outcome of that examination would appreciably change even if unusual Presidential involvement beyond what is already publicly known were discovered,” Hunter explained. “The Court of Federal Claims has a broader mandate, and so could potentially look at whether presidential ‘command influence’ irreparably skewed the competition.”

Now, the court could still find evidence of improper behavior and still uphold the award because those improprieties were not decisive, as it did in Oracle’s case. “Many found Oracle’s allegations of conflicts favoring Amazon to be persuasive, and I wasn’t alone in being surprised when Court of Federal Claims Judge Bruggink chronicled the conflicts, acknowledged they were troubling, but nonetheless concluded that they didn’t unfairly tilt the playing field,” Schooner said. “So just keep in mind that recent, relevant experience demonstrates that winning a conflicts or improper influence case isn’t always as easy as it appears.”

That said, the officials accused of favoring Amazon didn’t tweet about it, the way President Trump has done repeatedly about his “frequently demonstrated animus toward Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos,” Schooner said.

What’s more, “recent media reports reference an excerpt from the forthcoming Mattis book … which President Trump may have directly attempted to harm Amazon’s competitive standing,” Schooner noted. “A judge could easily conclude that government officials were unable to exercise independent judgment in selecting Microsoft if Amazon can demonstrate, as a matter of fact, that President clearly directed DoD officials to ensure that Amazon not be fairly considered or awarded the contract.”

“In light of the public media record, Amazon also may well choose to argue that the President’s actions and the outcome suggest that DOD ‘de facto debarred’ Amazon from lucrative work during this administration,” Schooner suggested. “That might be a stretch — because there doesn’t appear to be any underlying concern about Amazon’s business integrity — but, given the stakes, some creative lawyering might try to push the envelope.”

Given the legal ammunition available and the financial stakes – up to $10 billion and a 10-year lock on a crucial piece of the Pentagon’s computing infrastructure — “it’s hard to see what Amazon has to lose by testing the waters,” Schooner told me.
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[*] posted on 31-10-2019 at 05:02 PM


So what problems does JEDI solve, really?

By: Andrew Eversden   10 hours ago


The DoD wants the JEDI cloud to consolidate data for use by the warfighter at the tactical edge.

In the months leading up to the Department of Defense awarding Microsoft a multibillion-dollar cloud computing contract, the Pentagon’s senior leaders described pent up demand for a new enterprise cloud.

But how exactly will DoD leaders use the new technology, known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure program, and what will soldiers be able to do next year that they can’t do today?

Until the last few months, top DoD IT officials have struggled to convey a concise and specific answer to that question. Instead, when asked point blank what specific new capabilities the JEDI cloud would offer, Federal Times was told by a defense official that it would shift the focus “from cloud acquisition to cloud maturity in DoD’s business processes,” and address “critical and urgent unmet war fighter requirements for modern cloud infrastructure at all three classification levels delivered out to the tactical edge.”

But DoD CIO Dana Deasy offered some explanation during his confirmation hearing Oct. 29, saying the need for JEDI was accentuated by a recent trip he took to Afghanistan. He watched soldiers use three separate systems to find the information they needed to identify the adversary, another to decide what actions to take and a third system to find where friendly assets were on the ground.

Deasy said that JEDI will appease that problem by integrating unclassified data, classified data and top secret data into a single cloud and pushing it out to the tactical edge. In August, Deasy said the current inability to give the war fighter consolidated data is what JEDI is “trying to solve for.”

To further fill in the blanks, Federal Times spent recent weeks asking IT experts and industry leaders how they expected JEDI would improve capabilities for the DoD. Some described three categories of changes: allowing the war fighter access to information more quickly, consolidating data and developing artificial intelligence capabilities.

Daniel Goure, senior vice president at the Lexington Institute, said the war fighter “will have access to combat quality information coming from multiple agencies, multiple organizations, military and non-military, on which to make decisions.”

Contrast that to how the Pentagon manages data now – relying on more than 500 clouds. That structure prevents the Pentagon from being able to use the tools developed across data sets, said Jon Check, senior director of cyber protection solutions at Raytheon. Data can’t paint a full picture of the battlefield. It’s a gap that JEDI could fill, in theory, with defense leaders pointing to plans to move 80 percent of systems over to the JEDI cloud.

“You have siloed data from different sensor-type systems whether it's drones, satellites, whatever it might be, that's providing you situational awareness,” Check said. “If that data is not consolidated, the AI you're running ... won't have the full view. It has whatever sensor it might be, [like] drone data only, and it doesn't tell you ‘ok, well the satellite data is telling us something else.’”

But what will an enterprise cloud do, really?

In the months leading up to the award, Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan, director of the Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC), expressed frustration with the delays, calling enterprise cloud “existential” to DoD’s AI capabilities in a media roundtable Aug. 9.

Without the enterprise cloud, AI will remain siloed at a small-scale with “little to no means to make AI available or useful to war fighter,” he said. “There is no question whatsoever that both Maven [a DoD AI project] and the JAIC would be much further along right now with AI fielding, had we had an enterprise cloud solution in place as originally scheduled.”

He described a state of things where JAIC and defense services are forced to find some means to gain access to data for training algorithms, to update fielded models site by site, to derive ad-hoc solutions to bring real-world data back – all to enable dynamic retraining of fielded models and “cobbling together one-off, bespoke cloud solutions to meet mission requirements.”

But not everyone views JEDI as the silver bullet. David Mihelcic, former chief technology officer of the Defense Information Systems Agency, acknowledges the challenge laid out by Shanahan, but questions whether the vision for big data analytics and artificial intelligence can achieved by a cloud contract.

“The data still exists in pockets and cylinders owned by different organizations and different classification levels, with different access control requirements and release-ability requirements,” Mihelcic said. “Just awarding a cloud contract isn't necessarily going to address any of those things.”

Other industry officials echoed Mihelcic’s message – also noting that the very structure of JEDI contributes to the problem. John Kuenzli, former commander of Army Materiel Command’s Logistics Support Activity, said the service has a disparate data problem unsuitable for a single cloud vendor.

“The Army still struggles with understanding how many networks and other actors are on our [unclassified network] today,” said Kuenzli, who now works in federal and Army account solutions for IBM, which bid on the JEDI contract. “That means there’s more data out there and there’s more IT systems out there. You don’t know how long it would take to get into a single cloud.”

IBM Federal General Manager Sam Gordy agreed, pointing to the potential of a hybrid cloud approach “to reach down into all that legacy data where it resides, as opposed to having to pull it all in to one centralized data repository.”

Should the current structure remain intact, DoD will need to undertake a discovery project to identify where department data resides, what the access control requirements are, and how to make that data shareable. That’s no easy task, Mihelcic said, considering the data and access permissions are owned locally.
Still, there is potential that Amazon could protest the award – a move that would force the department backwards.

“If JEDI was to get further delayed, guess what happens? Now you’re back to the model where people need to go build their own cloud solutions,” Deasy said in June. “That does not serve the department’s interests well. It does not serve the war fighter well. I think that’s an important message that once again has somehow gotten lost in this entire narrative here.”
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[*] posted on 15-11-2019 at 12:16 PM


Amazon files paperwork for protest of Pentagon’s JEDI cloud award

By: Andrew Eversden   4 hours ago


Amazon Web Services plans to protest the JEDI cloud. (Photo by Marine Corps)

Amazon Web Services has filed paperwork to protest the Pentagon’s decision to award its Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud contract to Microsoft, AWS CEO Andy Jassy said at a company meeting Nov. 14.

A source inside the company said the paperwork was filed last Friday. An Amazon spokesperson confirmed Federal Times’ reporting, adding that it was filed with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

In a video obtained by Federal Times, Jassy said at an all-hands meeting with Amazon Worldwide that the company was going to “push the government to shine a light on what really happened.”
Jassy also cited the political pressures that came from the White House as interfering in the contract proceedings.

“I think when you have a sitting president who’s willing to publicly show his disdain for a company and the leader of a company, it’s very difficult for government agencies including the DoD to make an objective decision without fear of reprisal,” Jassy said.

The JEDI cloud is potentially worth $10 billion over 10 years. Microsoft beat out Amazon in what was largely seen as an upset.

“AWS is uniquely experienced and qualified to provide the critical technology the U.S. military needs, and remains committed to supporting the DoD’s modernization efforts,” an AWS spokesperson said in a statement. "We also believe it’s critical for our country that the government and its elected leaders administer procurements objectively and in a manner that is free from political influence. Numerous aspects of the JEDI evaluation process contained clear deficiencies, errors, and unmistakable bias — and it’s important that these matters be examined and rectified.”

In the meeting, Jassy also claimed that in a comparison of Microsoft and AWS’s cloud platform, AWS was the frontrunner.

“We feel pretty strongly that it wasn’t adjudicated fairly,” Jassy said. “I think that if you do any thorough, apples-to-apples, objective comparison of AWS versus Microsoft you don’t come out deciding that they’re comparable platforms. Most of our customers will tell us that we’re about 24 months ahead of Microsoft in functionality and maturity.”

Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The contract has been controversial since the outset. The contract award was delayed for months due to a protest and court case filed by Oracle, which levied several conflict of interest allegations against Amazon. Oracle’s case is currently in the U.S Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, after losing in a lower court.

Throughout the acquisition process, the Pentagon has struggled to clearly explain the basic details of JEDI cloud. Industry has also questioned the single award contract structure and what capabilities the JEDI cloud would give the war fighter that it doesn’t have today.

The Pentagon has said that it plans to move 80 percent of its systems over to the JEDI cloud.

Jill Aitoro contributed to reporting.
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[*] posted on 11-12-2019 at 01:01 PM


Full speed ahead: First phase of JEDI rollout expected in February

By: Jill Aitoro   2 hours ago


Dana Deasy, Department of Defense chief information officer, hosts a roundtable discussion on the enterprise cloud initiative with reporters, Aug. 9, 2019. (Air Force Staff Sgt. Andrew Carroll)

SIMI VALLEY, California — One day before Amazon chief Jeff Bezos gave a keynote at the Reagan National Defense Forum, never uttering the word “JEDI,” the Pentagon’s chief information officer spoke with great confidence that Amazon’s protest of the Department of Defense’s enterprise cloud contract award will go nowhere.

In the meantime, CIO Dana Deasy confirmed that DoD is moving full speed ahead with Microsoft on the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure program — or JEDI — during an exclusive interview with Defense News. He also said that the first phase of the rollout — the unclassified cloud environment — is expected to become available in February 2020.

“We’ve been through this very long, drawn-out process now.

We’ve gone from GAO to Federal Claims Court, to the [inspector general]. In each and all cases, we’ve come out in a very positive position, as we always felt strongly we would,” Deasy said. “What was somewhat frustrating is we brought together some world-class people to create this vision of a large-scale cloud that you could provision, that you could use to develop [software] differently, that you could put out in the tactical edge and that could support AI. Those same people were constantly being pulled in to have to address all the issues around the protest.”

Indeed, the contract award was delayed for months due to a protest and court case filed by Oracle, which levied several conflict of interest allegations against competitor Amazon.

Oracle’s case is currently in the U.S Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, after losing in a lower court. In November, Federal Times broke the story about Amazon’s plans to protest the JEDI award to Microsoft through the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, obtaining a video of Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy in an all-hands meeting with Amazon Worldwide stating that the company was going to “push the government to shine a light on what really happened.”

A redacted version of the AWS complaint, however, alleges that the DoD source selection team made several “egregious” and “unfounded” decisions during the cloud award, ultimately not complying with the contents of its own RFP. The complaint also tied the decision to several disparaging statements made by the president about Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post.

“These shifts in the DoD evaluators’ assessments of AWS’s proposal, including the significance of AWS’s security advantages, occurred as President Trump increased the intensity of his public attacks against Mr. Bezos, Amazon/AWS, and the Washington Post,” the complaint reads.

Bezos spoke in a fireside chat at the Reagan National Defense Forum Dec. 7, but did not address the controversial cloud contract.

Unlike protests filed in the Government Accountability Office, protests filed in the federal court do not bring an automatic stay in performance. But regardless of regulatory standards, moving forward with Microsoft does introduce a risk that a stay later in the process could be more disruptive.

Nonetheless, Deasy said he never considered a delay in performance.

“Never. From the beginning, the way we constructed the teams and organized how to write the RFP to where we are today, there was such deep consideration and due diligence — making sure we followed all the regulations,” he said. “I’ve told the team, ‘Let’s just not sit and wait. Let’s start to get the environment ready so when we come out of the protest, we haven’t lost any momentum.’”

Messaging problems

That’s not to say there have been no lessons learned for the Pentagon. Early on JEDI became branded as a 10-year, $10 billion opportunity. The Pentagon did not do enough to stomp out that depiction, Deasy said.

“I’ve seen this over my 38 years of being involved in technology: if you don’t convey your message right, the media can start to take a message that you intend to be ‘X,’ and the next thing you know you’re sitting way over here in 'Y' territory,” he said. “This was a two-year initial contract, of which the only money we put out initially is $1 million. The rest is all dependent on how fast Department of Defense starts to consume the capability.”

Deasy points to what he calls “breakpoints” in the contract to be able to reevaluate, and he says that DoD is, and will remain, a multi-cloud environment. There needs to be more than one cloud provider to satisfy the needs of the unclassified environment in particular, he said, because “it's too big, it's too broad, for any one vendor to handle.”

But the many disparate, individual clouds that currently exist — what Deasy described as “this mess” — was also not a winning hand. Step one was making sense of what was already in place.
“Guess what? We don't know how to do enterprise cloud at that scale, so we need to find a partner,” he said. “We need to start with somebody."

The DoD is now getting ready to stand up the unclassified environment, which Deasy expects will be ready by mid-February. The secret environment will be ready about six months thereafter. The timeline for the top-secret environment is a little less clear, depending not only on how the protest plays out, but also how quickly and smoothly the initial two environments roll out.

“It’s not only the fact that there’s an unclassified, a secret, and a top-secret environment,” Deasy said. “This is CONUS; this is OCONUS; and this is out to the tactical edge. So, this is like a 3x3 dimension that we have to solve for. This will be the first time the Department of Defense will truly have that capability. That is what is unique.”
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[*] posted on 13-12-2019 at 03:52 PM


Here are some early adopters of the controversial JEDI cloud

Andrew Eversden

10 hours ago

The Pentagon has 14 components moving to the JEDI cloud come February.

There will be 14 early adopters of the Pentagon’s controversial new enterprisewide general-purpose cloud, Defense Department CIO Dana Deasy said Dec. 12.

Deasy, speaking at the AFCEA NOVA Air Force IT Day, said parties eyeing a move to the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud are U.S. Transportation Command, Special Operations Command, Joint Special Operations Command and the Navy.

“What’s really unique is the variety of the 14 early adopters allows us to test various principles on JEDI from the tactical edge all the way to the top secret — needing to use the cross-domain,” Deasy said. “So we’re going to learn fairly quickly what it takes to actually now go from the strategic vision to the ability to stand it up and to bring it to life.”

Federal Times asked the Department of Defense to provide the other 10 components among the first movers. A DoD spokesperson didn’t immediately respond.

Deasy reiterated what he told Defense News earlier in the week: that the unclassified JEDI environment will be ready in February, with the “secret” environment ready six months after that. There is also no specific timeline for the top-secret environment.

He said that there are meetings every two weeks where the JEDI team discusses the “60 to 70 services” that must be ready to go when the unclassified environment kicks off.

DoD awarded the JEDI contract to Microsoft over Amazon Web Services, which recently filed a protest in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims that relied heavily on interference allegations against President Donald Trump. The contract is potentially worth $10 billion over 10 years.

Throughout the entirety of the JEDI procurement, DoD has struggled to dispel the notion that the Pentagon’s only cloud would be JEDI, when in reality the JEDI cloud is just one in a multicloud environment. Deasy took aim at that characterization in his address, highlighting that there are “something like” 10 more cloud contracts out for bids next year.

“The whole reason we started JEDI was we were not short on clouds,” Deasy said. “What we were short of was an enterprise capability ... all the way out to the tactical edge. ... There will always be a need for special-purpose clouds."

Once the JEDI cloud is set up, Deasy said, the next step is to look across the department at the various siloed cloud and ask “do they serve a unique purpose that is truly distinctly different than JEDI? Or is there overlap?” The Pentagon has signaled that it will move 80 percent of its systems to the JEDI cloud.

Consolidation is an option for overlapping clouds, but Deasy said the DoD won’t know what to do specifically with the overlaps until the JEDI cloud is stood up.

The JEDI cloud environment will allow the DoD to significantly reduce the number of clouds it has, which the Congressional Research Services has estimated sits at more than 500. With the JEDI cloud, Deasy’s ready to reduce that number by hundreds.
At the end of the day, “we sure in the heck don’t need 100 clouds, we probably don’t need 50 clouds, but we definitely need more than one or two clouds,” Deasy said.
Mark Pomerleau contributed to this report.
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[*] posted on 24-12-2019 at 03:38 PM


There’s a new role for this Air Force cybersecurity outfit

Mark Pomerleau

10 hours ago

The Air Force Cyber Resiliency Office for Weapons Systems (CROWS), established by a provision in a 2016 law charging the Department of Defense to identify and mitigate cybersecurity vulnerabilities of weapon systems, initially focused on legacy systems. However, its director says now it’s also taking aim at new ones.

“We’re actually embedding cyber professionals within the program executive offices … [because] we want to explain to them what cyber is; we wanted them to spread that ‘cyber’ word in new acquisitions,” Joe Bradley, the director of CROWS, told Fifth Domain in a December interview.

As part of that effort, CROWS worked to distill the systems engineering handbook to eight or nine actionable pages to make it easier for officials and contractors to find quick solutions.

“They can go in there and they find language in the statements of work or for the request for proposals or the specs,” Bradley said, adding that this is really important to the industrial base because when the government makes changes from one program to another, they are scrambling to find out why that change was made.

“If we can use standardized language, then we can communicate to our industry partners, ‘hey, this is the same type of resiliency, the same posture we’re looking for as we did in the last acquisition,’” Bradley said.

This was done in conjunction with the commanders of the Life Cycle Management Center, Rapid Capabilities Office, Nuclear Weapons Center and the Space and Missile Center.

Bradley said he wants Will Roper, the service’s chief acquisition executive, to sign the language out, making it official.

“Down the road, I believe that if we do this right, by putting the emphasis on cyber right now today, it’s going to become in the mindset of every engineer — it’s in their toolkit; it just becomes another system engineering requirement,” Bradley added.

This is the reason, Bradley said, they’ve embedded officials within the PEOs to help engineers and commanders better understand the cyber portions of the programs. Though there are only three officials per PEO, Bradley said he hopes eventually there are cyber experts for each program within the PEO’s purview.

The biggest challenge, however, Bradley said, involves baking in cyber versus bolting it on later — a situation that will come down mostly to changing the culture.
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[*] posted on 15-1-2020 at 04:20 PM


Amazon will seek to halt work on DoD’s JEDI cloud

Andrew Eversden

12 hours ago


Amazon will seek a preliminary injunction to prevent the DoD from starting work on the JEDI cloud. (Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images)

Amazon Web Services will ask a federal court to block the Pentagon and Microsoft from beginning work on the Department of Defense’s controversial enterprise cloud, according to a Jan. 13 court filing.

The joint status report — filed by the DoD, Microsoft and AWS in the Court of Federal Claims — lays out a timeline for the next few weeks of Amazon’s court challenge of the DoD’s award of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud to Microsoft.

According to the document, AWS plans to file a motion for preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order “to prevent the issuance of substantive task orders under the contract” on Jan. 24. The Defense Department has indicated that task orders for the unclassified portion of the cloud will go out Feb. 11.

A preliminary injunction would serve as yet another significant setback for the DoD, whose IT leadership over the last year have continuously indicated that any delay would negative impact the war fighter and lead DoD components to adopt their own solutions.

Deasy has said that there are 14 early adopters of the JEDI cloud, including the Navy, U.S. Transportation Command, Special Operations Command and Joint Special Operations Command.

AWS alleged in a December complaint that the contract award to Microsoft was influenced by President Donald Trump, who has continuously expressed animosity for Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post. In the complaint, Amazon Web Services lawyers wrote that “basic justice requires reevaluation of proposals and a new award decision."

As part of the court case, Amazon Web Services filed a CD-ROM containing videos of Trump bashing Amazon in a 2016 campaign rally and saying "we’re going to take a look at it [the contract]” in the Oval Office last summer.

At his confirmation hearing in October, DoD CIO Dana Deasy said no one on the source selection team was influenced by the White House. He didn’t deny that senior leadership at the DoD felt any external pressure.

The JEDI cloud, potentially worth $10 billion over 10 years, has been significantly delayed due to several protests by other bidders both inside and outside of federal court.
Microsoft and the Department of Defense will file partial motions to dismiss the same day as AWS’ preliminary injunction motion, according to the complaint.
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[*] posted on 24-1-2020 at 08:10 PM


The Pentagon CIO office’s plan for better software

Andrew Eversden

14 hours ago


The Department of Defense wants to use cloud as its platform to deliver software updates faster. (Rick_Jo)

With just weeks until the Department of Defense plans to begin building its controversial enterprise cloud, one top DoD IT official laid out how the cloud will serve as a platform for another modernization effort: software.

“I really think that this cloud portion of the modernization strategy ought to be focused on software modernization, or, more specifically, software agility,” said Peter Ranks, the DoD’s deputy chief information officer for information enterprise, speaking Jan. 23 at MeriTalk’s Smart 2020 event.

In a scenario in which the United States is fighting a near-peer competitor, the Pentagon needs the ability to send capabilities out to the war fighter and subsequently send updates without interrupting operations.

“Nothing in the Department of Defense, in any of our processes, prepares us to be able to move with that type of agility in software,” Ranks said. “The whole concept that you’re going to field something before it’s complete and fix the bugs in production" is foreign to the DoD.

In his speech, Ranks detailed several efforts underway at the DoD to increase update speed. To start, Ranks said, the DoD CIO’s office is changing policy to allow for more iterative processes in acquisition, a departure from the current process where requirements are laid out years before technology is delivered. To complete that goal, Ranks said the DoD needs the enterprise capability to provide the tools necessary to create a more iterative process.

Ranks said he is also working to create a continuous authorization to operate, similar to the one used through the Air Force’s Kessel Run program, which would allow the DoD to send out software patches in real time without having to go the laborious process to get the update approved, allowing the DoD to move faster.

Changes could also be coming to acquisition language in 2020, Ranks said. He said there’s been “good progress” on working to reduce large milestone-based deliverables in favor of a policy that “encourages a bias in the delivery of software toward delivery of small amounts of capability.”

The Pentagon plans to work with industry to revise the policy to make it more effective.

“The question we have is how do we develop the right guidelines so industry knows how to do this stuff,” Ranks said.

However, there are two open questions DoD IT officials are still struggling to answer, Ranks said. He pointed to software updates during operations, like how to update an F-22 in flight without creating safety issues. Another challenge Ranks’ office is grappling with is how to establish cloud connectivity in disconnected areas around the globe.

“The realities of military operations challenge some of these activities,” Ranks said.

The cloud piece

The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud is a key platform for pushing the sort of updates Ranks discussed. Through JEDI the DoD will have a single platform accessible to DoD components crossing all levels of classification.

“The thing that I want out of cloud, the thing that I want out of software is speed,” said Ranks. “I want better software in the hands of the war fighter faster. I want better software coming out of the pipeline without sacrificing cybersecurity or resilience. Cloud is absolutely a piece of that. It’s a big part of the foundation of being able to do that work.”

But the DoD just needs to get the JEDI cloud stood up after protests and controversy delayed the award for months. Even now, the JEDI cloud faces another potential delay. In a sealed document filed Jan. 22, Amazon asked a federal judge for an injunction preventing the DoD and Microsoft from beginning work on the unclassified section of the JEDI cloud, set to begin Feb. 11.

“It is common practice to stay contract performance while a protest is pending and it’s important that the numerous evaluation errors and blatant political interference that impacted the JEDI award decision be reviewed,” an AWS spokesperson said in a statement. “AWS is absolutely committed to supporting the DoD’s modernization efforts and to an expeditious legal process that resolves this matter as quickly as possible.”
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[*] posted on 14-2-2020 at 03:08 PM


Pentagon and Microsoft must halt work on JEDI cloud ... for now

Andrew Eversden

9 hours ago


A federal judge temporarily halted work on the JEDI cloud. (BrianAJackson)

A federal judge ruled the Pentagon and Microsoft must temporarily suspend work on the Department of Defense’s controversial Joint Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure contract while a court hears Amazon’s challenge to the award decision.

Pentagon officials planned to start work on the contract Feb. 14.
The Feb. 13 injunction, which is under seal in the Court of Federal Claims, comes just days after Amazon moved to depose President Donald Trump, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and several other DoD officials involved in the acquisition of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud contract, a deal that could be worth as much as $10 billion over 10 years.

In a response to Amazon’s motion for an injunction, DoD lawyers argued that any delay to the contract would be a national security risk, citing several specific DoD components that would suffer without the technology, such as the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. DoD officials have regularly pointed to that organization as needing the JEDI cloud capability throughout the acquisition process.

“The diverse array of disconnected cloud environments in which DoD currently operates is a major driver of the need for a consolidated enterprise cloud under the JEDI contract,” DoD lawyers wrote.

Lt. Col. Robert Carver, a Pentagon spokesman, said Feb. 13 that “the actions taken in this litigation have unnecessarily delayed implementing DoD’s modernization strategy and deprived our warfighters of a set of capabilities they urgently need. However, we are confident in our award of the JEDI Cloud contract to Microsoft and remain focused on getting this critical capability into the hands of our warfighters as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

In a Feb. 12 court filing, DoD lawyers warned that the delay would cost taxpayers between $5 million and $7 million per month, which DoD lawyers called “unrecoverable financial harm.”

Amazon, however, argued that any delay wouldn’t significantly hamper any JEDI implementation timelines. The DoD planned to start building the unclassified cloud environment in mid-February, but the injunction would prevent that work from going forward. Pentagon lawyers argued that progress on building out the unclassified portion would slow progress on classified services.

“The delay to unclassified services now caused by any injunction will result in concomitant delays in classified services later,” DoD lawyers wrote.

The court’s decision caps a busy week in the JEDI case after AWS moved to depose President Trump, Esper and several other current and former officials involved in the contract. In a Feb. 12 filing, DoD opposed that motion, writing “AWS fundamentally fails to establish a nexus between the President’s remarks and the source selection decision in the JEDI procurement.”

In a statement, Corporate VP of Microsoft Communications Frank Shaw said that the company has “confidence” that the DoD’s selection was a “detailed, thorough and fair process.”

“While we are disappointed with the additional delay, we believe that we will ultimately be able to move forward with the work to make sure those who serve our country can access the new technology they urgently require,” Shaw said.

DoD’s argument against the deposition is that AWS fails to show how source selection team members would have been influenced by any political pressure from top DoD officials or the president in the procurement. DoD CIO Dana Deasy has said that the source selection team was anonymous and compartmentalized.

“AWS instead relies on innuendo and supposition to make its case for an extraordinary level of discovery, to include the depositions of the sitting President of the United States and Secretary of Defense,” DoD lawyers wrote.

An Amazon spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
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