Amazon Challenges $10 Billion Pentagon Cloud Award to Microsoft

Joanna Estrada
November 17, 2019

After awarding a sought-after 10-year, $10 billion defense contract to Microsoft, the U.S. Department of Defense is facing protests from Amazon, claiming that it was passed on due to President Trump's personal bias against CEO Jeff Bezos.

Amazon has submitted a notice to the Court of Federal Claims indicating it will protest the Pentagon's decision. A Defense Department spokeswoman would only say that the Pentagon won't speculate on potential litigation. Trump has always been at odds with Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post.

"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", he said.

"I am confident that it was conducted freely and fairly without any type of outside influence", Esper said at a news conference in Seoul, South Korea. But the latter is convinced the JEDI evaluation process "contained clear deficiencies, errors, and unmistakable bias".

The challenge from Amazon comes at a time when President Donald Trump frequently attacks the company and its CEO, Jeff Bezos, on Twitter, accusing Amazon of not paying its fair share of taxes or that the Bezos-owned Washington Post covers his administration unfairly. He said other companies told him that the contract "wasn't competitively bid".

President Trump's disdain for Amazon is something of an open secret; James Mattis, the former Defense Secretary of the United States, wrote in one of his recently published book that Trump had once said "Screw Amazon" to him, in regards to the JEDI contract. Mattis didn't do what Trump asked, Snodgrass wrote.

The contract involved a 10-year project to build a so-called "war cloud" for the military, labeled "JEDI". Amazon offered at least two former Pentagon officials jobs while they were working on the procurement, according to the lawsuit. JEDI provides next-generation cloud storage and security infrastructure for the Pentagon while simultaneously connecting the various agencies under its purview.

The Pentagon awarded the contract to Microsoft in late October, and Amazon said there was "unmistakable bias" on the government's part and it meant to challenge the decision in court.

-With assistance from Matt Day and Glen Carey.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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