By Aaron Kesel
Amazon is on its way to becoming one of the U.S. military’s biggest security giants, with a pending $10bn JEDI cloud computing deal that the company could win, MIT Technology Review reported.
In August the Pentagon halted the controversial contract deal, known as Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI), an initiative to “aggressively accelerate the Department’s adoption of cloud architecture and services, with a focus on commercial solutions.”
The deal was stopped and is now under investigation by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to audit the process which caused complaints form other tech companies like Microsoft. U.S. President Donald Trump has publicly criticized Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in the past and announced in July that he wanted a review of the contract, citing “tremendous complaints” from competing companies.
Further, the Office of the Inspector General is investigating possible conflicts of interest, the acquisition process and requirements, according to Dwrena Allen, a spokeswoman for the watchdog office, Fed Scoop reported.
The office has “assembled a multidisciplinary team of auditors, investigators, and attorneys” to review “the DoD’s handling of the JEDI cloud acquisition, including the development of requirements and the request for proposal process,” Allen told Fed Scoop in an emailed statement. “In addition, we are investigating whether current or former DoD officials committed misconduct relating to the JEDI acquisition, such as whether any had any conflicts of interest related to their involvement in the acquisition process.”
Microsoft and Amazon are now the two finalists in the running for the contract, leaving many of the others in the dust due to their technological abilities and security outmatching the competition to build the U.S. military its first “war cloud” computing system. Both companies beat out Oracle and IBM who were eliminated at an earlier round of the contract competition.
This “war cloud” would eventually replace the military’s current internet structure, which sources indicate uses a software hard fork of the Navy created TOR (The Onion Router) network to communicate. The program aims to move about 80% of all Department of Defense (DoD) data into the cloud according to Federalist News Network.