The US Department of Defense has announced contracts for cloud computing services valued at up to $9 billion to AWS, Google, Microsoft and Oracle.
The contracts were awarded under the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability (JWCC) – the successor to the $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) deal that sought a single cloud provider to serve the entire US military for ten years.
The DoD rationalized JEDI by saying that multiple cloud suppliers would be cumbersome.
AWS and Oracle bid for JEDI but Microsoft won the deal. AWS, IBM, and Oracle protested and/or sued over that decision.
The Pentagon made their grievance moot by canceling the JEDI program in July 2021 on grounds that it no longer wanted to go all-in with a single cloud provider. Then it created the JWCC as a replacement.
Amazon and Microsoft were immediately identified as capable bidders and asked to play, with invitations following for Oracle and Google.
All were later identified as likely to score work under the program, but the DoD struggled to process four sets of proposals and delayed its announcement of the winners – from March 2022 to this past Wednesday, when a contract notice revealed all of the big four clouds are in line to share the work.
Which was very much the expected outcome.
No actual work is attached to or required any of the contracts. The Pentagon has selected each of the four companies as suitable to provide its cloudy needs as and when individual missions or programs need some milspec off-prem action.
The contract notice states the deals are for provision of “enterprise-wide, globally available cloud services across all security domains and classification levels, from the strategic level to the tactical edge.”
The announcement of the JWCC participants means the four winners can be called upon to provide cloud services. The $9 billion figure is the Pentagon’s ceiling on cloud spend shared between all four nominated clouds between now and June 2028.
That means around $1.6 billion a year split four ways – not an enormous spend, given each of the winners boasts annual cloud revenue north of $20 billion.
All will doubtless revel in, and promote, their wins, though – even if the Pentagon won’t be an enormous customer.
At least we can now state: “Ended, the Pentagon cloud contract conflict has.” Until the inevitable sequel in 2028. ®
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