We all knew that Amazon would not lose the joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract. Now – just weeks after the government awarded the $ 10 billion project to Microsoft – the company took the first step to push back against what it calls "unmistakable bias" in Pentagon's decision-making process.
The tech giant has filed a notice to protest while sealing to the US Federal Claims Court citing its plans to challenge the outcome according to several reports . Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy first announced the news at a company meeting on Thursday, according to the Federal Times and the company later confirmed it sent papers last week.
"Numerous aspects of the JEDI evaluation process contained clear flaws, errors and unmistakable bias ̵
Now I usually take PR spiel with a grain of salt, but in this case I think that statement pretty much sums up the problem. The JEDI contract aims to bring cloud computing infrastructure to the Department of Defense, and Amazon remained a clear front runner through most of the annual discussions given its experience and significant market share (especially when compared to competitors such as Microsoft, Google, and Oracle). Several competitors even claimed that the contract appeared to be written with the company in mind.
But Amazon is also run by Jeff Bezos, a man who our president really, really doesn't like . Probably because he owns the Washington Post, which has run somewhat less than flattering coverage of this administration, but frankly, it has never taken much to earn Donald Trump's (typically furiously tweeted) ire.
Although federal acquisition law prevents politicians from emptying the scale of such contracts, Trump and other administrators have been outspoken in their opposition to Amazon securing the project. Last summer, the president retweeted a link to a Fox News segment calling the JEDI contract "Bezos Bailout." In a recent book, a speechwriter for former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Guy Snodgrass, argued that Trump was trying to convince Mattis to "screw" Amazon out of the deal.
AWS seems to refer to this controversy in the statement: "We also believe that it is critical for our country that the government and its elected leaders manage procurement objectively and in a way that is free of political influence."
In July, rival Oracle also alleged a sprawling, Bezos-led "conspiracy" (and you know how much Trump loves his conspiracy theories) was at stake, prompting the administration to pause the process as it investigated these claims. Previous internal inquiries found no evidence for the underlying fuel Oracle described, CNN reported at that time. The official Trump dropped to lead the investigation, the newly installed Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, and later resigned from the entire JEDI decision-making process, as the son worked in one of the private companies that originally tendered for the contract.
Going forward, Amazon will have to file a formal protest in federal court, further elaborating on its arguments claiming the Pentagon's eligibility.