Pentagon’s JEDI Contract Clears Legal Hurdle But Others Remain

It’s not what you think, but still cool – Via

A lengthy and complex ruling released Friday by U.S. Court of Federal Claims Senior Judge Eric Bruggink clears the legal roadblocks for the Pentagon to award its Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract in late August.

The full filing comes two weeks after the judge announced his decision in favor of the defendant Pentagon over bidding tech firm and plaintiff Oracle because the tech firm could not meet certain gate criteria when bids were due in late 2018. It indicates the judge actually sided with both parties in various claims.

In one instance, Bruggink found the Defense Department violated a 2008 law requiring indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts be awarded to multiple bidders if the ceiling value exceeded $112 million. JEDI, with a potential total ceiling value of $10 billion over 10 years if all options are exercised, met that criterion, and the judge found the exemption the Pentagon used was improper.

However, in another instance, the judge sided with the Pentagon’s use another Federal Acquisition Regulation subsection that mandates the government use single-award contracts if certain criteria are met. The judge agreed with the Pentagon’s justification of a single-award contract would produce “more favorable terms and conditions, including pricing,” and simpler contract administration.

The judge acknowledged the seemingly contradictory nature of the rulings, calling them “in tension” with one another and offered an explanation.

“This peculiar state of affairs is an artifact of a code section which is a mixture, rather than an alloy, of various pieces of legislation. Not surprisingly, the parties have different views about the implications of this possible result,” the judge said.

In a statement to reporters, the Pentagon said it was “pleased” with the court’s decision, though it disagreed with the court’s analysis that it violated the law regarding its fixed price justification. The Pentagon also used the ruling to trumpet how JEDI is expected to impact warfighters at home and aboard. 

JEDI will essentially provide a common cloud infrastructure where military data around the world is hosted, analyzed and available to warfighters in the least connected regions in the world. Oracle, IBM, Microsoft and Amazon Web Services bid on the contract, but Oracle’s and IBM’s bids were tossed out early because they did not meet the contract’s minimum gate requirements. Neither company prevailed in their bid protests.

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