The four vendors selected for the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability (JWCC) program – Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, Microsoft, and Oracle – will duke it out for task orders beginning in about two weeks, DoD leaders told reporters during a Dec. 8 press briefing.

The exact number of task orders is still unknown, but the competition process should take weeks to as long as a few months to execute, “depending on the specifics and lessons learned along the way,” said Sharon Woods, director of the Hosting and Compute Center at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA).

“We’ve been working hard to be innovative in our task order competition process. There is flexibility within the acquisition process to, for instance, use the automation tool to put together the [mission] package itself,” Woods added.

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DISA Director Lt. Gen. Robert Skinner said DoD has already assessed initial opportunities that could be the first to make use of JWCC enterprise cloud capabilities, and he cited the competitive task order process as offering the potential for additional cost savings.

“While we have discounted pricing already within the overall construct, each of those task orders will be completed and, therefore, we could potentially receive even additional cost savings as they go forward,” Skinner said. “We’re continuing to work with our mission partners across the department. We’ve identified multiple ones that could be candidates and we’re working through the specific details.”

The Pentagon unveiled the awards for the highly anticipated commercial cloud computing deal on Dec. 7. The agreements comprise a three-year base with one-year options, meaning work could be conducted through 2028. Each company is only guaranteed $100,000 of business, according to terms of the deal.

“This is a huge day for the department and what we can bring to our warfighters,” John Sherman, DoD’s chief information officer, said.

“We’ve talked about being able to provide that undergirding of the cloud computing that’s going to be there for the combatant commands and many others there to be able to have the joint warfighter with the capabilities they need,” Sherman said.

The Pentagon first announced its multi-vendor cloud contract plan in July 2021, after previous failed attempts to develop a single-vendor $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud services contract.

The JWCC, according to Sherman, is better suited for the times and needs of the Pentagon because it relies on multiple vendors and the resiliency that comes with that arrangement.

“This brings us direct access to these cloud service providers, without going through an intermediary or a reseller. This creates a more efficient and effective leveraging of these capabilities,” Sherman said.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.