The Department of Defense (DoD) Empire just struck back with answers to more than 1,000 questions that vendors posed regarding the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract. DoD just released its second draft request for proposal after responding to concerns of 46 vendors and two associations. DoD might not be commissioning the Death Star, but with a potential $10 billion contract award on the line, it may rival it in size and scope.
DoD did not disclose names of the companies or any proprietary information, but included responses to the exhaustive list of queries in a Q&A Matrix. Potential bidders will now have two weeks to log any follow-up questions regarding the contract before DoD plans to release a finalized RFP in May.
In the new draft, DoD reiterated how scalability, network resiliency, and robust capacity are among the key selection criteria. The draft notes the need for a network “suitable for handling a high volume of traffic globally, in and out of the offeror’s cloud boundary,” in reference to military operations that extend well beyond U.S. shores.
“JEDI Cloud services will be offered at all classification levels, across the home front to the tactical edge, including disconnected and austere environments, and closed loop networks,” DoD said.
Debate has swirled over whether the contract will be sole-sourced, and it seems DoD doesn’t know what side of the force it’s being drawn toward. The industry has reported that DoD prefers a single-award contract, but as early as last week Secretary James Mattis has cast doubt on that notion.
“It is a fair and open competition for anyone who wants to come in,” Mattis said at a House Armed Services hearing on Defense budget authorization. “It’s only two years. If you’ve read something about 10 years in the press, that’s not the case at all. So it will be a full and open competition. Not sole sourced, by the way, to make certain we don’t fall into just one.”
The RFP notes that this contract award will support other cloud initiatives, leaving the door open to further speculation over how much time, or what chunk of that $10 billion figure, Defense will actually commit to the first JEDI contract. Much to learn, we still have.