Salem Radio Network News Sunday, August 1, 2021

Science

U.S. judge ends Amazon challenge to $10 billion cloud contract after Pentagon cancellation

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -A U.S. judge on Friday dismissed Amazon.com’s legal challenge to the Defense Department’s 2019 decision to award a $10 billion JEDI cloud-computing project to rival Microsoft Corp after the Pentagon canceled the contract.

Amazon.com had accused then-President Donald Trump, alleging that the former president exerted improper pressure on military officials to steer the contract away from Amazon. The Pentagon said on Tuesday it expected the new multi-billion dollar contract would be split between Amazon and Microsoft.

Amazon did not object to dismissing its 2019 lawsuit.

Judge Patricia E. Campbell-Smith of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims agreed to dismiss the lawsuit at the government’s request, saying the case was now moot.

Trump publicly derided then-Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and repeatedly criticized the company. Amazon had sought to question Trump about his role in the contract decision.

The Pentagon hopes to have the first awards by April 2022 for its new Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability (JWCC).

John Sherman, acting chief information officer for the Defense Department, said on Tuesday he expects both Microsoft and Amazon will get cloud contracts.

Microsoft said in a statement that the company was confident it will “continue to be successful as the DoD selects partners for new work.”

Amazon’s Amazon Web Services cloud unit said it agreed with the Pentagon’s decision to cancel the contract. It said the initial award was “not based on the merits of the proposals and instead was the result of outside influence that has no place in government procurement.”

In April, Campbell-Smith refused to dismiss Amazon’s claims alleging the Trump administration interfered in the Pentagon’s award to Microsoft after putting it on hold indefinitely in February 2020.

The now-canceled Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure Cloud (JEDI) contract was budgeted for as much as $10 billion and was part of a broader digital modernization of the Pentagon aimed at making it more technologically agile.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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