Pentagon set to award billions in cloud contracts

Although a bit later than initially expected, the US Department of Defense (DOD) has announced that it plans to award up to $9bn in cloud infrastructure contracts in December of this year.

Following the controversy surrounding its now canceled Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure or JEDI contract, the Pentagon announced its new Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability (JWCC) initiative back in November of this year. Unlike with the previous JEDI contract, the US military will now rely on multiple cloud providers as opposed to just a single one.

Although Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle and other cloud providers competed to win the $10bn JEDI contract, in the end the Pentagon awarded it to Microsoft before deciding to cancel it altogether.

In a recent call with reporters, Pentagon CIO John Sherman explained that the US military’s timeline was a bit too bold which is why it will now be wrapping up bidding for the JWCC initiative in December. When JWCC was first announced in July of last year, the Pentagon initially intended to award contracts in April 2022.

Unclassified, secret and top secret networks

Sherman provided further details on how the JWCC initiative will provide enterprise cloud capabilities for the DOD in a recent press briefing, saying:

“In terms of what it comprises, the JWCC, it is going to be a multi-cloud effort that will provide enterprise cloud capabilities for the Department of Defense at all three security classifications: unclassified, secret, and top secret. All the way from the continental United States here, out to the tactical edge.”

Once the contracts have been awarded, the Pentagon expects to immediately have access to its unclassified network. From here, secret networks will come online 60 days after contracts have been awarded while both top-secret and tactical edge networks will come online no later than 180 days following the awarding of contracts to cloud service providers.

Just like with the JEDI contract though, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Oracle are all competing for government contracts once again and the Pentagon reached out to all four companies in November of last year according to Sherman. These new contracts will have a three-year base period and two-year option periods.

We’ll likely hear more towards the end of the year when the DOD actually begins awarding contracts for its new JWCC initiative.


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