Warner, Reed seek answers on stalled $10B DoD cloud contract

mark warner newU.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Jack Reed (D-RI), Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper following a report that the Department of Defense (DoD) will reexamine the process for awarding a $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud-computing contract.

“The integrity of our federal procurement process rests in large part on its insulation from undue political influence, so that sound technical and business judgements can be used to make data- and evidence-based decisions. The importance of political noninterference is especially important in the context of Department of Defense procurements, where procurement decisions must focus on cost, quality, performance and other considerations directly related to promoting our national security in an increasingly complex global environment,” wrote Sens. Warner and Reed to DoD Secretary Mark Esper. 

In their letter to the DoD, the senators inquired about the possibility that political pressure may have led to DoD’s abrupt decision to pause the process for awarding the contract.

Additionally, the senators called on Secretary Esper to explain the reasoning behind DoD’s decision to reexamine the contract.

“Successful procurement programs foster an open, fair, and competitive process, and are informed by technical and acquisition expertise and an understanding of the planned operational environment. The federal government benefits from being served by a variety of providers, ensuring competition that will deliver the best cost, quality, and performance. There are already built-in mechanisms for independent review of potential conflicts of interest– some of which have already been used in the JEDI initiative,” the senators continued. “We appreciate your desire to review this initiative as you take on your new role as Secretary, but we urge you to resist political pressures that might negatively affect the implementation of sound acquisition practices and of the cloud strategy.”


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