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This time, the DoD offers four tech giants an equal opportunity to win a $9 billion cloud contract

It’s possible that the principles of equity your parents instilled in you also apply to deals worth billions of dollars in the military industry. This week, the Department of Defense (DoD) announced that it would be moving its operations to the cloud, and it would be giving a $9 billion contract to four major technology companies: Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Oracle.

All four companies have an equal chance at receiving the $9 billion in funding for the new program, known as the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability (JWCC), which has a five and a half year window through 2028.

The agency added in a statement, “No funds will be pledged at the time of award; monies will be obligated on individual orders when they are issued.”

The Department of Defense (DOD) needs enterprise-wide, globally accessible cloud services across all security domains and classification levels (from strategic to tactical). This contract will make that possible.

It is unclear if the problems that arose from the original disastrous DoD cloud procurement deal have been resolved by this new contract. The Department of Defense’s (DoD) path to the cloud has been a long and winding one.

Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) was first announced by the government in 2018. Putting aside the cute Star Wars allusion, the deal was scrutinised heavily due to its winner-take-all component, which immediately led to complaints from companies and strategic manoeuvring for the $10 billion prize.

Oracle, which you will recall gets equivalent access under the terms of this agreement, has been very outspoken in its complaints that Amazon has an unfair advantage. Though Amazon came out on top initially, Microsoft ultimately sealed the deal. But that wasn’t the end of it; the company filed a lawsuit challenging the outcome, arguing that Obama was prejudiced against Jeff Bezos, the owner of both The Washington Post and Amazon.

More complications led to the department cancelling the project in July 2021 and starting over.

What we’re announcing this week is the conclusion of that choice. We have five more years to figure out if the Department of Defense can enter the cloud era without making the four major players (really, three and Oracle) unhappy again over who gets what, and the fact that it left the entire thing open-ended this time begs the question of how this will all finally get resolved.