Enlarge /. An aerial view of the Pentagon, the Potomac River, and parts of Washington, DC, taken before a pandemic began to keep most of these cars at home on the commuter site.
The Department of Defense internal investigation into a controversial $ 10 billion cloud computing contract concluded that the process of awarding the contract was correct and was not influenced by President Donald Trump or members of his administration – despite the fact that the White House refused to cooperate with the investigation.
The Inspector General's DOD office distributed the report (a 317-page PDF) on the award of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract (JEDI) internally on Monday and published it today. In the end, the inspectors found that the evidence showed that DOD employees who made the decision were not pressurized directly by the White House or by senior DOD officials who may have been connected to the White House, though Otherwise, "media vortex" appeared.
Many providers of corporate computers have thrown their hats for the JEDI contract in the ring. Up to April 2019, two finalists were on the shortlist: Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure. Industry experts and observers largely expected Amazon to win the order, and were generally surprised when the Pentagon signed the contract with Microsoft in October.
Amazon sued in December, basically claiming that Microsoft won because Trump personally hates Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Legally, Amazon said the government had used "undue pressure" to prevent AWS from winning the contract, citing Trump's instructions to former Secretary of Defense James Mattis "kidding Amazon" and other tweets and comments Bezos and his company.
The Pentagon said in March that it would "rethink" parts of its decision-making process after Amazon received an injunction that initially prevented the DOD and Microsoft from making progress.
However, the report does not specifically address whether the DOD made the right choice when it placed the order with Microsoft through Amazon. "To be clear, our review did not assess the adequacy of DOD's awarding of the JEDI cloud contract to Microsoft and not to AWS," the report said. "We did not review the merits of the contractor’s proposals or DOD’s technical or pricing assessments, but rather the process of source selection and compliance with applicable laws, guidelines and the assessment process described in the call for proposals, and whether it was influenced by external pressure. "
The internal probe
The Department of Defense launched its internal investigation in June 2019 as part of a legal challenge from Oracle.
By 2019, Oracle (along with basically everyone else) still expected Amazon to successfully fulfill the JEDI offering. Trials have been launched in various locations to challenge the Pentagon's decision-making process. Oracle's challenges failed until July, but not before the company claimed that the process had been "spoiled" by several DOD employees who had close business relationships with Amazon.
According to the report, investigators interviewed 25 witnesses to carry out the review, including:
DoD executives most likely to have direct contact with the White House; other DoD officials who reportedly heard Secretary Mattis speak to President Trump about a call; Witnesses from the Chief Information Officer’s DoD office overseeing the Cloud Computing program office; the Cloud Computing Program Office, which was responsible for managing the JEDI cloud program; the Defense Digital Service, which initiated procurement and provided expertise; and the source selection team, which evaluated suggestions, made recommendations, and finally selected Microsoft. We also interviewed the procuring contracting officer, who was involved in the procurement and awarded the contract.
However, the investigators could not speak to anyone from the White House. According to the report, the inspector general's team submitted lists of questions to the DOD general counsel for questions to be given to witnesses by the White House lawyers. After "repeated requests for an answer," the White House lawyer informed the DOD that it would only allow witnesses to give written answers, and that these written answers would first need to be checked by the White House lawyer to ensure executive privilege to check.
"We have carefully considered this answer and have come to the conclusion that this is not an appropriate and practical way to conduct our review, as there is no certainty about which questions will be answered, the report will be unduly delayed, no interview possible and inevitable Follow-up questions, and it would not ensure that we receive complete information from the witnesses, "the investigators write. "We therefore refused to do this." In short, the White House posed so many obstacles to getting information that investigators gave up.
The DOD general inspector who oversaw the investigation and report, Glenn Fine, was abruptly removed from his position on April 6 after serving as head of the federal body set up by Congress to review the management of the $ 2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package had been called. Fine held the role for more than four years.