‘JEDI’: The Pentagon’s Cloud Computing Contract Bidding War is Winner-Take-All

© AP PhotoThis is an aerial view of the five-sided Pentagon building, headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, in Arlington, Va., in 1975
This is an aerial view of the five-sided Pentagon building, headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, in Arlington, Va., in 1975 - Sputnik International
The US Defense Department (DoD) is running a competition to pick a cloud-computing company to store top national-security secrets and other crucial information. Companies like Amazon, Microsoft and International Business Machines Corp are among those looking to host the Pentagon’s abundance of information.

The DoD project, cleverly known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI), consists of shifting much of the Pentagon's technology needs to a commercial cloud. 

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Placing Pentagon technology systems into the cloud would make it easier for the US military information infrastructure to transfer and integrate data sets, as well as make global security upgrades to software across the entire platform, according to reports.

DOD spokeswoman Heather Babb told TechCrunch that has department sees benefit for building an enterprise cloud.

"Single award is advantageous because, among other things, it improves security, improves data accessibility and simplifies the Department's ability to adopt and use cloud services," Babb said in a statement.

"The DOD Cloud Initiative is part of a much larger effort to modernize the Department's information technology enterprise. The foundation of this effort is rationalizing the number of networks, data centers and clouds that currently exist in the Department," Babb added.

Industry observers suggest that Amazon, which won a $600 million cloud contract with the CIA in 2013, may be the Pentagon's top runner. In addition, Amazon has the highest security clearances for its cloud infrastructure.

Other companies bidding on the project include Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, Dell, Hewlett Packard, SAP America, General Dynamics Corp.'s CSRA, Red Hat Inc. and VMware Inc. 

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According to DoD documents posted online, the contract could be worth as much as $10 billion over 10 years.

Tech companies and industry pundits have questioned the Pentagon's decision to use a single provider for the project, arguing that a single-source approach could threaten innovation.

According to the Pentagon, however, dividing information across several clouds would prevent the department from being able to easily access and analyze information data. In a report given to the US Congress, the Pentagon argued that "a common environment for computing and data storage" improves machine learning, Bloomberg reported.

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