US Department of Defense Inspector General finds no issues in Microsoft JEDI cloud contract

The US Department of Defense’ Inspector General today published the full report on Microsoft’s JEDI cloud contract. Inspector General found that DoD’s decision to award the contract to Microsoft was consistent with applicable law and acquistion standards. OIG also clearly mentioned that they have evidence that the DoD personnel who evaluated the contract proposals and awarded Microsoft the JEDI Cloud contract were not pressured regarding their decision on the award of the contract by any DoD leaders more senior to them, who may have
communicated with the White House.

Based on our interviews with the relevant DoD officials and review of the market research information, we determined that the DDS conducted market research in compliance with FAR Part 10 and that the market research data informed the DoD’s decision. The CESG coordinated with DoD Components and learned about their cloud computing needs and efforts to help determine the best approach to successfully acquire enterprise cloud services. In addition, DoD officials met with Intelligence Community officials and considered the Intelligence Community’s experiences with acquiring and using an enterprise cloud. DoD officials also requested information from, and met with, contractors to learn their capabilities, presented them with information about the proposed procurement, and responded to their questions in accordance with FAR Part 10, Market Research.

Inspector General also confirmed in the report that allegations regarding the involvement of the US President could not be investigated properly because most of the conversations that happened are protected by presidential communications privilege.

Despite our investigative authorities and our assurances to safeguard the information, DoD OGC officials restated that they did not control the privilege, and that the White House had not authorized the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, or other DoD officials to disclose to the DoD OIG communications between the White House and DoD officials related to the JEDI contract.

Another interesting incident was revealed in the report. DoD team accidently shared Microsoft’s confidential information with AWS team last year. Realizing the mistake, DoD asked AWS team to destroy all the documents that were shared by mistake.

“It was unlawful for any unauthorized person, including competitors such as AWS, to posses[s] or use such information, even if inadvertently disclosed to that person,” and
requested AWS to provide WHS with a statement describing all steps AWS took to mitigate the impact of the disclosure.”

But it was too late. By the time AWS team responded, 71 AWS employees, including engineers, attorneys, and technical architects, had read the Microsoft documents. Despite knowing that usage of the disclosed documents is a crime, AWS team used the contents of the documents in its Post-Award Debriefing questions. Out of the 265 questions raised by AWS team, 114 questions were
derived from the improper disclosure of Microsoft’s proprietary information. Noticing this violation by AWS team, Administrative Contracting Officer did not respond to AWS team’s questions.

DoD provided AWS with detailed information regarding the strengths, weaknesses, and deficiencies of the Microsoft proposal, which is inconsistent with the DoD Source Selection Procedures Debriefing Guide.

You can read the full report here.

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