Congress Expresses Concerns Giving Confidential Data To One Single Company Over Long Period Of Time

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor

Congress recently expressed skepticism with the prospect of the Department of Defense awarding a single business a contract in which the partner provides advanced data storage services.

The cloud computing section of a legislative report that supplements the $1.3 trillion, 2,232 page Omnibus spending bill, which the House passed Thursday, details input from elected officials. Specifically, as the constitutional allocator of financial resources, Congress implies its reluctance for funding a project that may only include one individual company and for potentially 10 years.

“The Department of Defense seeks to accelerate and streamline the acquisition of cloud computing services at multiple security levels across the Department in an effort to provide the benefits of cloud computing while reducing management and administrative burdens,” reads page 299 of the report for 2018 DOD appropriations. “This effort would be a tailored acquisition for commercial cloud services that could be a single award indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract for a period of up to ten years. There are concerns about the proposed duration of a single contract, questions about the best value for the taxpayer and how to ensure the highest security is maintained.”

The imminent initiative, known as Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI), could grant a tech company with an exclusive agreement worth $10 billion — tasking it with storing and thus properly safeguarding for now non-classified, and eventually sensitive material.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to the DOD last week to see if Amazon was the leading contender for JEDI’s cloud procurement after the once simple e-commerce service turned tech conglomerate was named as the sole source for another data storage deal.

“This is a full and open competition using FAR Part 12 for commercial technology,” Navy Cmdr. and Pentagon press officer Patrick Evans told TheDCNF. “The department is not dictating which or how teams formulate.”

Microsoft originally protested the DOD’s then-imminent decision to go with Amazon alone for another cloud computing contract, as the executive branch said only that specific American company and its technology could satisfy its security requirements. (RELATED: Why Is Alphabet CEO Eric Schmidt Technically Serving In The Department Of Defense?)

Evans pointed to recent comments DOD chief management officer Jay Gibson made, expressing an interest in harnessing the technological prowess of certain U.S. companies. Evans declined to “speculate” on which company may be chosen for JEDI.

“We are well aware we need to better utilize the private sector and its tremendous innovation, competition, and resources, and the JEDI program represents our continued movement in this direction,” Gibson said during DOD’s JEDI Industry Day. “Leveraging the commercial cloud is one IT area that we believe will achieve operational, financial and security benefits, of which the JEDI cloud is a great example.”

Amazon did not respond to TheDCNF’s request for response to Congress’ guidance in time of publication.

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