Chief Justice Eric Bruggink of the Federal Court of Federal Claims has ordered a stay of proceedings in the legal battle between Oracle and the Pentagon over his $ 10 billion Cloud Computing Enterprise Infrastructure contract, after the release of new information about potential conflicts of interest.
The suspension – requested by Pentagon lawyers and opposed by Oracle and Amazon Web Services intervener – will be effective while the Defense Ministry will consider whether the "conflicts of interest" have affected the integrity " of the market, specified the order.
"Justice approves the government's unopposed petition for the case to be suspended while the Department of Defense reviews whether potential conflicts of personal interest could affect integrity." of the JEDI Cloud command, "says Bruggink. "The government is invited to submit a status report within five days of the final decision [the Defense Department]. "
Defense Department spokeswoman Elissa Smith said Pentagon lawyers had asked for the prosecution to be suspended after "new information not previously disclosed to the DOD came out about potential conflicts of interest."
"With this new information, the DOD continues to investigate these potential conflicts," Smith said.
The suspension is the latest amendment to the JEDI contract and has generated significant competition in the public and private sectors among the industry's titans. Its goal is to give a commercial enterprise the responsibility to host and distribute critical workloads and classified data to combatants around the world in a single cloud computing environment.
Among the companies that disagree with the Pentagon's JEDI process, Oracle filed suit in December, alleging conflicts of interest between the Pentagon and AWS officials, and also challenged the government's decision to hand over JEDI. to a single cloud service provider. The company presented similar arguments in the context of an objection filed by the Government Accountability Office in November, a month after Oracle, AWS, IBM and Microsoft had submitted bids for the contract.
Judge Bruggink's order suggests that the Department of Defense may thoroughly re-examine whether two people, he claimed, influenced the purchase for AWS.
In its lawsuit, Oracle alleges that AWS created an interest dispute when it rehired its employee Deap Ubhi in November 2017, after nearly two years in the service of the Pentagon – including on the JEDI contract – within its digital defense service. Oracle alleges that Ubhi, who has publicly described Twitter as an Amazon while still working for the Pentagon in January 2017, had a significant influence on the acquisition of JEDI.
In legal filings, the Pentagon acknowledged that Ubhi was working on the JEDI contract for seven weeks, but said his role was limited and that key acquisition decisions had been made after the start of the deal. ; Ubhi. Ubhi is recused from work related to JEDI in October 2017, a month before he was rehired at AWS, according to legal documents. The documents indicate that the Pentagon described Oracle's allegations as "large fishing expeditions" and stated that its contracting officer did not find any conflict of interest in Ubhi during his investigation.
The lawsuit also alleges that the former chief of staff of Defense Secretary Anthony DeMartino was in conflict of interest because of his work for a consulting firm that was working on behalf of AWS. . The Pentagon rebuffed these allegations during legal filings, claiming that neither DeMartino nor Ubhi were in a position to lead the JEDI contract.
AWS and Oracle declined to comment on the suspension order.