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Key GOP Lawmaker Doubts Pentagon Can Handle Cloud Contract

The Pentagon has delayed indefinitely its final request for proposals, which will outline requirements for the contract on the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, spokeswoman Dana White said last week.

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee that oversees Pentagon spending doesn’t have confidence that the Defense Department can handle a multibillion cloud-computing contract based on existing plans, said the panel’s chairwoman, Kay Granger.

Under their proposed spending bill, panel members are holding up funding for the contract, which is seen as favoring Inc., until the Pentagon submits a strategy to sustain competition and multiple cloud-service providers, according to a provision included in the draft fiscal year 2019 Pentagon spending bill.

"We don’t want to kill this project, but you did not bring us something that we could say we have confidence" in, Granger, a Texas Republican, said Thursday. "We are saying, we’re keeping it alive, but come back and fill in the blanks because we had a lot of questions that we did not get answers to."

Industry groups representing technology companies including Microsoft Corp. and Oracle Corp. have objected to the Pentagon’s plans for a winner-take-all award they say will favor Amazon, the leading provider of cloud-computing services.

The spending plan would also bar the Pentagon from spending any money on its $8 billion cloud-based email and collaboration project, known as the the Defense Enterprise Office Solutions. The Pentagon released a draft request for proposals in April.

The Defense Appropriations subcommittee approved the draft bill Thursday behind closed doors. The full Appropriations Committee is likely to consider the bill June 13.

Pentagon spokeswoman Heather Babb in an email statement said the department is committed to a transparent process and a full and open competition and “continues to work with Congress to ensure it has appropriate oversight of DOD’s cloud computing services.”

The Department “is continuing to review the final RFP before it is released. I do not have an exact date at this time," Babb said.

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