Skip to comments.AWS wants depositions from Trump, Esper in JEDI lawsuit
Posted on 02/11/2020 3:22:54 PM PST by spintreebob
Amazon Web Services is asking a federal claims court for depositions from President Donald Trump, as well as his current and former secretaries of Defense, as part of its bid protest of the Pentagons $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI).
The cloud computing company claims there are gaps in the discovery information provided by the Department of Defense about its evaluation of JEDI bids and eventual award to Microsoft, according to court documents filed in the Court of Federal Claims in January but unsealed Monday.
Seeking to supplement the record, AWS issued a number of requests for targeted additional evidence from the Pentagon, including depositions of Trump, Secretary Mark Esper, former Secretary Jim Mattis, DOD CIO Dana Deasy, members of the JEDI source selection authority and the chairs of the source selection advisory council and source selection evaluation board.
President Trump has repeatedly demonstrated his willingness to use his position as President and Commander in Chief to interfere with government functions including federal procurements to advance his personal agenda, an AWS spokesperson said in an email. The preservation of public confidence in the nations procurement process requires discovery and supplementation of the administrative record, particularly in light of President Trumps order to screw Amazon. The question is whether the President of the United States should be allowed to use the budget of the DoD to pursue his own personal and political ends.
Amazon argues that the information it seeks is reasonable and narrowly tailored to examine how Trumps alleged bias against the company may have led to the Pentagon issuing JEDI to Microsoft. The company said DOD is in violation of law because it did not provide a substantive response to any of its 265 debriefing questions.
AWS is trying to make the case in its protest that the Department of Defense repeatedly made prejudicial errors in its evaluation of JEDI that were rooted in influence from President Trump and his animosity toward Amazon and its CEO Jeff Bezos.
Deposing the president is a very sensitive subject, and AWS acknowledges that reality in the court documents. It says it will work with the Court and the Department of Justice to develop appropriate protocols and safeguards, including to evaluate alternative methods, to ensure that the testimony is procured in a manner sensitive to the unique position of the Executive Office of the President. However, AWS cites case law from Bill Clintons presidency that set the legal precedent that a sitting president is not immune to civil litigation in federal court for matters that happened before taking office or unrelated to their work in office.
The Pentagon told FedScoop it strongly opposes the request.
Amazon Web Services request is unnecessary, burdensome and merely seeks to delay getting this important technology into the hands of our warfighters, a spokesperson told FedScoop. The Department of Defense will continue to fight to put this urgently-needed capability into the hands of our men and women in uniform as quickly and efficiently as possible. The Department remains confident in the JEDI award. Our teams duty and sole focus must remain on equipping our warfighters for an increasingly complex and challenging battlefield environment.
In addition to the depositions, AWS also seeks specific written interrogatories on what it calls some of the most troubling aspects of the JEDI procurement process, as well as a number of other requests for production of evidence.
AWSs case for pausing JEDI task orders
Monday, the court also unsealed AWSs motion asking for an injunction and temporary restraining order against any work under the JEDI contract until its bid protest is settled.
The redacted document, also originally filed in January, details Amazons motion, which it has already publicly defended. The company said failure to hold off on task orders while the lawsuit is ongoing could do irreparable harm.
Without an injunction, continued performance of the JEDI Contract could jeopardize the relief available to AWS if it prevails in the protest, the document says.
The clock is ticking, however. The parties originally agreed to Feb. 11 as the earliest date DOD would award any major task orders to Microsoft under the larger JEDI contract, which has since been extended to Feb. 14.
The DOD spokesperson said the department will not issue substantive early-adopter task orders until the Court issues a decision on the AWS request for a preliminary injunction. The Department anticipates a decision on that issue this week, and is prepared to begin providing early adopters with urgently-needed unclassified JEDI services starting on Feb. 14.
The Army will use the remainder of fiscal 2020 to build foundational elements for its cloud architecture and data management, some of its top IT officials said Monday.
The service is in the midst of migrating its data from disparate legacy systems to the cloud. But first, it must prepare a standardized foundation of data from across the service so that it is unified once it arrives in the cloud.
We dont want to build a house on sand, said Paul Puckett, the head of the Armys newly formed Enterprise Cloud Management Office. First, the Army will focus on unclassified data and migrating it to the cloud, followed increasingly by secret and top-secret information. Its a process rife with challenges, but the biggest is culture, Puckett said Monday at the Army Data and Cloud Colloquium.
As the Army moves to the cloud, the service is bringing weak data management practices and systems with it, Puckett said. We just have a whole bunch of people that picked up their stovepipes and dropped it in the cloud, he said, adding that one of his biggest priorities is consolidating all the footprints of data.
Better data infrastructure will pave the way for a multi-cloud environment that will ultimately support modernized command and control, or C2, for communication on the battlefield, said Army CIO Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford. The next generation of C2, he said, will be built through cloud services that allow data from sensors on the battlefield to be connected to generals at the Pentagon and beyond.
But to get there, a stronger foundation will need to be built. Data is the ammunition of the future fight, Crawford said.
Crawford said the Army plans to spend more than $700 million on cloud technology in the future and Pucketts office will be fully stood up by March to support that new environment.
That money came from so-called night court where the Army took money from out-of-date uses to reinvest in modernization and readiness. But all of the spending relies on cultural changes that will allow for better data management, Crawford said.
AI still just a shiny object
Clean and accurate datasets will be critical to the future of warfare and help reach another major objective for the military: artificial intelligence. AI feeds off of massive datasets that allow its advanced algorithm to pick up patterns and speed up decision-making.
The Army generates enough data to train AI, but as of yet doesnt have it stored in a way to use it to develop the emerging technology.
The hardest part about AI is not AI, it is data, Priya Raman, chief data officer at Microsoft, said at the event.
The Sectary of the Army has said that AI is a top priority for the service, and the Army AI Task Force is already announcing achievements. But without data management, AI will remain in the distant future, Puckett said.
The Army is not alone other services too have yet to achieve scaled use of the technology. AI is still a bright shiny object that is out of reach for large scale development and use, Bill Marion, deputy CIO of the Air Force, said at the event. Marion projects large-scale use of AI in a decade, adding that some AI uses are already coming online.
The Lawyer class seems to constantly protest both federal and state government contracts. Trump is proposing an infrastructure bill. Historyically such a bill is a welfare program for lawyers, lobbyists and PR types. How does Trump? How do we? prevent these stupid lawsuits. Nobody benefits but the lawyers on all sides, the lawyers for the government, the lawyers for the contract winner, the lawyers for the contract loser win.
Soldiers, taxpayers, the poor, the rich, the public loses.
well, Amazon will have to wait at least until he retires from the White House
I don’t get the request. Sounds like fishing. Just because the President has expressed opinions we need to depose?
AMAZON IS GUILTY OF ANTI TRUST OPERATIONS, RUNNING SMALL, MEDIUM AND LARGE STORES EVEN CHAINS LIKE SEARS, MACY’S OUT
THEN THEY VERTICALLY INTEGRATE SHIPPING HURTING UPS, FEDEX
THEY WANT TO GET INTO PRESCRIPTIONS, AND ALREADY INTO SUPERMARKETS
THEY DO ALL OF THIS AND ARE STINGY TO THEIR STAFF.
WORST OF ALL THEIR DEMOCRATS
AMAZON.... Is it an evil monopoly?
Trump should follow thru with the anti trust threat for 6ears now with amz.
suck it bezos
I was on the inside of the $100 million contract with a Big IT firm. We started with over 25 potential bidders and gradually eliminated a few at a time until we identified 7 from which we would actually accept bids. 5 actually submitted serious bids. (Two made a joint bid.)
We narrowed the 5 down to 2 and then to the finalist. After we announced the finalist, both Federal and State regulations made us observe a 30 day protest period. (in reality any firm including one not in the 25 could sue us at any time and grind everything to a halt.
All of us on the inside of awarding the contract were sworn to secrecy. Only after the final protest period had ended did I talk about it with my family, and on the internet... at which time in FR I observed that the Big IT company was hiring IT of many skill sets.
Over my lifetime I have worked with half of the 25 and all of the 5 finalists. I have opinions of my past experiences with those companies. But I had to separate the past from the present.
Of course, the Big IT firm hired over 100 people, of which 75 were stil empoyed when we cancelled the contract for non-performance. The Big IT firm could not (or did not) find qualified people for the top 5 positions on the project.
Our project has not been sued...yet. But it could be at any time.
Other projects have been sued. Our project did not have to face the environmental lawyers. The infrastructure projects will. Either stock up on popcorn or peptobismal if the infractructure projects materialized.
Yes, any large award WILL be protested. I also have had a bidder on a 4-figure purchase call me to ask why he didn’t get the contract. (50 percent higher than the competition)
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