Microsoft Wins Pentagon’s $10 Billion JEDI Contract, Thwarting Amazon

Price Floyd, a former head of public affairs at the Pentagon who consulted briefly for Amazon, said he thought Mr. Trump’s vocal criticism of Amazon would give it ample grounds to protest the award to Microsoft.

“He’s the commander in chief, and he hasn’t been subtle about his hostility toward Amazon,” Mr. Floyd said.

The concept of unifying information in the cloud has obvious benefits for the Pentagon as war fighters move to greater use of remote sensors, semiautonomous weapons and ultimately artificial intelligence. It is particularly crucial at a moment that United States Cyber Command has been elevated to a full combat command, equivalent to Central Command, which runs operations in the Middle East, or Northern Command, which defends the continental United States.

But some critics argued that such a large contract should not be awarded to any one technology company, while proponents said using a single provider would protect war fighters by eliminating glitches in military systems and streamlining communications.

The process began with Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and Google all battling for the contract. Google dropped out without submitting a formal bid, saying last October that the military work conflicted with its principles for the ethical use of artificial intelligence.

In April, the Pentagon said only Amazon and Microsoft met its technical requirements for fulfilling the contract. The decision prompted a legal challenge from Oracle, which alleged that Amazon had biased the process in its favor by tapping Defense Department employees who worked on the bidding process to work at Amazon.

In August, the Defense Department’s inspector general announced that it had “assembled a multidisciplinary team of auditors, investigators, and attorneys to review matters related to the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud program that were referred to us by members of Congress and through the DoD hotline,” which provides tips of abuse.

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But while that was underway, Mr. Trump raised his objections. The process froze, and Pentagon officials said time was being wasted — which would ultimately put the United States at a military disadvantage.

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