The Department of Defense awarded its highly anticipated enterprise cloud contract to Google, Oracle, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft, according to a contract notice published by the Pentagon Wednesday.
The four companies, which were initially all invited to compete for the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability in November 2021, won’t be obligated any funds at the time of the award. Rather, the funds will be obligated on individual task orders that each company will compete for. The contract has a ceiling of $9 billion.
JWCC is designed to replace the maligned Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) and serve as the department’s enterprise cloud capability. It is being managed by the Defense Information Systems Agency.
Top officials have said it will be essential for future operations and enabling the Pentagon’s new way of fighting, dubbed Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2).
“JADC2 … is utterly reliant on having an enterprise cloud capability that operates in all three security classifications: top secret, secret, [unclassified], from the continental United States all the way out to the tactical edge,” John Sherman, DOD chief information officer, said last month.
Officials have previously explained there will be access to unclassified capabilities once awarded. About 60 days after award there will be access to classified services, and no later than 180 days after award, there will be access to top-secret and tactical edge services.
In the interim, the services have moved out on their own cloud efforts as some have said they are not and cannot wait for JWCC to be awarded. These include the Navy’s Black Pearl, the Air Force’s Cloud One and the forthcoming Army Enterprise Application Migration and Modernization contract (EAMM), which will be a roughly $1 billion multi-award, multi-vendor effort.
Despite that, JWCC will still have its place and won’t be a redundant effort on top of these other cloud initiatives, according to officials leading its development.
“JWCC is meeting specific capability gaps in the areas of having all classification levels — so unclassified, secret and top secret, as well as tactical edge capabilities that work in those denied latency or communication-deprived environments, again, at all classification levels,” Sharon Woods, director of DISA’s Hosting and Compute Center, told reporters in November. “So JWCC will provide those capabilities and more at scale. The services have matured in their cloud journey and delivered high-quality capabilities. And we see them as being complementary, not in competition.”
DISA’s director said that they hope when some of these cloud efforts have run their course, the services will turn to JWCC.