The four vendors selected for the Department of Defense’s $9 billion Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability program will have to compete for every task order under the contract vehicle. However, Pentagon officials said Thursday they aim to move as quickly as possible to review each of those task order proposals as they roll out the JWCC capabilities across the DOD enterprise.
On Wednesday, the Pentagon awarded its highly anticipated enterprise cloud contracts to Google, Oracle, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft.
The task order process can begin within 15 days of the JWCC contract award, Lt. Gen. Robert Skinner, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, which is managing JWCC, told reporters during a briefing at the Pentagon on Thursday.
Each vendor that has been tapped to participate in the $9 billion program is only guaranteed $100,000, and they will have to compete for each task order, he noted.
“We’ve been working really hard to be innovative in our task order competition process,” DISA Hosting and Compute Center Director Sharon Woods told reporters.
“There will be government evaluation teams like you would experience with any task order competition process. Where we do have some automation is not in the competitions themselves, but rather the building of the acquisition process … as mission partners put together the different pieces of their packages — and that is what is provided to the contractors to compete,” she said.
The competition process itself will use evaluation teams and include “all the subjectivity and all of the critical consideration that you would expect with a competition,” Woods said. But “we’re hoping task order competition process can be counted in weeks or maybe a few months. But we need to work through the specifics, and we’ll learn as we go.”
Defense Department CIO John Sherman told reporters that the enterprise cloud capability will be essential for enabling Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) and the Chief Digital and AI Officer’s key initiatives, among others.
While awarding contracts to all four of the vendors invited to bid on JWCC may stave off the kind of wholesale bid protest that bedeviled the JEDI program, contractors in some cases can protest the task order awards, which could potentially slow down the initiative.
“Under the acquisition rules [for] the task orders, there’s a $10 million threshold and a $25 million threshold on protests. So it’s really dependent on how large the task order is,” Woods said.
Sherman declined to say when the DOD will begin issuing task orders.
“We’re working with the different components of stakeholders to get the landing pattern here on that. So we’ve got to get this cranking. We want to get the contract in place, all the wickets with that. And then get through that 15 days and start working. But … there’s a ton of interest in this. I just can’t tell you who’s first in the door. But Ms. Woods has been working this diligently with all the different potential first customers here. So we should have more to talk about on that after the new year,” Sherman told DefenseScoop.
“It all depends on the mission partners. So we have an ongoing engagement strategy with all of our mission partners identifying where there’s potential options, but it will all be based on when those mission partners say, ‘We are ready,’” Skinner told DefenseScoop.