Amazon.com has filed a second, secret, appeal against the decision to award Microsoft the Pentagon's $10bn Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract. So says Microsoft corporate veep for comms Frank X Shaw, who has blogged that the appeal was filed on Tuesday directly with the US Department of Defense. …
Could this be a demonstration that now the Military Industrial complex has more power then the military itself?
The military can't seem to write their own code and manage their own IT. That's sad enough, and it should be a priority to gain that competence, frankly.
I don't think our security interests are best served by various vendor shenanigans that both MS and AWS are known for.
Yes, I know that "national security" is often used on contexts that have nothing to do with the average citizen's security, and often means the job security of some bureaucrat or contractor - or a way to classify wrongdoing so no one pays consequences. I'm using the naive understanding that they actually care about us.
And now we see that they can't even contract the job out to he desired supplier, and this isn't the first time for that - IIRC there was a contract for Air Force tankers that got reversed awhile back, as the company that thought they were entitled to the work but didn't have the best bid, fought in court till they got the contract anyway - over the arguably better original selection. Citation here (without the gory details that perhaps show the corruption better): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KC-X
Question: Were companies allowed to bid against each other during the call for bids? Or did each company give out a single bid in a sealed envelope that nobody but the customer was allowed to see? Or would the DoD come to one of the company and tell them y'know, your competitors are a lot cheaper...?
Not sure what would be best, there are probably hidden implications in every solution.
It's been 3 or 4 decades since I was involved in government contracting. But I doubt things have changed much. Every contract award is a bit different, but the general process is sort of generic.
The Gubmint comes up with a Request For Proposal (RFP) that defines the general parameters of the contract. Time span, The sort of price they have in mind. Some things they want done. Completion date. An incredibly lengthy list of laws and specifications that must be complied with. How specific the RFP is, is a function of what is to be done. If they are looking for 300 Tomahawk missiles, your proposal better specify devices the same size and range with identical or near identical capability, with the same interfaces. And they'll probably specify a test regime. In this case they probably specified workloads, data volumes, security constraints, reliability, perhaps acceptable OSes and programming languages, page after page after page ... lots of specificity.
You as a contractor will have to "qualify" yourself. You'll need to come up with a plausible story about how your operation has adequate staff, experience, etc,etc,etc. to do the job
Once you've qualified yourself, you then produce a lengthy work of fiction called a Proposal that explains in detail how you will do the job in the specified time period while fully complying with every relevant law and constraint. And how much it will cost. This is where it gets trickier. Different bidders will likely have different approaches, skill sets, hardware preferences, etc, etc, etc. If the contact is for 50,000 pairs of combat boots, the proposals may be relatively easy to compare and the contract will likely be awarded to the low bidder(s). For complex technical products, likely no one is completely sure what is being offered, when, and for how much. But tradition demands that everyone ignore that.
Anyway, the government may well come back with a few (or a lot or) questions. Revisions to the proposal may be allowed if it becomes clear that there is a genuine misunderstanding about what is desired and some of that is the government's fault. Eventually, the contract is (usually) awarded assuming that there is at least one (marginally) acceptable proposal.
Then comes the lawsuits and pontificating by guys with expensive haircuts and even more expensive suite. That's the phase we seem to be in now.
Yes - much as I have experienced in recent years, viewed from the side of a public sector customer. One thing I would add is that in the Lawyer Phase, warring bidders may also engage politicians to support their cause, with the emotive topic of jobs won or lost, in the areas where the respective bidders operate. An additional complication is that, during the long period of legal and political wrangling, technology may move on and/or prices change, such that all the bids become obsolete and (even more) overpriced.
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