Feb. 13 (UPI) — A federal judge on Thursday ordered the Pentagon to halt work on the 10-year, $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud computing network amid allegations that President Donald Trump improperly interfered in the bidding process.
The contract for the network, known as JEDI, was awarded to Microsoft in October, beating out Amazon, IBM, Oracle and Google during the selection process.
The Pentagon expressed disappointment with the ruling.
“We are disappointed in today’s ruling and believe the actions taken in this litigation have unnecessarily delayed implementing DoD’s modernization strategy and put our nation’s warfighters in harm’s way,” Defense Department spokeswoman Rachel VanJohnson said.
Amazon is suing the Department of Defense in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, arguing that the president’s involvement skewed the playing field in Microsoft’s favor and alleging numerous errors in the Pentagon’s process of weighing bids between the two.
Amazon has also asked to depose President Trump and accused him of launching “repeated public and behind-the-scenes attacks” against the company and its founder, Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post.
In July, Trump drew scrutiny when he said he would look into complaints that the bidding process was tipped in favor of Amazon, of which he is an outspoken critic, and asked Defense Secretary Mark Esper to reexamine the department’s approach.
The contract is meant to create a large, centralized, secure network for the military and upgrade to its computer technology, which in some cases dates back to the 1980s and ’90s.
“We are confident in our award of the JEDI Cloud contract to Microsoft and remain focused on getting this critical capability into the hands of our warfighters as quickly and efficiently as possible,” VanJohnson said.