Will DOD Leave the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) Behind?
Published: May 11, 2021
Continued legal delays are pushing the Department of Defense in a different direction.
- All of the Military Departments and Defense Agencies have already built multi-cloud environments that enable some interoperability.
- Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services are already the de facto IaaS providers for the Department of Defense.
- Continued JEDI award delays may result in the cancellation of the program altogether.
Regular readers of my posts may have noticed over the years that I don’t write much on the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI). I don’t do so because typically there isn’t much to say that trade media outlets aren’t already covering
That changed recently as the latest legal developments continue to drag out the fight over JEDI. I’m talking specifically about the change in tone from the Department of Defense (DOD) that we’ve seen developing over the last four months. Back in January the DOD sent Congress an “information paper” saying it was losing patience with the process. To quote the document, “Regardless of the JEDI Cloud litigation outcome, the Department continues to have an urgent, unmet requirement. … We remain fully committed to meeting this requirement—we hope through JEDI—but this requirement transcends any one procurement, and we will be prepared to ensure it is met one way or another.”
One way or another has arrived. As the data below demonstrates, the delays to JEDI have done nothing to slow the DOD’s adoption of cloud services.
Not only has the department’s spending risen every year, the total awarded value of their cloud contracts has too. Fiscal Year 2020 obviously shows the JEDI award in October 2019, but even without that data skewing things to the upside the DOD would have still awarded nearly $400M more in cloud contracts in FY 2020 than it did in FY 2019.
This said, the spending data does not reflect everything going on at the DOD as far as cloud is concerned. Over the last 2-3 years the Military Departments have all taken big steps toward implementing enterprise IaaS and PaaS environments. Some departments, such as Air Force, are farther along than others (i.e., Army), but they are all moving in the same direction with both Microsoft and Amazon featuring as their primary providers. For example:
- Primary IaaS Environments: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure (Cloud One)
- Primary PaaS Environments: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure (Platform One)
- Primary IaaS Environments: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure (cARMY)
- Primary PaaS Environments: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure (CReATE)
- Primary IaaS Environments: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure
- Primary PaaS Environment: Black Pearl
Anyone seeing a pattern here? It sure looks like the DOD has already invested in numerous instances of AWS and Azure, meaning that those environments ought to be interoperable, i.e., the AWS environments for each should work with the others, as should each Azure environment. If they don’t then there is a big problem with the cloud model.
If the DOD already possesses cloud environments based on the two vendors fighting for the JEDI award what are AWS and Microsoft actually competing for? Additionally, what is the DOD thinking by continuing to pursue JEDI? If the DOD decides to cancel JEDI and instead devote its efforts to building a data hub or some other capability that enables the free flow of data between AWS and Azure it would not come as a surprise. After all, taking a path like this will accomplish the objectives it set out to achieve with JEDI, but at a fraction of the projected cost.