Enable breadcrumbs token at /includes/pageheader.html.twig

DOD Pursues Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure

The department stresses that cloud computing is the key to warfighter success.
Credit: GreenTech/Shutterstock

Credit: GreenTech/Shutterstock

The Department of Defense’s draft request for proposals for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, known as JEDI, hit the streets on March 7. With this action, the U.S. military behemoth is pulling itself further toward acquiring commercial-based cloud solutions commonplace to everyone outside of DOD.

Industry responded in droves, packing into a ballroom in Arlington, Virginia, at an industry day to hear about the unique and potentially lucrative award to provide modern cloud services to the DOD.

Brig. Gen. David Krumm, USAF, deputy director for requirements, Joint Staff, warned the industry that JEDI is not an ordinary information technology contract.

"I’m challenging you to bring your A game," Gen. Krumm said. "This is going to make the difference, like few things have, to get data to our warfighters when and where he or she needs it. It is not an IT contract. It is about ensuring that the men and women who are fighting our nation’s wars win. Period."

Jay Gibson, the DOD's first chief management officer, agreed. "We need to be very clear. This program is truly about increasing the lethality of our department and providing the best resources to our men and women in uniform," he said.

JEDI would allow the DOD to leverage the innovation of commercial cloud computing, Gibson noted. It would provide platform as a service, infrastructure as a service and other cloud capabilities within and outside of the continental United States for warfighters on the homefront and extending to the tactical edge.

The draft solicitation will result in a single award under full and open competition. The indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) contract will include a two-year base, one five-year option and a three-year option, for a total possible performance period of 10 years. The Office of Secretary of Defense and each service would have its own ordering system for purchasing cloud services offered with firm-fixed pricing and a commercial catalogue.

Essye Miller, the DOD’s acting chief information officer, emphasized that the JEDI program would be complementary to the Defense Information Systems Agency’s (DISA’s) milCloud program, which is providing cloud services across DOD. Gibson added, "The JEDI cloud is just one contract in part of a much larger strategy for overall information technology efforts."

DOD’s solicitation review will be stringent. Companies will first be selected based on a variety of acceptable/unacceptable gate evaluation criteria, including:

  • elastic usage;
  • high availability and failover;
  • ability to offer independence;
  • logical isolation;
  • commerciality;
  • automation;
  • commercial cloud in the marketplace; and
  • data.

Only companies that successfully meet the initial criteria would be considered for the technical evaluation, which includes providing services and technology at the tactical edge, identity and access controls, information and system security, application and data hosting and portability, secure data transfer, high availability and failover, and management. Other than a price evaluation, including price scenarios, the DOD will also heavily consider a bidder’s cybersecurity plan. 

DOD leaders acknowledged that the agency has to change its internal culture to pursue this kind of innovative, cloud-contracted service. The agency has stood up a new program office to spearhead the JEDI efforts. To Lt. Col. Kaight Meyers, USAF, manager, JEDI Cloud Computing, standing up the office is a sign the DOD is embracing and accelerating the adoption of cloud computing. "The program office is a critical step," she said, promising that it would "actively hunt down impediments to users' success in moving to and employing the cloud." DOD will "pursue the revision of internal policies that are unnecessary barriers to success," the agency indicated.

Industry comments on the draft solicitation are due by March 21. The DOD plans to issue the final solicitation—available on www.fbo.gov—in early May, followed by a contract award sometime in September.