At a press conference attended by Ars, Pentagon officials discussed the benefits of partnering with Google, Oracle, Microsoft and Amazon to build the Pentagon’s new cloud computing network. The multi-cloud strategy was described as a necessary move to keep military personnel up-to-date as technology advances and officials become more familiar with cloud technology.
Air Force Lt. Gen. Robert Skinner said the Joint Combat Cloud Capabilities (JWCC) contract, valued at $9 billion, will help rapidly scale cloud capabilities across all defense branches. He describes new accelerator features such as pre-configured templates and infrastructure as code, allowing “people who don’t understand the cloud to take advantage of the technology.” Capabilities such as these will help provide ground forces with easy access to data collected by unmanned aerial vehicles and space communications satellites.
“JWCC is a multi-award-winning contract vehicle that enables the Department of Defense to deliver commercial cloud capabilities and services from commercial cloud service providers (CSPs) at mission speed at all classification levels, from headquarters to the tactical edge. We will provide you with the opportunity to acquire it directly,” said a Department of Defense press release.
Until now, government officials have not had direct access to cloud providers. Also, military personnel around the world did not have the cloud technology to access files from all three levels of classification: Unclassified, Top Secret, and Top Secret. Things have changed at the JWCC and the Department of Defense hopes to communicate information more quickly.
How tech companies split contracts
The $9 billion deal is expected to close by June 2028 and will not be split evenly between Google, Oracle, Microsoft and Amazon. Instead, each company is guaranteed his $100,000 and must bid on the rest of the budget. According to Pentagon officials, this creates price competition just like in the industry, with each task order requiring cloud services being carefully considered to identify the best fit. There is a government evaluation team that selects vendors based on best price and best technology.
Microsoft originally signed a $10 billion exclusive deal with the Pentagon to provide cloud services, but it was scrapped last year to allow the Pentagon to pursue more advanced technology, Reuters reports. However, we support the Department of Defense’s multi-cloud strategy. “JWCC’s multi-cloud approach is a perfect fit for his infrastructure at the Department of Defense,” Microsoft Federal President Rick Wagner wrote in a blog today.
“Multicloud is already a well-established best practice in the commercial industry as it allows organizations to maximize flexibility, increase resilience, and access the best technology across providers,” writes Wagner.
Wagner called the JWCC contract a “major milestone,” promising that “Microsoft will provide mission-critical, 21st-century technology to our military personnel to help strengthen America’s national security.”
Ars has also contacted other JWCC vendors. Each made similar statements, but didn’t seem ready to discuss bidding strategies. Google Public Sector CEO Karen Dahut said Google was “proud to be selected.” Oracle executive vice president Ken Glueck told Ars: An Amazon Web Services spokesperson told Ars:
Competition for the remaining $9 billion is likely to be fierce, and the Pentagon expects to cut costs to do so. Analysts told AP News that the tech firm sees the Pentagon deal as “a seal of approval in a market where ensuring client data security is important.”