The award of the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability procurement is planned for December, DOD Chief Information Officer John Sherman said in Washington today.
In July 2021, DOD officials said they expected the procurement would be ready in April 2022.
The JWCC is a ground-breaking procurement, Sherman said, and it involves some of the biggest technology firms in the United States: Google, Oracle, Microsoft and Amazon Web Services.
These four "hyperscale" cloud service providers are working with DOD specialists to produce "a multi-cloud effort that will provide enterprise cloud capabilities for the Defense Department at all three security classifications: unclassified, secret and top secret all the way from the continental United States out to the tactical edge," he said.
Once in place, it will service the Joint All-Domain Command and Control initiative as well as aiding in artificial intelligence applications and much more, he said.
The program plan is a three-year base contract with two, one-year options. At the conclusion of this possible five-year procurement, DOD will launch "a full and open competition for a future multi-cloud acquisition."
Officials said the five-year contract ceiling is $9 billion. Washington Headquarters Services is leading the procurement effort with assistance from the Defense Information Systems Agency.
Back in July, officials expected only two cloud service providers to qualify to bid on the procurement. The DOD was committed to conduct market research to determine which cloud service providers qualified to receive direct solicitations. Five were considered and four received the solicitations in November 2021. This complicated the assessment period immensely. Sherman praised the professionals at each of the four bidders for their expertise and willingness to cooperate. He said there has been "a lot of iterative dialogue, very robust, very good collaboration from all involved.
"But as we've gotten into this, … we've recognized that our schedule was maybe a little too ahead of what we thought and that now we're going to wrap up in the fall, and we're aiming to award in December," he said.
The change to a December award date does not indicate anything is wrong with the procurement. Rather, it is ensuring the government does the due diligence that American taxpayers deserve. "It's just the amount of workload going between four proposals," Sherman said. "We've got a good team with all the right expertise on this but doing the due diligence [takes time]. I think we just underestimated the amount of time this was going to take."