Oracle throws toys out pram again, tells US claims court: Competing for Pentagon cloud contract isn't fair!

Address gate criteria, conflicts of interest – then we can play

Oracle is pushing America's Court of Federal Claims to rule in its favour and issue a judgment saying the Pentagon erred in its decision to offer its $10bn cloud contract to a single vendor.

In its latest filing in the case against the US Department of Defense, database giant Oracle urged the court to stop the DoD from proceeding with the award.

The case centres on the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI), which could be worth up to $10bn over a decade, and the decision to hand it to one vendor. The front-runner in the race, which also includes IBM and Microsoft, is widely seen as Amazon.

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Big Red has argued the plan risks damaging innovation, would lock the DoD into a single cloud vendor for years, and is uncompetitive – claims that got the attention of lawmakers when the deal was being drawn up, but that the DoD hotly contested.

The government's counter-arguments included that multiple awards would slow down the process and that maintaining non-standardised environments would complicate development and use of software applications.

But Oracle insists that the DoD has failed to meet the relevant bars required for awarding a large contract to one vendor. It is now seeking an order to prevent it from pursuing the solicitation as a single award without a determination that does meet them.

Oracle is also cut up about some of the criteria in the request for proposals, which it says are "unduly restrictive" and have been crafted to limit the number of companies that can compete.

In its latest filing, which runs to 78 pages (PDF), Oracle called for the court to order that such subfactors do unduly restrict competition and prevent the DoD from including them as what is known as a "gate criteria".

It also asked the court to rule that the DoD "lacks authority to solicit an online marketplace as contemplated by the Solicitation" and ban it from doing so "until it obtains appropriate statutory authority".

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The third and final prong of Big Red's complaint about the contract is to do with alleged conflicts of interest relating to two former DoD employees, Deap Ubhi and Anthony DeMartino, with links to AWS.

Oracle argues that the contracting officer failed to investigate potential conflicts of interest arising from their work on the project.

In particular, it said that Ubhi's return to AWS after an 18-month stint at the DoD – during which time he worked on the early stages of the JEDI contract – should have received scrutiny.

The DoD has said that this was not considered a potential conflict when the RFP was launched because AWS hadn't submitted a bid; now that it has, an investigation has been launched.

Oracle wants the DoD to be stopped from proceeding with the solicitation until it conducts "proper" investigations into the conflicts of interest related to the two men.

The filing said injunctive relief should be granted, because of the public interest in the integrity of federal procurement processes, and that Oracle will suffer "irreparable harm of being deprived the opportunity to compete fairly for the contract" if it isn't.

These outweigh any harm the DoD may claim as a result, Oracle said. "Any DoD-alleged delay is a self-inflicted injury based on its refusal to ensure that DoD conducted this significant procurement in accordance with the law and in a manner above approach," it said. ®

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