The Department of Defense (DoD) has completed the market research phase for its proposed multi-vendor Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability (JWCC) cloud contract, which the Pentagon announced in July following its decision to cancel the single-vendor $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud services contract.

That was the top-line news from Danielle Metz, deputy DoD CIO for information enterprise, during a forum hosted by Government CIO Magazine on Oct. 6. She said DoD completed the market research phase in two months “because we are hearing the sense of urgency from our combat commanders.”

She said DoD expects to decide by the end of this month which companies will be allowed to participate, and once the agency issues JWCC contract solicitations, it plans to make contract awards by April 2022.

“I consider JWCC a crown jewel in our software modernization strategy because you need to have cloud infrastructure for us to do agile DevSecOps, and you have to have it through all classification levels,” Metz said. “And we need to be able to make it so that you’re able to have it at your fingertips — and not have it take months or even a year to have access to that.”

The DoD plans to issue solicitations to at least two companies – Microsoft and Amazon – both of whom were competitors on the JEDI deal. But officials are open to the possibility of including the three other largest players in the U.S. commercial cloud market; Google, IBM, and Oracle.

In July, the Department canceled the JEDI contract after three years of work that left the contract tied up in litigation. After that, officials held talks with the five largest U.S.-based cloud infrastructure providers, with preliminary market research indicating that Microsoft and AWS were the only companies with capabilities that would suit the military’s needs.

Speaking in July about the market research process, Sharon Woods, executive director of DISA’s Cloud Computing Program Office, said that for JWCC it’s “really important” to have “optionality” to use a variety of cloud environments.

“There are different cloud environments at the infrastructure layer, but at the application layer we are able to cross cloud requirements,” Woods explained. “We need to continue to mature that work … that is what has to happen for us to be able to move across different cloud environments.”

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.