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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - WASHINGTON — The lawsuit filed by Amazon challenging a $10 billion US military cloud computing contract awarded to Microsoft will not delay implementation of the project, a senior Pentagon official said on Tuesday.
Amazon has alleged that President Donald Trump abused the power of his office to deny the company the massive contract in late October.
"We will deal with Amazon's legal actions. I cannot comment on those right now," said Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord.
"But I will tell you we are moving right now forward with the JEDI contract."
The 10-year contract for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure program, better known as JEDI, ultimately will see all military branches sharing information in a system boosted by artificial intelligence.
"We actually have a kick-off event with Microsoft tomorrow [Wednesday] morning," Lord said.
A heavily redacted court filing by Amazon detailed alleged errors that ended with Microsoft being chosen over its Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing division, part of the technology group led by Amazon chief Jeff Bezos.
Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post, is a frequent target of the US president.
Amazon was considered the lead contender to provide technology for JEDI, with AWS dominating the cloud computing arena and the company already providing classified servers for other government outfits including the CIA.
In court documents released Monday, Amazon alleged "improper pressure from President Donald J. Trump, who launched repeated public and behind-the-scenes attacks to steer the JEDI contract away from AWS to harm his perceived political enemy — Jeffrey P. Bezos."
The Pentagon's mistakes in the contract were "hard to understand and impossible to assess" when separated from Trump's "repeatedly expressed determination to, in the words of the president himself, 'screw Amazon.'"
The bid protest filed in US Court of Federal Claims urges that the rival JEDI bids be re-evaluated and a new decision reached. — AFP
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