Amazon is one of the cloud giants aiming to win the Pentagon’s $10 billion JEDI contract. However, as the decision about the winner-takes-all partnership nears, Amazon is facing an apparent smear campaign to discredit the company. Bloomberg reports a 33-page dossier is circulating in Washington D.C. and smearing the retail and cloud giant.
Amazon Web Services (AWS), the world’s largest cloud platform, is currently the only cloud infrastructure capable of handling government data due to a higher security authorization. This naturally led to Amazon being favorite to win the controversial JEDI contract.
Companies such as IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft are also involved in the bidding process. However, the dossier suggests the US government has been giving Amazon an unfair advantage. It is worth noting that there is no suggestion that one of those rival companies is responsible for the report.
Either way, the dossier alleges Sally Donnelly, former senior advisor to former Secretary of Defense James Mattis (who left the White House this week), drafted the contract to purposely favor AWS. Donnelly is alleged to be a previous client of Amazon through her venture capital frim C5 Capitol.
Additionally, the dossier suggests an executive from AWS was involved in an improper personal relationship with an executive from C5.
Donnelly’s lawyer spoke with Bloomberg and said she was nothing to do with the contract. AWS also responded in an official blog post, denying any link between its relationship with C5 and the JEDI bid:
“This week, the BBC and other media outlets published inaccurate stories attempting to connect the AWS bid for the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) Contract to a UK-based investment firm called C5 Capital (C5). To be clear, neither C5 nor any of its subsidiaries are involved in AWS’s JEDI bid. At no time, past or present, has Amazon or AWS ever invested in C5, its private equity fund, or any related portfolio companies. C5 has never been a teaming partner or subcontractor, nor lobbied on behalf of AWS in order for AWS to obtain government contracts. Any suggestion to the contrary is false. Below are simply the facts so people aren’t confused.
“The story claimed that AWS has “joined forces” and is “working together on a number of cloud computing projects all over the world” with C5. This is quite misleading and does not accurately represent the relationship AWS has with C5. AWS is one of several organizations that support two C5 startup accelerator programs, the Peacetech Accelerator in Washington, D.C. and Cloud 10 Scalerator in Bahrain, to help early-stage businesses with mentorship, training on cloud computing skills, and access to potential investors. We support these accelerators through our AWS Activate program. This is no different to the work AWS does with many other accelerators and venture capital firms all over the world to provide technology resources, support, education, training, and guidance for startup companies and entrepreneurs. We encourage you to look at our AWS Activate page, which will give you the exact details of our relationship with organizations taking part in the program.”